I received a message on Facebook today which was a status that had been shared by a friend. The message was from a 'hard working Brit' whose heroes are fellow Brits and is truly patriotic in every way. This Facebook post refers to British situations but I had a suspicion that it might be based on something American as it refers to "cops" rather than "police", for instance. So I did a quick Google search and found http://www.hoax-slayer.com/nigel-farage-tory-worst-nightmare.shtml and this tells me that it started in America. "Nigel Farage did not write the article. The message is just the latest in a series of messages that attribute the words to various political leaders or celebrities in various parts of the world. A virtually identical Australian version is also circulating".
The Facebook version tells us that there are big problems with this country and the biggest problems are in the House of Commons. I would say the author but this would be wrong - the person who impersonates the author doesn't like "do gooders" and thinks the Union Jack should be allowed to be flown anywhere in the UK. He believes in God and concludes with "Made in BRITAIN & DAMN PROUD OF IT!!!!!" AMEN"
There is nothing wrong with being proud. Actually there is. Pride is one of the seven deadly sins so if the British commentator believes in God then he has to atone for his pride. In fact it was hard to find any sentence in a long tirade that did not require further explanation. The whole message was designed to leave the reader with a feeling that they could agree with everything that was written. It left me with a feeling of dismay that oversimplification of the message meant that errors arose, and I found it hard to agree with anything.
I'll start with the messages that I have already mentioned. How do we know that the 'British' author is "hard working"? Check out the quotes for self praise. Self praise is for losers and is no recommendation. Hardly a good start for anyone wishing to persuade their reader. It is good to have heroes and good to have heroes who are fellow Brits. The problem occurs when those heroes are exclusively British. Why should hero worship start and end with political borders unless the border was more important than any other characteristic? The opposite of the seven deadly sins are the seven virtues, none of which relate to political boundaries.
There are significant problems with our democracy. There is no doubt that it can be improved but there are also a lot of positives and without any detail it is impossible to agree or disagree with this commentator. It's the same with his views on do gooders. There is nothing wrong with doing good. In fact it is good to do good. If the author wants to be specific and tell us when 'good' has turned to 'harm' then let's debate that but let's not change the meaning of good otherwise confusion will reign and people will not know the difference between harm and good.
What about the Union Jack? I think he is referring to the recent decision to stop flying the flag over Belfast City Hall but I don't know so let's create a scenario in which a school bully is in the playground pulls out a flag and uses it to bully a fellow pupil who has just arrived in the country because his mother is a heart surgeon who happens to have saved the life of the bully's father. Sounds far fetched but this is my scenario and if it is wrong to use the Union Jack in this sense then the whole argument as written in Facebook falls down. I don't know where to start with the belief in God assertion. There was no Great Britain when Jesus was around and so much of the Bible concerns breaking down barriers and caring for others.
This blog has hardly touched the content of the Facebook message, which sets out to be a truly patriotic tirade but applies to Australians Americans and anyone else you care to mention. Every point it makes is open to discussion, interpretation or just wrong. Watch this space.
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