Flag day on Sunday may be too much…

Flag Day, like Independence Day and Constitution Day, has become, for me, anyway, a predicament.

MAGAI want very much to enjoy the feelings of pride and mystic oneness with untarnished heroes of yesteryear.  I’d like to sing our anthem with joy.  I’d be delighted if I could feel that nationalism was about righteous unity and a shared experience of liberty and justice for all with my fellow citizens.  I wish I could hoist a flag and feel I’m expressing equality under constitutional rule of law, with truth, transparency, peace and prosperity now and forevermore.Support

But, dang it…

The flag is a symbol that, to me, and very sadly, has become an emblem of corruption and self-deception.  Our Pledge to obey it (written by an apostate socialist, BTW) was considered idolatry by Christians a hundred years ago.  Adding “under God” to it in 1953 changed what, exactly?

Bellamy2

Do we stand in church with our hands on our hearts and solemnly pledge to obey God?  I’ve not seen that happen.

Besides, how CAN we obey a flag?  Are there any rules?  Who decides what the flag is telling us what to do, and how far we’re to go in obedience?

Do we mean what we’re actually saying?

Our Anthem is a similar self-deception.  Do we still believe we’re “the land of the free and the home of the brave” when… aren’t we struggling against liberties lost to fear of everything from impoverished Arabs, to marijuana and viruses?

IdolatryOur nation is a corporate abstraction not so different from other corporate identities, tribes, corporations, clubs or clans.  We should be acutely aware that the difference between crime rings and nations is often more matter of scale than culture or law.  When Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel beat the Mexican government in a straight-up military engagement, wasn’t there at least a little confusion about who’s really running the country?

Governing is always by force.  But very, very rarely, a government rules by some authority higher than just brute force.  The USA’s national government was created, authorized and very literally delimited by constitutions, state and federal…that, unfortunately today, nobody reads, and most dismiss as outdated.

Yet it’s to constitutions that soldiers, police, politicians and new citizens are to pledge their support and defense against all enemies both foreign…and domestic.

And it’s to those constitutions that we all turn at some point when we want at least the parts we like (maybe a few of the Bill of Rights) when we feel we need defense from…our own government. Thugs

Yes, our government.  You know…the people with the flags on their uniforms, “Under God” on their money, and big bald eagles topping flagpoles guarded by soldiers.

You know…the people a lot of us are protesting against today for their injustice, lawlessness, corruption and brutality.

I get that flags are powerful.  Anthems are powerful.  Slogans are powerful.

But carried through generations, they become a religion unto themselves.  Tribal/corporate membership identity is powerful right down to our DNA.  We crave the feeling of belonging to a pack…often most when opposed to some other clique, clan, club or country.  Historically, and today, that tribal fervor becomes violent at the whisper of a rumor.

We actually tend to WANT us versus them, with all the emotions, symbology and triumphant, martyr-making images that go with that scenario.

My dad was a decorated WWII pilot and POW.  He weighed just over 90lbs when freed, and I believe all of his kids were deeply affected by his unspoken trauma.  The triangle of flag presented after his death means a lot to me.  But that particular flag is about my dad and not about our imperiled nation.distress

A lot of people see the flying flag more like a disgraced celebrity than a proud aspiration.  Others have good reason to see it as a symbol of class struggle and injustice.  Those who see it as a physical embodiment of virtue are history-whitewashing romantics…which must be pleasant – but is ultimately a destructive self-delusion.

But it may also be a dangerous red-herring bait-and-switch.  “When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” *

I have a suggestion.

I believe we should drop the abstract, arbitrary symbols associated with our ungoverned, corrupt and dangerous government, and make this really, really simple.

We should make sure that what we espouse and pledge to support is written in black and white constitutions that we’ve read and actually do support, and not to feelings inferred from symbols no longer related to those words.

We need to be, in my opinion, razor-sharp in focus, and completely serious in our dedication to truth, justice, and …something better than what is now the American Way:

I propose we pledge our allegiance not to a bit of cloth made in China, but to constitutional rule of law under our existing state and federal constitutions as written and amended, full stop.

 

 

*Some say Sinclair Lewis said or wrote this.  But this has been pretty-well debunked.  Others ironically claim that Huey Long said it.  But that’s even less-likely.
But it doesn’t much matter who said it, because it’s turning out to be embarrassingly, damnably correct.

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Making me think, and rethink…

  2. Right on, except for “amendments too”.

  3. Oh don’t get me wrong…I don’t like a lot of the amendments.
    But the whole is better than what we’re doing now, and I’ll happily compromise on the whole thing as written.

  4. Tell me when you come to some conclusions. I know I’ve already inflamed a few people on FB…

  5. As already mentioned the whole thing is far removed from as written. What would you change from what is written in 1787?

  6. Good question. I wouldn’t get my way with most of the changes I’d want to make (deleting the 16th and 17th, for example).
    If I were given one shot at it, I’d add an amendment to clarify that the words mean what they say, and that, based upon severity of transgression of the constitution’s terms, the remedy ranges from nullification to trial for treason.


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