Comedian Janeane Garofalo, who has firmly established herself as a full-blown Progressive in both her act and her public political statements, exemplifies the shocking lack of self-awareness of people who deride America’s history for its failings. Consider the attached image I came across while surfing Facebook. It offers this quote:

Our country is founded on a sham: our forefathers were slave-owning rich white guys who wanted it their way. So when I see the American flag, I go, “Oh my God, you’re insulting me.”

and a picture of her speaking publicly while wearing a hammer-and-sickle tank top.

Not one to trust Internet memes for veracity, I did a little research, and sourced the quote to a 1998 profile published in the now-defunct Buzz Magazine. The best guess is that this profile was published in 1993 or 1994, when Ms. Garofalo was 29 years old.

The balance of the quote is also interesting:

That you can have a gay parade on Christopher Street in New York, with naked men and women on a float cheering, ‘We’re here, we’re queer!” – that’s what makes my heart swell. Not the flag, but a gay naked man or woman burning the flag. I get choked up with pride.

I am not offended, as some might be, by protestors burning an American flag, because a passion for liberty includes the protection of such an act. I don’t agree with or condone flag burning, but I’m not remotely interested in banning it. All such bans do is inspire more resentment and validate complaints about government authoritarianism.

No, what truly offends me is the image of Ms. Garofalo sporting a hammer-and-sickle logo on her shirt. While her quote is nearly a quarter century old (and I’ve no evidence she said it while wearing that tank top), there’s nothing I’ve seen to suggest that she’s changed her attitude or views whatsoever. She is joined by a growing number of people (millennials) who have positive attitudes towards communism.

The irony of decrying the symbol of America’s political system while wearing a hammer-and-sickle, or a Che Guevara t-shirt, or waving a communist flag, would be milk-snorting funny were it not so tragic.

Garofalo decries the American ideal as a “sham” because its ideals were extolled by people who didn’t fully embrace them. Consider the history of communism and socialism. Weren’t its ideals extolled by people who didn’t fully embrace them? Who, in fact, used the veneer of those ideals to brutally clamp down on their subject citizens? Who murdered tens of millions of their own countrymen, and who tortured and imprisoned tens of millions more? Who enriched themselves while keeping billions in poverty?

How can anyone, with a straight face and without being overwhelmed by hypocrisy, decry the American flag’s symbolism while embracing the symbolism of the most brutal political system ever invented? Despite flaws and failures, both historic and current, the ideals of liberty embodied by the American flag have elevated the human condition, around the world, more than any other political system ever conceived. On the other hand, communism and socialism have wrought immeasurable havoc, death, and destruction around the world.

I can acknowledge that many millennials have probably led lives and received educations so sheltered that they fail to connect these historical realities to their idealistic delusions. When you live in an echo chamber, you receive little pressure to be critical of your beliefs and assumptions. But, someone like Janeane Garofalo should know better. She’s obviously devoted a great deal of time and thought to her political views. So, to see her wearing a hammer-and-sickle shirt is an unpardonable offense, and a direct affront to the memories of all those murdered by the regimes that elevated that symbol.

Many of Garofalo’s disposition went after the Confederate Battle Flag, decrying it as a symbol of racism and oppression despite its supporters’ assertions of other, historic connotations. What the [redacted] do they think the hammer-and-sickle represents?!?! In terms of body count, nothing, not even slavery, holds a candle to communism and socialism.

Some Trump-haters get so incensed at the sight of someone wearing a MAGA (Make America Great Again) hat that they commit acts of aggression, theft, or violence in response. That’s for something that is only purported to suggest racist or fascist intent. Despite it being certain that many MAGA hat wearers have no such ill will in their hearts, this “triggering” has been used to justify physical responses. Culturally, this and its equivalents have become a common enough phenomenon to spur left-leaning publications into writing cautionary articles.

Those of us who love and respect liberty will defend others’ rights to speak against the system that protects their speech, to wear symbols of hatred (yes, that hammer-and-sickle certainly qualifies), to burn flags, and to beatify murderous thugs (yes, that’s you, Che Guevara hipster). Those who purport to speak for the oppressed and downtrodden via their socialist and communist proclivities offer no such consideration in return. The irony and hypocrisy truly boggle the mind.

So, perhaps, next time you see or hear someone deriding the American flag while sporting or extolling some symbol of communism or socialism, gently ask them how they can possibly do both without spontaneously combusting in a hypocrisy-fueled pyre. Gently, though. As we’ve seen time and again, some such folks aren’t above responding violently. Few things sting as much as having one’s hypocrisy laid bare for the world to see, and people will often substitute hands for words when the latter fail them.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


Like this post?