To dip or not to dip (the flag). That is the question.

It’s the end of the Union! The word is that during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, the United States will dip its flag in honor of the British government as a sign of respect.

On Fox radio, this morning, it was reported that this has not been done since 1908.  The story is told as follows:

The United States’ flag bearer, Ralph Rose, refused to dip the flag to Edward VII of the United Kingdom in the royal box. However, the flag was later dipped in the collective greeting of the royal family. Martin SheridanIrish American Athletic Club member and American team captain, is apocryphally believed to have supported Rose by explaining “This flag dips to no earthly king.”

It is claimed that his statement exemplified both American and Irish defiance of the British monarchy.

On Fox, this is yet another sign of President Obama’s continued attack on American Exceptionalism, meaning we are better than everyone else.

What is not reported about the 1908 games is that the flag was, in fact, dipped as a part of a group demonstration including all 22 countries at that Olympiad.

Further, research has shown that this quotation by Sheridan was first reported in 1952, some 24 years after his death and there was no contemporaneous reporting of the incident in the British press.  May have been a big deal over here, but on the other side of the pond, it didn’t seem to matter much.

This incident is discussed in detail in the September 1999 Journal of Olympic History (who knew there was such a thing?). Go here for this article.

The article concludes with this: But we doubt that the stories will change. The old newspaperman’s motto has always been, “When the truth and legend are in conflict, print the legend.” And thus the legend will continue.

I have never thought about this type of symbology before. Yes, we as a nation have this belief we are better than all others, and this is the root of the “Ugly American” stereotype.

I was taught to keep my mouth shut and play the game.  If you are superior, it will come out and shouting to the everyone that you are better than they are—even if it is true—is crass.

If we are the best, why do we need to wave that fact in everyone’s face?

The lady doth protest too much, methinks,” says Gertrude, Hamlet’s m other.

It is naive to think there are no politics in the Olympics; they virtually reek of nationalistic testosterone.  They are a stage too big to ignore, unless you boycott them to protest another countries acts.

So, if the flag is dipped, the right will use it as a sign of why we need to replace Obama: to restore America to the top of the mountain as King of the Hill, which is hard to fathom, since we are not in so many aspects.  The one place we are certainly on top is in military spending and might.  Maybe it is just like the school yard where might makes right.

If the flag is not dipped, it will be —according to the right—because of the outrage at the prospect by true Americans and it was loud enough to cause the Marxist to change his ways. 

Either way, they will say, Obama is the root of all evils.

And of course, we will have to hear about the Romney’s horse.

Well, maybe there will be some competitors to take our minds off the political commentary on every aspect of the competitions.

One thought on “To dip or not to dip (the flag). That is the question.

  1. Britain and Israel are our most dependable allies. Large Brit contingent Iraq, Afg and casualties. A sign of comradeship and respect does not diminish USA in any way. Quite the contrary, I’d say.

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