"There Are Two Things in Life I Can't Stand: People Who Are Intolerant of Other People's Cultures, and the Dutch"
I was listening to CBC radio on the drive home from my slo-pitch game today and there was a caller talking about the World Cup. She was from Sri Lanka/Toronto and was saying how German patriotism made her "uneasy". All those black, red, and gold flags somehow reminded her of the holocaust and Nazis and skinheads.
Maybe it's because I'm of the generation that didn't have to directly deal with that bullshit, but when I watched the few World Cup games that I did, I enjoyed seeing Germany do well. People shit on the Germans too much for the crimes of their grandfathers - let me tell you, if my grandfather was some douchey child molestor and I grew up hating everything about him and what he did, and then a bunch of knee-jerk asshats came along and didn't like me because of my relation to the dickhole child molesting grandfather, I'd be pretty upset.
German people have a lot to be proud of - Oktoberfest, for one. Hell, if that's all Germany had, they'd be well able to hold their heads high. It was nice to see them host the FIFA World Cup even though I'm far from a huge football fan. The fact that they played really well and got third is fantastic. It was great to hear some folks from Deutschland say (in a radio interview on CBC - yes, I'm a huge geek) that it was refreshing to be able to cheer and be patriotic again without the stigma of the past hanging over their heads.
I wanted to call in and tell this woman that it was a soccer tournament. It involved the whole world - give or take (not a bit of Canada there). I love underdogs so when I watched I was cheering for Togo. Those lads did well for their small country. Good on 'em. The thing is, there are no politics at the World Cup (naive?). Sure you've heard that silly saying, "the politics of the world are played out on the football pitch", but that's stupid like Forrest Gump after being choked unconscious and stuffed full of caramels.
Nazis are a thing of the past, only to be thought of when we see young pictures of the Pope. Yes, the skinheads are real, but are they really a force to be reckoned with these days? Patriotism in sports is a nice thing to see, regardless of who's displaying it. Pride in a national team is good for everyone, provided that the general rules of fair play apply and win or lose, you leave with your dignity intact. Be a magnanimous winner and a gracious loser.
Being patriotic about where you are from doesn't make too much sense to me. Like Bill Hicks said: "I was over in Australia and people kept asking me, 'Are you proud to be an American?' And I was like, 'Um, I don't know, I didn't have a lot to do with it. You know, my parents fucked there, that's about all.'"
Germany is not threatening and the only reason that woman on the radio felt "uneasy" was because of the past. I would tell her to stop living back there and catch up with the rest of us who are focusing on the game, focusing on real issues, and enjoying our suppers of hamburgers and beer. German beer.