Why You Need To Honor Your Flag

I have been thinking about flags quite a bit lately, and this article is brought to you in part by the false decision by those filmmakers, who created First Man, and their conscious decision to omit the American flag in one of the most critical moments in American history. As a Canadian, and as someone who was trapped in the liberal cult mentality for quite some time, I would grow hateful, resentful, and angry at my nation, and by extension, my flag and my citizenship. I would hold this intense anti-Canada mentality because this is what I was indoctrinated to believe was the “right” thing to do, as Canada is seen as being problematic, for simply existing. There is a plethora of reasons why this is, and I will get to them. I want to share with you a story that was difficult for me to write, as it is a tale of how I committed treason against my nation. It took me awhile to realize that this is what I had done, but bear with me.

On the days leading up to Canada Day 2017 (Canada’s 150th birthday), there were Indigenous folks gathering from all over the country, in an attempt to “reoccupy colonial spaces” (which would also be known as Parliament Hill, in our Capital of Ottawa). A tipi was erected in an attempt to Indigenize the space, and would serve as a reminder that Indigenous folks are still thriving, despite attempted genocide throughout our history. Canada Day is seen almost like a day of mourning for the radical left, as it is a representation of ongoing cultural genocide attempts, land theft, perpetuation of systemic racism, and cultural appropriation. The entire day would take too long to explain, but I will give you a run down on what it is like to be a white ally in social justice movements. After waiting in the longest line that I have ever been in, in my life, I walked over to the tipi on Parliament Hill. Here, I was greeted by several folks that I had been acquainted with, and one held a Sharpie. The Sharpie was used to write the number of a lawyer down on our skin, in case we had been arrested. I had the lawyer’s number written on my right forearm, and this would be when I realized the severity and intensity of the situation. When it comes to social justice and protesting, it is important to note that sometimes, folks are chosen to be arrested (if it came down to that), and this is almost always the allies. We were also acting on the premise that racialized folks inherently have a different (more problematic) relationship with law enforcement, therefore, white people are prime targets for interaction with law enforcement, as you know, white people are expendable and can use their privilege to talk themselves out of trouble. For the most part, the day was calm, as scattered support for what would be known as “ReOccupation” would come and go. We were impacted by torrential downpour, which would scatter much of the crowd that had been gathering for the evening show and the fireworks.

All around us, there was law enforcement. There was local police, as well as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers, in their gear, ready to take us down if we got too out of control. I would be laser focused on their guns and their zip ties (secured to the front of their uniforms), as, on this day, I was prepared, willing, and ready to be arrested. As a side note, I am not sure how productive it would be to get arrested  at a demonstration, as you just end up in jail. You are no longer on the frontline, where the action is. And, having a criminal record can impact your future participation in any demonstrations. Anyway, in my damaged radical leftist brain, I thought this would be the best thing to do. Anyway, to get back to Ottawa, I was angry that the police were watching us, as I had this mentality that law enforcement are inherently racist and disgusting. I now see just how damaged my thought processes were, but at the time, I was ready to spit fire. When the major action started, I was on the frontline, armed with my camera.  It was decided that the demonstration would manifest in what was known as a “round dance”, which is an Indigenous dance We would round dance into the massive crowd of patriotic, proud, and happy Canadians wishing to celebrate the birthday of their nation. Allies would be there to get in between racialized folks and the police, as we are expected to use our bodies to physically prevent any harm. I was on the outer-most part of the circle, and we would dance into the middle of the crowd. Indigenous folks would participate in what is known as a “lie-in”, which is when they would lay down in the middle of the circle, depending on everyone else to protect them so that they would not be trampled. We, as the allies, would also be taken down first. I was at the very front of the circle, and where I was standing, the police were right behind me. I was linking arms with folks I did not know, and I could feel the guns on my back. I am not a connoisseur of weapons, but in retrospect, this scared me very badly. I had never really interacted with the police before, and I had never been in a situation where guns could have potentially been drawn on me.  At the time, I convinced myself that there was some sort of camaraderie that was playing out, as we were all there for a reason, but I now see that this was just an illusion. No matter what happened, we had to hold onto each other tight. We would scream and shout, cry and act out, but no one seemed to hear us. This is interesting, as our approach was direct, and the people around us were not receptive. We stayed in the crowd as long as we could, but the police would ultimately be successful at pushing us back. I realize now that I would jump head first into something that was uncertain, unsettling, and completely unnerving. My adrenaline was rushing to a point where I was ready to storm the police. The police would have had to deal with me, which would have provided a distraction, so that I could buy time for others. I would even go as far as screaming in the faces of the police, which I see now as being completely and utterly disrespectful. This is something that I would have NEVER done, before the radical liberal cult, but this kind of behavior and actions are normalized in these spaces and by the Left.

