God of Thunder and Rock'n'Roll (archmage) wrote,
God of Thunder and Rock'n'Roll
archmage

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Thoughts On Flag Day

So, today, in America, it's "Flag Day". this is one of those holidays I never really got. It just seems so superfluous; a holiday just for the flag? We already have a holiday, just next month, celebrating the formation of our country, so why one this month for the flag?

Here's what one website has to say about it:
Flag Day, is a day for all Americans to celebrate and show respect for our flag, it's designers and makers. Our flag is representative of our independence and our unity as a nation.....one nation, under God, indivisible. Our flag has a proud and glorious history. It was at the lead of every battle fought by Americans. Many people have died protecting it. It even stands proudly on the surface of the moon. As Americans, we have every right to be proud of our culture, our nation, and our flag.
Well, let's see. All this boils down to is 'a holiday to pay tribute to the symbol'. Anyone else see a problem with this? That's like Christians setting aside a religious holiday, STRICTLY to worship the Cross, or Jews having a day ONLY to worship the Star of David. That's as bad as any Gal/Lesbian group setting aside a day to pay homage to the rainbow or the mixed male/female symbols. That's no better than the Democrats having a "Donkey Day" or the Republicans having a "Pachyderm Day", simply to celebtrate the existence of those animals. It's a meretricious show of worship.

A symbol is representative of something. Worshiping the symbol is missing the point. It's like the old Bruce Lee bit about the finger pointing towards the moon, remember that? "I see a finger, pointing towards the moon...focus on the finger, and you miss all the heavenly glory." If you choose to honour a thing, use it's symbol, but don't choose to just honour the symbol, or you ignore the thing. In this particular case, that just seems like unctuous patriotism, smarmy outpourings that are designed to mask rather than to reveal. