Letter: Patriotism or Nationalism?

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George Orwell put it this way: “Patriotism is love of one’s country. Nationalism is imposing that love on others.” Our local Patriots Day Parade is completely volunteer with typically half of Laguna participating and the other half watching. A great example of good old-fashioned American patriotism.

On the other hand, is it patriotism or nationalism if our local police department decides to use a red, white and blue, stars and stripes flag motif for the police car logos, even though it wasn’t what City Council approved and directed them to do, and with no public comments or input?

When our rookie Councilman Peter Blake fabricated a “Save the Flag” crisis on Fox News and other right-leaning media, so that Council received over 600 emails from across the U.S in support of “Save The Flag,” and Council chambers was stacked with Minutemen, Bikers for Trump, and O.C. Trump2020 out-of-towners in red MAGA hats, overwhelming Council with flag-waving rhetoric; George Orwell would most probably say that the independent police action combined with outsider and media influence, crossed the line into nationalism. This was a local aesthetic and protocol issue that could have allowed local residents to freely express preferences or dislike for a graphic design; had it not been turned into a political circus by Councilman Blake.

Laguna Beach overwhelmingly voted against self-proclaimed nationalist Donald Trump and his divisive, nationalist agenda. Voting records show Trump garnered only 26 percent of Laguna Beach in 2016. Now, a gaudy cartoonish stars and stripes logo has been imposed on the residents and visitors of Laguna Beach because of fabricated propaganda about “Save the Flag;” even though that was never the issue. No other California beach community has anything close to this jingoistic logo on police cars. Perhaps artists should volunteer to never do law enforcement, and police should never do graphic arts. As an art community, we deserve better than the amateurish Fourth of July graphic on our patrol cars.

After the Council vote, Peter Blake wrapped himself in the flag and sold out Laguna Beach again on Fox News, all for 15 seconds of fame, with the outlandish falsehood of: “If we lost this vote, the flag could be hurt in terms of other states in the country, where people might decide they didn’t like the flag or pledge of allegiance…” Seriously, Peter? The only silver lining, if there is one, is that we now know exactly where Mr. Blake’s allegiance lies, and who his bedfellows really are.

Edward Van der Veer, Laguna Beach

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Edward Van der Veer –

    Nearly everything you have stated here is an absolute fabrication.

    Go onto Twitter and see the reaction to the LA Times article about the Laguna Beach police cars and the American flag. There exists no shortage of Liberal outrage, saying the flag was a sign of “racism”.

    And the types of people whom you want the readers to your letter to believe showed up in support of the flag – basically “racists” were NOT in attendance at the City Council meeting.

    You are FAKE NEWS.

  2. Nice spin Edward!

    You begin your post with “Our rookie Councilman, Peter Blake fabricated a “Save the Flag” crisis on Fox News and other right-leaning media” Actually, I spoke to over 30 different media outlets including CNN, LA Times, CBS, Univision etc. One was a conservative station, the rest were decidedly liberal. Did you miss the other shows while you were watching me on Fox?

    Before this issue became International, I had many emails from locals on both sides of the issue. The initial emails against the cars all came from Village Laguna members who started the partisan debate by calling our police cars “MAGA inspired”and stating that they were too nationalistic and the flag based graphic was too patriotic. The silent majority stepped in afterward and wholeheartedly supported our Police Chief’s decision. Sorry if your group’s criminal justice sensitivities were ruffled!

    As far as your comment that the “Council chambers were stacked with Minutemen, Bikers for Trump, and O.C. Trump2020 out-of-towners in red MAGA hats” I’ll let the local residents who attended call you out on that farfetched lie. I did see Anne Christoph in the crowd. I can’t remember if she was wearing a Trump biker jacket?

    I’d like to thank you for the schooling on who the residents voted for in the last presidential election. Not sure what that has to do with this issue other than extremists like who’ve begun to use our flag as a metaphor for the hate you have towards Trump? 45 presidents and somehow he’s the poster child for our flag? You should be aware that there are a lot of Republicans, No Party Preference and moderate Democrats in Laguna and WE make up the majority. Reading your post informs all of us as to why we feel so uninspired by the radical left. Your side of the equation barely won a seat for your mouthpiece Toni but lost across the board on the rest.

    You exclaim “we now know exactly where Mr. Blake’s allegiance lies, and who his bedfellows really are. Hmm… Did my “15 seconds” with Fox convince you? Lucky for me, our residents are not swayed by politicized and angry individuals like yourself! For the record, I’m one of those No Party Preference voters that make up almost 30% of our residents. Fortunately, politicized zealots like yourself who make ridiculous statements add to our ranks.

