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May 2nd, 2003
01:01 am
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Your outrage of the day
In case you missed it, today -- May 1 -- was Loyalty Day.

You think I'm kidding, don't you? Click the link.

What's the most galling is that this isn't America Day, or Patriot Day, or Freedom Day, or even Iraqi Liberation Day. It's Loyalty Day. Loyal, adj.: 1. Unswerving in allegiance. 2. Faithful in allegiance to one's lawful sovereign or government. In other words, undissenting. Following.

Freedom Day sounds like a great idea to me. America Day, in practice, would be indistinguishable from what we currently celebrate on July 4 already. Patriot Day would have been shameless, but tolerable; we can be patriotic by trying to uphold the principles that make this country great. But Loyalty Day?

Roll that on the tongue. "I am loyal to the United States government." (Who else does one pledge loyalty to when declaring their loyalty to the U.S.?) How does it sound? How do you like it? Does the government always, unswervingly, speak for you? (Does it today under Bush? Did it four years ago under Clinton?)

Remember when they used to call government employees "public servants"? Remember when government "for the people" meant something? I happen to like living in America, but this is on outrage: A holiday celebrating that we, the people, are loyal to the state. This is not American. This is the sort of holiday name you'd expect to see in China, Cuba, or North Korea.

But if you don't like it, suffer in silence. Remember, today's Loyalty Day. You've got a duty to let the government make your decisions for you. They're leaders. You're loyal.

UPDATE: I am informed this is not new. Well, that doesn't change my opinion; "loyalty" is an atrocious semantic choice in 2003, and it was an atrocious semantic choice in 1993. (It does make me feel slightly better, though, that Bush didn't simply invent it. Although subsequent research suggests that it was passed in 1958, so it's likely a memento of the Cold War, which is just as bad.) The difference between "patriotism" and "loyalty" is the difference between "My country, right or wrong" and "My country, right." (The full quote, incidentally, is by Sen. Carl Schurz, in 1899: "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." [Emphasis mine.] Which is precisely why it's such a patriotic statement of American principles.)

Current Mood: pissed offpissed off
Current Music: Genesis, "Entangled"

(10 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:May 2nd, 2003 02:18 am (UTC)
I declare May 1 to be Irreverent Bastard Day!

I'm gonna celebrate by, uh... dancing around a wooden pole representing a penis! Yeah!
[User Picture]
Date:May 2nd, 2003 04:01 am (UTC)
I guess in order to make us look more loyal, they failed to tell most of us it was happening. That way, no protests will be held, the press won't see anyone carrying a sign with Bush wearing a hammer & sickle cap (which would have been a good idea).

I live in Kansas, and I didn't notice any barbeques or more flags than usual. All the same people are going to have predictable reactions to this. Most liberals (that's me) won't like it, most conservatives will. Thanks to the electoral college, getting my panties in a twist about it won't accomplish anything.

Date:May 2nd, 2003 06:01 am (UTC)
Hmm... I am not surprised, for some reason. Perhaps it's because I read this article first... or maybe it was this one.
In any case, I have no desire to move to the USA any more.
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Date:May 2nd, 2003 06:21 am (UTC)
Leave 1st May alone.

*sigh* I will prefer May Day to remain May Day. And please no more semantics - ugh.

*shakes head*
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Date:May 2nd, 2003 06:29 am (UTC)
The thing that amuses me initially about it is that May Day is traditionally a communist holiday...

What I would hope would happen, however, is that the same thing happens as in the UK and it becomes a day that is basically used for protesting the government instead. Giving it a name like that does nothing but up the probability of this being the case, since it makes it all the more evident who the focus of any protest is.
Date:May 2nd, 2003 06:54 am (UTC)
Perhaps you should read this...
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Date:May 2nd, 2003 09:36 am (UTC)
I fail to see your point? Haymarket was a critical moment, one brought about by trade and labor unions - organisations with clear communist and socialist derivations. The fact that the principal (admittedly anarchistic) organisational power behind the movement was the International Working People's Association speaks for itself. This association was a decisive factor in the later selection of September 1 as Labor Day over May Day, in a clear attempt to disassociate the celebration of the worker from the communist aspect (I've also seen the suggestion that whereas May Day was a day for the workers only, Labor Day, deriving from the Knights of Labor parade, was a day when celebrated by both workers and management, although this would seem like a strange justification given that it seems to be more adherent to communist values than the alternative...)

My point about May Day being a communist celebration has nothing to do with the fact that May Day in the Soviet Union was a communist holiday as of 1918, clearly later than the events described in the links you provide. However, the choice of May 1st for this celebration is hardly insignificant: it's no different from, say, Christians adopting a Pagan holiday to turn it to their own ends - possibly the most significant fact I took from the articles you linked to regarding Beltane/May Day. That just amuses me even more.

And lastly: {sigh} maybe you'd benefit from double-checking whether or not you come across as condescending before you hit the post button. I don't appreciate being talked down to.
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Date:May 2nd, 2003 07:37 am (UTC)
"My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right."
Great quote. It's disappointing when folks think patriotism is "America, Love It Or Leave It," instead of "America, Love It Or Change It."
[User Picture]
Date:May 2nd, 2003 11:48 am (UTC)
Royalty day?

What-ever- ... Just stay away from my Cinco De Mayo!

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Date:May 3rd, 2003 08:54 am (UTC)
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