My Two Cents

Newsweek
U.S. Edition
Thursday, May 24, 2018

A national gas station chain is pushing back against accusations that it was not flying the American flag at a Texas location to avoid offending foreigners.

It all began with a video from a self-proclaimed trucker named Dave Moore who claimed he would no longer support the national chain because its Amarillo, Texas, location was not flying the U.S. flag.

A man claiming to a be a trucker posted a video on his Facebook page saying the Pilot Flying J in Amarillo, Texas was no longer flying the American flag to avoid offending foreigners.

Moore posted the video to Facebook, where he claimed he was told by an employee that there was no flag because “foreigners come in here complaining, and they didn’t want to lose the foreigners business.” According to The State, the video went viral, grabbing the attention of more than a million viewers before it was removed from Moore’s Facebook page.

In his video, Moore said he would no longer support a company that does not support America. He said he would only patronize the chain in the rare “fuel emergency or I got the scoots or something.”

Pilot Flying J, which was founded by a Korean War veteran Jim Haslam II, responded to Moore’s video on social media. In a statement posted on Facebook Saturday, the company called the allegation that it does not fly the American flag “absolutely false.”

“There have been a number of inaccurate stories making the rounds on social media that say we don’t fly the American flag. That information is absolutely false. We are proudly American—started by a Korean War veteran 60 years ago,” Pilot Flying J wrote.

The State
Gas station chain denies it stopped flying U.S. flag because it offended foreigners
By Noah Feit
May 21, 2018

PILOT FLYING J STATEMENT

We are proudly American — started by a Korean War veteran 60 years ago. Pilot Flying J shows that pride in all of our locations, whether that’s a flag outside, promoting military products in our stores, or through our many philanthropic efforts with organizations such as Bunker Labs, Fisher House Foundation, Operation Honor Guard, Special Operations Wounded Warrior, and Wreaths Across America. Our current policy is that an American flag can only be displayed at our locations if it can be flown according to military protocol. What many may not know is there are very specific rules and protocols to properly fly a flag; everything from how it’s raised and flown, to how it’s lit at night. Our goal is to ensure we show the flag the respect it deserves at our locations that fly the red, white and blue. We are currently working to ensure that the flag poles at the locations that have a flag pole are repaired and in proper working condition to do so.

KISSFM 96.9
Amarillo TX 79109

Jack Logan, a local businessman, and Veteran posted a video explaining his experience with Pilot.

He talked to the management team and they walked him out and showed him how the pole was broken. “The pole is electric and they showed me where it was broken. They were very nice to me,” he said.

“I’m a local business owner and it’s terrible that some guy who wanted fame is doing this to a business in our city. Now that he has all this attention, he’s starting a new stream.”

Jack took to Facebook live to show that the pole is broken and to stop spreading the rumor.

My Two Cents
May 24, 2018
By KC Colaianni

 There is a proverb that free advice is worth exactly what you pay for it. This morning, I was intrigued with a Facebook post regarding Pilot Flying J truck stops and the American flag. What got my attention was how utterly preposterous I found the post. By that I mean, how many foreigners are stopping at a truck stop off I-40 in Amarillo. If the person reporting the incident is to be believed, there are enough pissed of foreigners stopping in, that the Flying J has discontinued flying the American flag deep in the heart of Texas so as not to offend said foreigners. Not likely. A quick Google search revealed that the story regarding the company’s refusal to fly the American flag at its truck stops was completely false (see above.) With all the so called fake news, which is rightfully called yellow journalism, hounding us daily, this story struck me as a very useful thought exercise.

The story was started by a guy named Dave Moore in Amarillo, Texas, posting a video and explanation on his Facebook page (now removed.) I was struck by his use of the word foreigners. This happened in Amarillo. I’m fairly certain that the truck stop isn’t being inundated by Asian or European foreigners. He was speaking of Mexican’s and most likely Mexican-Americans, who are 28.8% of the population in Amarillo. He is just another racist trying to make his point. I’m sure that the people reposting the story have put no thought into the matter, other than think of it as a business being unpatriotic. Here, drink this Kool-Aid and pay no attention to white residue of poison in the bottom of the glass.