    Finally, I’d like to add that I’m proud of myself for standing up and speaking to the media while your preferred councilmember ran for cover. She was too busy writing emails telling her supporters to stay away from the meeting for their “safety” I stood up for my beliefs and never allowed the political grandstanding that initiated this controversy to sway my opinion. Even while I’ve moved on from this issue, it’s enlightening when someone like you reminds me of why I voted the way I did in the first place.

    Peter

  3. Oh Peter, must you engage every person who writes negatively about you? You say you’ve moved on but spend a good deal of time on this. OK, so you fabricated a “save our flag (and Patriots Day and Fourth of July)” narrative on 30 networks instead of Fox. THAT’s WORSE. And you stoked right wing outrage with your “I have to fight the left wing extremists every two weeks” comment. Yes, that was you, with your Warhol moment. Sure, Village Laguna is really the Weather Underground.” Get your anger issues under control, man.

  4. Edward. I don’t know you, but you have your facts wrong. Feel free to contact me if you want to see the emails that started this whole flag debate. I did a Public Records Act request and so I have read all 700 plus pages of them. If you take the time to become educated on the facts, yout letter would have been quite different.

    I applaud Peter Blake for standing up and saying “not on my watch.” He would not stand by and watch the flag be politiczed by the far left. He awoke long asleep patriotism in many who had been quite, in the background, for fear of what the left would call them if they dared to speak out in support of their country and our 45th President. But when you attack the flag, you have gone too far. People have had enough of America bashing by the left. IF you were at that city council meeting, you saw people, realy people, speaking about the love of that flag, and those who sacrified all to protect it. If you saw anthing else you are too blind to see, or have your own agenda, which is political. You don’t speak for me, nor many others in Laguna. You lost. Get over it.

  5. Bobby Gentry –

    I work in media. And I have paid close attention to this matter. Dozens of news outlets contacted Peter Blake AND others (whom you left out in your attack) for comment, regarding the outrage of some to displaying the American flag on Laguna Beach Police cruisers.

    There was an awful lot of activity on social media about this, all of which was generated by those other than Peter Blake, whom you seem to have singled out.

    YOU ARE FAKE NEWS

  6. Eric,
    Oh so you work in media, do ya? Breitbart or InfoWars? Dozens of media outlets contacted various members of our City Council. Toni, Sue and Bob turned them down, because they have class and didn’t want this escalated into a clown circus. Steve pandered and went on one network. But Peter was everywhere, and I watched his performance on Fox and he said every word I mentioned. Nothing fake about it. He threw gas on the flames. He also called his opposition ( Village Laguna) left wing extremists, which is defined as a group that “endeavors to overcome the existing state and social order by replacing democracy with a communist or anarchist system.” Really? Was that called for? Now that’s Fake News if I’ve ever seen it.

  7. It is the right of and indeed the responsible thing for an elected official to respond to requests by the media.

    And if that elected official believes that the problem being asked about points to a larger problem, one that is part of a growing trend – such as when foreign visiting students at UCI and a handful of radical left wing professors, tried to get the American flag taken down at UCI – or the trend in this country to call things “racist” when there is no racism involved – it was Peter Blake’s duty to speak up. Why? Because he recognizes his duty to do his part to protect our city and the Republic from those who are engaged in a strategy of “death by a thousand cuts” to convince us that we should be ashamed of America and all that it stands for.

    And Peter Blake made this city proud when he did so. He did what any true American should do in that situation, to call out the enemy in whatever form it takes and to call it by its proper name.

  8. Bobby Gentry –

    So, when an elected official turns down the media that means they “have class”?

    I’m sure you would make an exception to that rule of course when it’s our President. If he turns down a media request, I highly doubt you would then credit him with “having class”.

    Do you do all of your political thinking using only your emotions?

  9. oh Bobby, I do engage everyone that writes negatively about me. I’m always happy to respond to any false accusations. Yours are just like most of the unfounded and politicized comments I encounter. I’m always happy to deal with them. This is the beauty of our Democracy and I’m compelled to address you and anyone at any time in discourse.

    Sorry if you like your Council members silent. I’ll try to get “classier” for you and I’ll get my “anger issues” under control to suit your wishes as well.

    Peter

  10. Peter,
    I appreciate your pledge to get your anger issues under control, but given the asterisks, I assume you are being sarcastic. Because if you were serious, you would know it takes a lot of deep internal work to overcome the impulses to lash out at people who disagree with you.
    So here’s the thing: you say my accusations are false and unfounded. Did you or did you not refer to Village Laguna as “left wing extremists,” on fox and do you have the self-awareness to admit that is a dangerous mischaracterization that portrays them as a violent group? Have you looked at the right wing extremists who went on YouTube after your interview to condemn the “flag haters” in Laguna? Do you really believe people who didn’t like the graphic actually hate the flag and are unpatriotic? I wish for once you could admit you got carried away in the furor. But so far you have proven metabolically incapable of any kind of humility or regret.

