You’re probably asking yourself, who the hell is Keith Smith? I had never heard of him until ninety minutes ago when I first read about his flag flying exploits in Indianapolis. One in particular, and his explanation of why he flies it, has caused a furor, pun intended. It’s always intended. And that is why Keith Smith is malaka of the week.
Smith is just an ordinary Joe with an ordinary name. He’s also the sort of collector you’re unlikely to see featured on the Antiques Roadshow:
Smith said the Nazi flag is about history, not race. He bought the flag from an antique dealer, and he’s been collecting neo-Nazi memorabilia since he was 14. He has badges, military pins and other commodities.
“It’s a part of history,” he said. “Someone sacrificed their life fighting and brought the flag back as a trophy.”
I suspect the folks at the Indy Star mean that he collects Nazi memorabilia. I doubt that there’s a market in George Lincoln Rockwell gee-gaws and tchotchkes. The bigger problem with Malaka Smith’s collection is how he displays one of his prized items: the flag you might have noticed at the top of the post.
For Keith Smith, flying the Nazi flag makes a point about how he’s being slowly stripped of his freedom.
The 58-year-old Indianapolis man has flown the flag three times in front of his house before, joining the Confederate flag and the Gadsden flag that reads “Don’t tread on me.”
“Everything is being stripped from us, everything is being turned into an issue,” Smith said. “I mostly flew it because I’m tired of seeing stuff across the U.S. Some want to cry about their hurt feelings, but this is a part of history being taken down.”
Does anyone understand Smith’s reasoning? I certainly don’t. It strikes me as the essence of malakatude. Flying the flag of one of America’s greatest enemies, one of the worst dictatorships in history, is an affirmation of freedom? That’s just plain nuts even in the era of alternative facts and neo-newspeak. That’s also how the man who posted a picture of Smith’s flag on Facebook sees it:
Mr. Otey further elaborated on his sentiments to the Indy Star but I think fucking Nazi flag sums it up succinctly:
Jim Otey, a 51-year-old who lives in Smith’s neighborhood, said the flag represents an overall symbol of hate for him. He drives past Smith’s house daily and always saw the Confederate and Gadsden flag, and just shook his head. But the Nazi flag went too far.
“It’s the ultimate symbol of all the evil and bad things that are in this country,” Otey said. “It’s frightening to see that in your neighborhood.”
He made the original post on Facebook about the flag, and said he was astounded to see how far it spread.
“It makes me feel good that everyone is getting on board here,” Otey said. “That’s not going to fly here.”
The people who carried that flag plunged the world into the bloodiest war ever waged. It’s a symbol of genocide and war criminality, not a quaint relic. I have no issue with Smith owning the flag but displaying it flies in the face of simple human decency; something that seems to be in short supply among Trumpers in the heartland. Our country fought the Nazis; many of us lost relatives in Hitler’s war of aggression. It’s a symbol of repression, not freedom. And this bozo’s Confederate battle flag is a symbol of slavery, not freedom. It’s all so simple. Perhaps too simple for the likes of Keith Smith.
Trump’s electoral college victory gave the green light to bigots and racists; both famous and obscure. They have friends in high places such as Steves King and Bannon. The latter has been busy turning the White House into the Brown House while the former proudly parades his fascist ethno-nationalist views without rebuke from fellow Republicans. Those who think of themselves as “decent” Republicans own the Steves and their ilk. I’m done cutting them any slack whatsoever.
As to Keith Smith. If he were a WWE wrestler, we might call him the Hoosier Hater. I have my own word for it: malakatude. And that is why Keith Smith is malaka of the week.