For the first time in school history, UC Irvine went dancing. On Friday, March 20 the Anteaters took on the favored Louisville Cardinals in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. UC Irvine earned their dancing shoes on the heels of knocking off Hawaii to win the Big West Conference tournament – and raise the flag in the Bren Events Center.
Ironically, just two weeks earlier, there was a move spearheaded by some campus radicals to have, of all things, the American flag taken down and removed from the state school’s campus.
Matthew Guevara, a UC Irvine student penned a resolution stating, “The American flag has been flown in instances of colonialism and imperialism,” and that flags themselves “construct paradigms of conformity and sets homogenized standards.”
This anti-American screed, dripping in a complete lack of knowledge of American history, actually passed the UC Irvine student legislative council by a vote of six to four, with two abstentions, according to the Los Angeles Times.
However, some semblance of common sense presented itself on campus as the university released a statement calling the vote by the student government “misguided.” “The views of a handful of students passing a resolution do not represent the opinions of nearly 30,000 students on this campus… The American flag is still proudly flying throughout our campus and will continue to do so,” according to the Times.
While the flag may still be flying on campus, the fact that there are students seeking to eliminate the symbol of this country, the country that gives them freedom of speech, is demonstrative of their ignorance and lack of knowledge of American history. That flag represents more than just the freedom of speech and expression. It represents freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, and petition the government.
The American flag is the symbol that allows a malcontent like Mr. Guevara to denigrate the country where he lives and is garnering his so-called education. Perhaps he never learned that the symbol of this country flying high at Fort McHenry, Maryland illustrated that the United States had withstood the attack by the British in the War of 1812 – “…that our flag was still there…,” write Francis Scott Key in what would become the Star Spangled Banner a.k.a. the National Anthem of the United States.
The United States won that war and remained free from the yoke of Great Britain, from whom the US gained independence and fought for the aforementioned freedoms. Perhaps Mr. Guevara missed that class in history, if he has even taken an American history class. Or worse yet, he has taken American history classes and the far left university professors have taught on a slant – teaching the evils of the United States and not the reality of the United States.
Warts and all, the United States is still the greatest country in the world. Why are millions of people invading this country for a chance to live here – even illegally? When war, strife, famine, and acts of G-d occur globally, how happy are the people of those countries to see the American flag accompanied by supplies, doctors, and dollars to help through their struggles. Perhaps Mr. Guevara and his supporters seeking the lowering of the American flag on campus at UC Irvine would like to live elsewhere – Cuba, Russia, Angola, or China, to see what a lack of freedom is like. Such subversive behavior would probably get him locked up in one of those countries – or worse.
Mr. Guevara and his ilk need a refresher about how the raising of the American flag was a welcome relief in the American south during the War Between the States for slaves yearning to breathe free.
A symbol of colonialism, accuses Mr. Guevara? How about after the American victory in the Spanish-American War the United States gave the Philippines and Cuba their independence. Hawaii would ultimately become the 50th state of the Union – enjoying a better economic position than if left to its own devices. Puerto Rico became an American commonwealth, also with a better economic standard than if independent, a question presented to the people of that island in a plebiscite on several occasions, which netted in the people retaining commonwealth status. These are not cases of either colonialism or imperialism.
Was it colonialism or imperialism when American troops sacrificed thousands of lives to free France on and after D-Day in 1944? Or when Nazi concentration camps were liberated, did the few remaining European Jewish survivors reject American soldiers because the American flag adorned their uniforms?
How about when the American flag was raised at Iwo Jima, 70 years ago, this past February 23, 1945? That represented a pivotal battle for the United States during WWII enabling them to establish an important base of operations in the Pacific Theater. Joe Rosenthal’s iconic photograph, symbolizing patriotism, still reminds people of the fight for freedom against a cruel Japanese enemy which had started the war by bombing Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Not only was that not an act of colonialism or imperialism, the United States, under President Lyndon Johnson in 1968, returned Iwo Jima and several other Pacific islands to Japan upon the visit of Premier Eisaku Sato to the United States. Winning that battle enabled the United States to end the war in the Pacific sooner, rather than later.
Some had suggested feeling intimidated by the American flag. If that is true, seek educational opportunities elsewhere. This is the United States of America. If you don’t like it here, feel free to move to a locale making you feel less intimidated. Good luck finding better opportunities elsewhere than in the United States.
Fortunately for the rest of the student body at UC Irvine this incredulous idea failed. Had it succeeded, perhaps the school, a state school, receiving millions in government funding should have lost all federal money. If the students supporting this idea had called for the removal of the flag of the State of California, the doors to UC Irvine could have been shuttered and all students dispersed to private educational institutions where they could pay double or even triple the costs they pay at a subsidized establishment.
The American flag should fly high on all campuses, private and public in these United States as a symbol of patriotism, freedom, and the greatness that is not just America, but the concept of America that so many other countries attempt to emulate. Students from the time they enter school should be taught the history of the United States in order to both understand its foibles as well as appreciate its greatness so that they see the flag as a source of pride, not a symbol of something sinister.
By the way, UC Irvine lost their first ever NCAA tournament game to Louisville 57-55 in a most valiant effort.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.