My father was the one who had told me that I was committing treason, by protesting my nation. At the time, I was furious. But now, I can understand where he is coming from. I recognize that the Freedom of Assembly and Free Speech are two crucial and foundational freedoms in democratic processing, but what I did on this day was beyond the scope of Freedom of Assembly and Free Speech. There is a difference, you see, as I was actively calling for the erosion of our very systems of democratic process, whilst trying to eliminate whiteness as a social and political doctrine, and I was participating in the attempt to destroy the very country that gave me everything. I say all of this recognizing that, yes, there are many issues when it comes to the Canadian state or the “settler-colonial state”, especially when it comes to understanding that, to the radical left, we are not a legitimate state. For the record, I did not show loyalty to my country; I was born and raised here, and it mind boggles me, writing this, as before I was tied up in the radical liberalism, I would be the first one to admit that I used to love Canada Day. I used to sing Canada’s praise, and celebrate our strong and proud history, but now, I am struggling to say them, as I am not sure if I can believe them. This is apart of my healing journey and reclaiming not only who I am, but my country. I even went as far to not stand for our national anthem, at a City Hall meeting that I would attend in the days following. This entire time, my heart was racing, as I knew that what I was doing was wrong.

There are several things that I learned from this experience, and I want to share those with you, as they are important life lessons and duties of your citizenship to your respective nation.

  1. Celebrating or singing praise of your nation is not oppressive; to me, the Canadian flag represents freedom and democracy. I am proud of my flag, of my nation, and of my history; my flag means home, it means perseverance, it means peace. It means unity, inclusiveness, and safety; it tells a story that I am proud to tell.

  2. The flag represents honor, it represents sacrifice, and it represents history, which is what we all, as citizens, need to recognize and celebrate;

  3. The flag is globally recognized and there is nothing stopping you from strutting your colors on the world stage, and in fact you should, because Canadian and American citizenship is something to be proud of;

  4. To me, my flag  reminds me to honor my roots, especially my roots across the Atlantic;

  5. Displays of nationalism are not problematic; our nations and our flags are sacred.

  6. My flag reminds me of Canada’s identity and it reminds me that I need to do everything that I possibly can to respect and honor where I come from;

  7. Being a Canadian, I need to carry on the legacy and the history of my nation onto future generations, and I view this as being a duty of my citizenship.

The lesson here is to always respect and honor your flag.

As for the filmmakers of First Man, think about the story that you actually want to tell. It is not exceptional Americanism that we need to be afraid of on the world stage, as countries like the United States of America are apart of the reason as to why we have the freedom to fly our flags. You should be honoring this. Countries like Russia or China would have no problem plastering their flags over their achievements, and I think that for the purposes of history (and not the problematic revisionist history that you are perpetuating), you need to tell an honest story about a TRUE, AMERICAN achievement. Without a doubt, there is something to be said about global achievements when it comes to this time period, and the Americans would pave the way for further space exploration, but this critical moment, walking on the moon, was whole-heartedly American.

To me, I remind myself and all of you, that your citizenship and your nation are an inherent part of who you are, and to me, after being told how horrendous, immoral, and evil my nation was, I have had a difficult road back to reclaiming who I am, but, I am at a point where I am not going to let the perceptions of the radical left impact my relationship with my country or my flag. My interactions and actions that I perpetuated being apart of the radical left was a major disrespect to those who came before me; to those who fought to secure my freedom, your freedom, and the freedom of millions of others. It is a disservice and a slap in the face to past and present Veterans. I betrayed my country, my history, and my duty as a Canadian citizen to honor my nation. I am done with the discourse that my nation is problematic, and for the rest of my days, I will do everything in my power to celebrate and honor where I come from.

Victoria Belbin

Trent University

 

 

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