The Marching of the Orange, throughout Ireland, but most contentious in Northern Ireland, “celebrates” Prince William of Orange's victory over King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. It’s a vivid reminder of Protestant over Catholic; English over Irish. Ostensibly a celebration of victory on the battlefield, it was and remains a symbolic reminder of who’s in charge, who’s the leader, who’s the boss. In that light, Protestants marching (as they decry is their right) through Catholic neighborhoods, music blaring from Kill The Pope bands, the Union flag, the Ulster Banner and the Orange Order flag flying is truly the raising of the proverbial dog leg on the Irish, rubbing their face in it to show them their place in the stratified social order.
In Morgan Hill California, in 2010, four students were sent home because on Cinco de Mayo they decided to wear North American Flag T-shirts to school. In a school with a large Latino population Cinco de Mayo is a reminder of their heritage and California’s roots in Mexico. It’s a day to take pride in who they are and where they come from.
But, that narrative is not one that the dominant Anglo Germanic either adheres to or respects. In the dominant Anglo Germanic mythology “we won” is the mantra and you better learn to like it or at least take it. This land is ours now, get used to it.
The boys in Morgan Hill were simply participating rudimentary baby-step marching of their own; the beginnings of the March of the Red, White and Blue. And even though the decision to have the boys take off the North American flag shirts was upheld in court, the incident has provoked the dominant Anglo Germanics to action.
This year, on Cinco de Mayo, there will be at least three Tea Party rallies across the street from the school. I fully expect the wearing of the colors for the Anglo Germanic students to be a point of their own pride (I also expect Confederate flags). There will be shouting and yelling, there will be violence. And when confronted, those who incite will cry out that it is their right to do so. All of this will happen because the narrative in California, as well as in the whole of the United States, is changing. Those who were always there, but “in their place” are not going to take it any more. And those who have oppressed are going to be puzzled and angry at the behavior (why can’t it be like the good old days?) of those marginalized in the stratified social order.
Were headed for a long season of marching with some awful words and behaviors to be exhibited. There will be years of flags flying, music blaring and legs raised in the attempted imposition of dominance. And in the end it will be all for naught.