Posted on June 26, 2018

Not a Country; Not Even a Team

Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, June 26, 2018

Pat Buchanan’s The Death of the West cited an example of American national decline: “When the U.S. soccer team played Mexico in the Los Angeles Coliseum a few years back, the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ was hooted and jeered, an American flag was torn down, and the American team and its few fans were showered with water bombs, beer bottles, and garbage.”

Another example is a recent article in the Huffington Post: “The United States Has A World Cup Team. It’s Mexico.” The piece promotes “Pancho Villa’s Army,” a group for fans of the Mexican national team who live in the United States. The group’s mascot, Pancho Villa, was the Mexican outlaw best known for murdering Americans. Like Aztec symbols (also used by members of “Pancho Villa’s Army”), Villa is displayed today by Hispanics to show racial pride and resistance to white America.

The soccer club continues the tradition of resistance to Americans on American soil. Founder Sergio Tristan started the club after he went to a bar in Austin, Texas, and found it filled with members of “The American Outlaws” who root for the U.S. soccer team. In response, Mr. Tristan started a Facebook group to organize fans of the Mexico team. According to the article, it now has over 80,000 followers on social media, chapters in 32 American cities, and 5,000 official members.

As author Travis Waldron notes, the team serves as a marker for identity for Mexicans in the United States. “There are an estimated 36 million people of Mexican descent in the United States, and many of them are, like Tristan, Mexican Americans who were born here but chose to root for El Tri, as the Mexican team is colloquially known in reference to the tricolor flag, instead of the United States.” Mr. Tristan adds: “Whenever Mexico comes to the U.S. for a game, for six hours it’s a celebration of our identity and our culture. We use it as a vehicle to express ourselves in Spanish, to maintain that connection to where our parents came from.”

“First-generation American” Gabriela Hernandez says, “I’m proud of my heritage, and cheering for Mexico gives me something to hang on to.”

You can change passports without changing identity. Mexicans in America, “American” or not, are acting the way identitarians expect.

Mr. Waldron cheers the nationalism of “Pancho Villa’s Army” but takes a sterner attitude towards U.S. soccer supporters. “[T]he Outlaws have . . . dealt with allegations of racism and xenophobia within their ranks,” he writes, noting that “Trump’s election” also made “members of Pancho Villa’s Army and other Mexican-American fans . . . anxious about the atmosphere they’d encounter” at contests between the United States and Mexico. However, in response to Trump’s election, and possibly in response to media scrutiny, “the American Outlaws circulated messages on social media and among its chapters urging fans to be respectful of Mexico’s supporters, and stationed monitors throughout the stadium to prevent fans from chanting ‘Build That Wall’ or anything else that played off Trump’s rhetoric.” The Outlaws also reportedly censored a section of a banner they planned to unfurl because “they now worried [it] would cross the line from soccer-specific banter to outright racism.”

Mr. Waldron’s differing attitudes towards the Outlaws and Pancho Villa’s Army are in line with his politics. His Twitter account is a litany of racism accusations against President Trump and whites generally, retweets of articles condemning immigration law enforcement, and declarations of support for anti-American protests at sporting events.

Interestingly, the Huffington Post’s Christopher Mathias, who was dispatched for the obligatory hit piece on American Renaissance 2018, was among those praising Mr. Waldron’s article.

Obviously, Mexican fans have a right to follow their team. It is healthy and natural. Nor should American and Mexican fans be antagonistic; as the article explains, the two supporters’ clubs occasionally work together for charitable causes. Both are open to members of all races.

However, the rise of “Pancho Villa’s Army” indicates many Mexican-Americans still consider themselves “Mexican.” The spread of Mexican supporters’ clubs throughout America (including in Lincoln, Nebraska, home base of the “American Outlaws”) is a good indicator of how Mexicans are settling throughout the United States. Mr. Waldron celebrates this.

Mr. Tristan knows that the American media will continue to endorse his expression of Mexican nationalism. As he puts it in a message to reporters:

Let us tell you who we are, what we do, and just overall: celebrate what it means for us to be Mexican American, how we’re prideful of being Americans but culturally prideful of being Mexican, too.

Many other “Americans” feel the same way. In 1999, the American women’s soccer team played the Chinese team in Los Angeles for the finals of the Women’s World Cup. Los Angeles has long had large Chinese communities from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the mainland that were frosty towards each other, but they set aside their differences to root for the Chinese team. “There are political differences, but because the team is Chinese, that’s all we think about,” explained Louis Wong, who was from Hong Kong.

Hostile Chinese organizations called a truce and bought seats in the same area so thousands of Chinese-Americans could sit together and make a tremendous din for the Beijing team. The idea of coming together to root for their new homeland appears not to have occurred to them. “I’m a U.S. citizen, but I’m Chinese,” explained businessman Edward Chang.[i]

Mr. Chang and Mr. Tristan call themselves “American,” but what does that mean? “American” no longer has a racial connotation. It no longer has a linguistic connotation; a declaration by lawyer Aaron Schlossberg that Americans should speak English made him a media target. Outlets such as Time tell us that illegal immigrants calling themselves “Dreamers” are “new Americans,” so you can be an American without even being a citizen.

The United States may be the “sole superpower” but American identity means nothing more than participation in an economy. Today, appeals to America identity, such as “that’s not who we are” or “those aren’t our values” are usually used to tell us we are not morally allowed to act in our own interests. Reporters and watchdogs look down their noses at even the bloodless civic nationalism represented by American symbols. Millions of “Americans” show no respect for the national flag and don’t support the national team.

No one is opposed to nationalism—except in historically white nations. Then it becomes “populism” or even “racism.”

Just after the September 11, 2001 attacks, South Park aired an episode about terrorism and patriotism. The character Stan, who usually summarizes the “message” of each episode, respectfully displayed a small American flag and said:

America may have some problems, but it’s our home, our team. And if you don’t want to root for your team, then you should get the hell out of the stadium. Go America. And go Broncos.

The writers were trying to be funny; this is minimal patriotism. Yet today, American identity isn’t even a joke.

[i] Martin Kassindorf, “Final Unites Chinese Community,” USA Today, July 9, 1999, p. 12C.