A new National Salute

A proposal

The regular handshake, which I'll henceforth call the lower handshake, has fallen out of favor. These days you never know which way the hand will go, leading to massive salutational confusion.

It used to be that there was unity in greeting. Today the arm wrestling handshake (that I'll call the higher handshake) seems more and more popular, to say nothing of the long, very confusing sequences of up to a dozen quick hand movements, very carefully choreographed, practiced by certain groups, whose main purpose is to exclude the non-members or at least make them feel stupid.

And then there is the banging fists salute. It used to be that the open hand symbolized a non-threatening gesture. "See? I carry no weapons, I come in peace". It is not surprising that in a society so totally submerged in violence and who values trampling the competition to get ahead, popular culture will come up with symbols that reflect precisely that attitude. Is banging fists the human version of locking horns? Is it destined to define or establish supremacy?

This salute also reduces the amount of touching to the bare minimum. A few milliseconds on the knuckles as opposed to being exposed to greasy, dirty palms for way too many seconds. Life is already too scary to voluntarily expose oneself to other people's dirt and germs, right? Furthermore, god forbid that a HAND shake (as opposed to a fist clash) might degenerate into sensuality that could lead to sex! Better to keep the populace duly occupied in violence. We can't risk behaviors that might foster cooperation. Divide and conquer!

Why not go all the way and have a totally non-touching greeting that clearly says: Watch out! Stay away! Be afraid of me! I have the power! Don't tread on me!

A national salute also has to reflect the country, or at least the elites that run it. The US has, for most of its history, been the 1000 lb gorilla of the world, so why not take a clue from this magnificent beast of nature?

Chest thumping is an effective intimidation tactic for our fellow evolutionary companion, so that should be the first part of the salute. It is also not so far removed from putting the right hand on the heart, as is taught to every child in the country while reciting that piece of indoctrination that is the pledge of allegiance.

Next, the fist is extended forward and up, in a threatening gesture that clearly says: "Stay away from me and the homeland, or be ready for the consequences". But wait! Isn't this the salute of the Italian Fascists? Well, yes. But there is nothing more appropriate to the current times. As Il Duce himself said:

Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.

Benito Mussolini

Lest it be said that I'm the only one noticing the merger of corporate and political power, a lot of people are finally catching on, like the Occupy Wall St. movement, the Tea Party and some Libertarians. See this article.

So, first thump your chest with your fist, then extend it forward and up. You now represent what the US stands for: Unbridled power, self-righteousness, no respect for other points of view, abuse of power throughout the world, surveillance that would make George Orwell proud, worship of money with no limits, suppression of dissent at home while hypocritically proclaiming (and supporting) freedom and democracy elsewhere, and corporate welfare while suppressing the brainwashed individuals that are the real source of the country's wealth and power.

Copyright © The Eclectic One, October 2011.  All rights reserved. To reprint in for profit / for pay publications, contact eclectic AT freeshell.org