According to The Washington Times, members of the US Olympic team were told not to wave the US flag around at medal ceremonies. Somehow, the acting president of the USOC, Bill Martin, equates this with "jingoism." Excuse me? Celebrating your accomplishments on behalf of your country and showing pride in your country is now jingoism?
Well, not exactly. See, in what amounts to an admission of an insane double standard, this applies only to American (and possibly British) athletes. The USOC consultant quoted in the article, Mike Moran, says, "If a Kenyan or a Russian grabs their national flag and runs round the track or holds it high over their heads, it might not be viewed as confrontational. Where we are in the world right now, an American athlete doing that might be viewed in another manner."
This is utter nonsense. Americans are not allowed to be proud of their country, but everybody else is. If you related this story to anyone on the street 50, 30, or even 20 years ago, that person would have laughed at you because the idea is so ridiculous. Moran says "...the world watches Americans a lot now in terms of how they behave and our culture." And if this was any other "culture," we'd be berated for not allowing its members to celebrate it. But Americans must muzzle themselves. We mustn't be nationalistic. We must be quiet and be sorry that the world doesn't like us. We can't risk offending them.
When I first read this story, I was almost at a loss for what to say because the idea is so unabashedly idiotic. But this is really how some people think these days and it's just astonishing. Look, if the world already hates us, who the hell cares if we offend them any more? I say rub it in their smug, duplicitous faces. What we need is a 1980 US Olympic hockey team moment. All I can hope for are some spectacular victories and some patriotic celebrations by American athletes. The article says that in 2000, the 400-meter relay team was "widely condemned" for daring to carry their country's flag around after winning the gold. Were the Australians criticized for doing this when they dominated the swimming events? No, of course not. This only applies to the United States, and that was before the Iraq war. Now, because we dared to be so impulsive as to circumvent the UN, well, if we don't make every effort to look humbled and apologetic, we might ruffle some feathers.
So Americans waving the American flag is jingoism, but Canadians waving the Canadian flag is not. Swedes waving the Swedish flag is not. Kenyans waving the Kenyan flag is not. Brits waving the British flag is... well, they're working on that. Folks, you're watching John Kerry diplomacy in action. If the world is this stupid, who wants to be a part of it anyway?