  11. Peter,
    I appreciate your pledge to get your anger issues under control, but given the quotations, I assume you are being sarcastic. Because if you were serious, you would know it takes a lot of deep internal work to overcome the impulses to lash out at people who disagree with you.
    So here’s the thing: you say my accusations are false and unfounded. Let’s stick with the facts. Did you or did you not refer to Village Laguna as “left wing extremists,” on fox and do you have the self-awareness to admit that is a dangerous mischaracterization that portrays them as a violent group? Have you looked at the right wing extremists who went on YouTube after your interview to condemn the “flag haters” in Laguna? Do you really believe people who didn’t like the graphic actually hate the flag and are unpatriotic? I wish for once you could admit you got carried away in the furor. But so far you have proven metabolically incapable of any kind of humility.

  12. Bobby, please spare me your self absorbed BS. I was being sarcastic and simply quoting your ridiculous statements. I lash out at politically motivated activists that lie and fabricate statements to further their political agendas. My reference to Village Laguna being “left-wing extremists” is accurate in the sense that they are to the far left of center. Are you actually attempting to twist the narrative to one of purported violence? Nice try! Toni Iseman referred to the scene in the council chambers the night of the flag issue as “tyranny” What does your dictionary have to say about that?

    Bobby, I am happy to show humility when necessary but it’s not going to happen over this issue. Why don’t you and Village Laguna move on. You’re making fools out of yourselves!

  13. Well look at the rage-a-holic Peter admitting to “lashing out.,” and then admitting that nothing I said was fabricated. Nice spin there trying to justify your “left wing extremist” nonsense by saying “in the sense they are far to the left of center.” Nope, can’t let this go, Petey. This statement belies that you have zero political experience and have your head thoroughly up your ass and that you were fanning the flames of outrage. Just how are they far to the left? By wanting to fight Development? Are they advocating for socialism? A green new deal? Anarchy? Get your facts straight, little man. Look up “left wing extremism” and then tell me how that’s not equated with violence and terrorism groups. You are so enamored with your newfound power that you have no idea what you are even saying on Fox and how divisive it was for our community. And now you are so insecure with yourself that you spend your time trolling every critic on social media. And I love your profound “Whataboutism.” What about Toni Iseman? What about Hillary’s emails while you’re at it? Admit you went too far with your carny act and your smug pretension that you are some kind of patriot ( after a lifetime spent not involved in anything remotely political) and we can all go home. Until then you can check the comments of the Indy every day and rage on anyone who challenges you. Sad. I’m afraid humility is a little beyond your pay scale. Make sure to breathe before responding.

  14. Bobby, ease up! You’re sounding like the guy you’re accusing me of being.

    Arent you a little late to this party? I announced my candidacy a year ago and ran on a platform of property rights and law and order. Hardly the agenda an overtly sensitive keyboard warrior like yourself could ever understand or appreciate. Where were you when I warned that I was going to break the stranglehold that Village Laguna had on this community? Were you not listening when I let the voters know that I wasnt going to coddle the meth addicts and criminal transients that were destroying our quality of life? I promised to streamline the building process and return property rights to the residents who were at the mercy of Design Review. Were you out of town?

    Bobby, now that I’m elected you emerge with your leftist grandstanding? Green New Deal? Socialism? Guess what, no one’s listening. Put your head back in the sand where it’s been for the last year and accept that the silent majority of Laguna is now determining Laguna’s future. We’re moderate Democrats, Republicans, and No Party Preference. Sorry to break the bad news to you!

    Who are you anyway? You sure talk a big game.

    And by the way, my name is Peter.

  15. Bobby Gentry –

    In this political climate where the Radical Left is trying to sell us on false ideas such as “Toxic Masculinity” it is no surprise that you would confuse Peter Blake’s straight forward honesty as the rantings of a “rage-aholic”.

    Do you also believe that when a man finds within himself the courage to take a stand and challenge certain popular lies to be simply “Man-splaining” as well?

  16. definition of nationalism, “identification with one’s own nation and support for its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations.”..call me a nationalist.
    Peter Blake, the only person to be an individual and actually move forward on his goal quickly. the most votes in the city. Only one to stand when the the song was sung at council showing respect for our flag.
    Edward you are so far left it makes me cringe. In every instance, the people spoke and God help America if one listens to your fabrications.

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