We don't choose where we're born. We do choose which clubs we support.
Tom Hicks and George Gillett, just by being born in America, have made it that much harder for Americans to follow a club they love. I've written before that I'm embarrassed to be from the same country as them. I continue to fear that Scousers (or Brits or Europeans) won't take me seriously because of my nationality, despite the fact I know there a fair few readers from across the pond.
This was brought into further focus thanks to today's protests. Sadly, I wasn't surprised to see American flags burned (it is a protest, after all), and I'm not surprised to see a vast number of American fans feeling angry and alienated by the action.
I truly hope that Liverpudlians don't put an entire country in the same basket as the cancers. They don't speak for us, and we're as angry at them as we can be. I understand it's much more personal for you; it's your city and your culture. That leads into the aforementioned feelings of 'it's not mine, it's yours' that linger in my paranoid mind when writing. But Americans can love this club too.
I also hope that American fans will realize that today's actions, as distasteful as they are to some, were taken because of the coincidence of where the owners were born. Were Hicks and Gillett from Country X (I feel bad assigning them to another nation) instead, Country X's flag probably would have been ablaze in front of the Shankly Gates. I only say 'probably' because I also worry about America's image as the world's bully, even if it's unfair at times. But symbolism is important, and flag burning is one hell of a symbol. It's why our own Supreme Court continues to classify the act as speech.
I recognize that one's politics – something I'm dreadfully loath to discuss with anyone, let alone on a soccer blog – also play into how each American perceives this. Personally – and I know it's stupid to alienate 50% of you but here goes anyway – I'm not that bothered. I'm almost inured to it, whether it's happening on our shores or that of some country we've infuriated.
But I also know many are massively offended by the act, and I don't begrudge them. I just want to add a word of caution before throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Sanity on all sides please, and I'm well aware that sounds strange coming from someone who's been insane since yesterday afternoon.
Please. The last thing we need right now is division amongst honest-to-goodness supporters. Everyone needs to be focused on removing Hicks and Gillett, and it's not because of their nationality.