Editor’s note: as it’s Indy 500 week, we’re re-running this piece, originally from 2017, on MAGA propaganda present at the race track.
As has been well documented, especially so on this site, the patriotism gets ramped up to jingoism and then some at the Indianapolis 500 every year. Actually take that jingoism and square it, no wait, take it to the tenth power. In other words, it gets full on MAGA, i.e. white nationalism.
As it’s the nation’s biggest Memorial Day weekend gathering, drawing over 300,000 people each year, native advertising for the armed services runs rampant.
The pre-race program included (but not limited to):
God Bless the USA, God Bless America, America the Beautiful, Stars and Stripes Forever, Battle Hymn of the Republic (while a Confederate Flag flew around turn 2) and the Star Spangled Banner.
Now accepting nominations for next year’s Indy 500 program cover. pic.twitter.com/xulohXY7gd
— Indy500Pics (@Indy500Pics) May 27, 2019
It concludes with what is actually my favorite part of the race, the state of Indiana’s official song, “Back Home Again Indiana,” now performed by Jim Cornelison.
There were some iffy years in there between the passing of the legendary Jim Nabors and the assumption of Cornelison to the position.
To fit in with this atmosphere, a lot (if not most) of the people attending the race dress in America gear (actually it’s more MERICA or MURRICA, and sometimes MAGA).
So here is the list of the more memorable t-shirts that we saw the Indy 500. I know what you’re saying “pics or it didn’t happen,” and I totally agree with you but
1.) not interested in stopping total strangers and asking them to post for a picture, especially ironically and
2.) I saw these when I was walking somewhere, and kind of occupied.
Don’t worry though, we have a ton of photos here, and if you need more, you can always go to @Indy500 pics.
Build that —-ing Wall (With an American Flag in place of where —- is)
The guy wearing this shirt was probably distraught that a Frenchman beat an American in the end to win the race. He might have thought to himself:
“hey, if only we built that wall, this French guy would have never gotten into this country.”
God. Guns. Good Country Music.
BBQ. Beer. Freedom
Jesus. America. Beer.
Three pithy t-shirts that were right to the point.
It was not earned to be burned (American Flag)
I’ve never been a flag burner, but the idea that Americans wouldn’t legally be allowed to freely burn Old Glory in protest, if they chose to, is helluva lot worse than a piece of cloth going up in flames.
(I seriously thought the van above was the MAGA bomber’s vehicle at first)
America: Undefeated in War
what about Vietnam? Why are we still in Afghanistan? How did Iraq go?
America: World War Champions
Don’t quite know where to begin in vivisecting that one.
Landslide 1984 (With a picture of the Presidential Electoral College map where Ronald Reagan beat Walter Mondale 49 states to 1)
For some reason, Reagan/Bush ’84 is the most popular campaign tee that you’ll see at the Indy 500. Even more so than the MAGA stuff.
(for the Illinoisans reading this, don’t condescend to Indiana too much- see we have MAGA bigots in our state too).
I want pizza, not your opinion
Not political, or patriotism themed, ok, it is actually both, I get it, but mildly interesting nonetheless. Not exceedingly clever, but kind of clever.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.
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