There is, also, an underlying theme of nativism (white supremacy) running through Moore’s statement. Let me say at the outset of my diatribe that I am not a regular customer of Pilot Flying J and have no interest in whether or not they fly the American flag. But, it got me thinking. I was unaware there is a requirement that businesses, or individual Americans, for that matter, are required to fly the American flag to show patriotism. I have read and reread the Constitution and the only thing that covers said requirement is contained in the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

For those with reading comprehension issues, this guarantees us the freedom of speech, which includes whether or not we, personally, want to fly the flag. No American is required to fly the flag. No business is required to fly the flag. On my way to work this morning, I passed five gas stations, none of which were flying Old Glory: A Chevron; a Sinclair; a Shell station (which is Royal Dutch Shell owned by British Petroleum. They were flying neither the Union Jack nor the EU flag); a Conoco; and, another Shell station.

If I have to prove my patriotism by only buying gas from stations which fly the American flag, where will I fill up? My neighbor flies the Stars and Stripes, but he doesn’t sell gas. The Department of Transportation facility had the U.S. flag and state flag flying at full staff in the beautiful morning sunlight. At the next stop light, I saw that McDonald’s was curiously flying the U.S. flag and state flag at half staff. I’m not sure why but I’m lucky that I’ll have a patriotic place to buy lunch, not like that un-American bitch, Wendy’s, at the next corner, also not flying an American flag. Of the remaining 100 hundred or so businesses I pass daily going to and from work, none were flying the American flag. I was astounded at how unpatriotic my city really is.

I fly the flag on Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Flag Day, and Veteran’s Day to show my respect. I stand when the flag is paraded by or raised. I place my hand on my heart when I say the Pledge of Allegiance. I have a terrible voice and still sing along with the words to the Star Spangled Banner. This is to say, I believe I am patriotic, not because I am required to do any of these things, but precisely because I am not required to do them. I choose to do them because I have been blessed. Blessed by an accident of fate to have been born in America, born to parents who were able to have jobs and provide for me, able to get a world-class education with freedom to think and believe according to the dictates of my own conscience.

Not only do I fly the American flag, I also fly the Italian flag to celebrate the heritage of my husband, and the Rainbow flag to celebrate Pride Week. When I have too much whiskey, I sometimes fly my freak flag. All this is to say, it’s not the symbol itself that is important but the ideas and words behind the symbol. If you fly your flag for patriotic reasons, and yet, don’t understand or respect the First Amendment, you might as well spit on the flag, burn it to ashes, because it means nothing if the words behind it hold no meaning.

In the not to distant past, there was a country and a political party who used patriotism like a hammer to beat citizens into submission. It is a very dangerous path to walk when a people use symbols as weapons. Still today, we see fellow citizens flying Nazi flags, very disrespectful to the soldiers who fought and died to defeat that regime.

I also see a number of Confederate flags being flown along side Old Glory. That is totally incongruent. The United States defeated the Confederacy, and don’t give me any horseshit about an Act of Northern Aggression. It was a Civil War. The south seceded from the Union in order to keep slavery in place (i.e. the Confederate flag is a symbol of slavery and black repression.) There is no escaping that fact. Secession was a treasonous act and by flying the Confederate flag, you are proclaiming that you are a traitor to the United States of America.

Since Colin Kaepernick and many other men of color started taking a knee during the National Anthem at sporting events, I have been paying a lot more attention to flags and symbols and what it means to be patriotic. These honorable men are teaching us what it means to be patriotic, to peacefully protest police brutality on communities of color, and to do it in a way that should make all American’s proud of our Constitutional right to peacefully protest.

Instead, we are witness to white backlash. Excuse me, but your racism is showing. Yesterday, the NFL team owners voted to financially penalize any team whose players kneel during the National Anthem. I propose that all players, black and white, kneel, arm-in-arm and pay the fines, with the stipulation that the money goes to provide clean drinking water to Flint, Michigan, or help rebuild Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, or fund players who show signs of CTE.

This move by the owners is utterly un-American, yet, another attack of white overlords on black men. The big-money owners are essentially acting as the master, subjecting their Gladiators to rules that abridge their First Amendment rights. Yazz sir massah Goodell, we be out pic-n dat cotton right shortly.

Authoritarian regimes always use flags, songs, slogans, and patriotism as tools to keep their citizens in line. No citizen wants to see themselves as the other, the one different from the rest, the outlier. It works. People are sheep. If you don’t stand with Great Leader you are disrespecting the Presidency. If you are protesting by kneeling during the National Anthem, you are disrespecting the soldiers who fought for our ideals. If you don’t fly the flag, as a business, you are unpatriotic.

In America, the America I believe in, none of those things are true. So, what started out my morning as a misguided Facebook post, that was false, ended up as a useful thought exercise in what it means to be an American. That is my two cents.

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