You know the song we sing where we say “America Number One”?

Did you know that our flag reminds us of American imperialism in Panama, Cuba (??), and Iraq?

Because I didn’t know these things. But in Russian class today my (German born and paniert) classmate informed me of how I feel about my country’s traditions, and kindly took it upon himself to explain to me that I, as the only person in the room to have ever celebrated July 4th, don’t understand what the holiday actually means to real Americans, of which I am one.

I wanted to point out that that viewpoint is very much fueled by German history and German values, which could have led to a fruitful discussion about the different meanings of patriotism in Germany, the US, and Russia, a conversation that I would very much have liked to have. But before I got there, he suggested that the Fourth of July is a fascist holiday, at which point the professor quickly redirected us to the Day of Russian Unity (which was the point of the whole exercise). And since I (uniquely, apparently) am blessed with a sense of propriety, the discussion ended there.

This sinister testament to fascism is sitting on my kitchen counter at this very moment, waiting for a chance to forcibly claim new territory. Stars and Stripes for never.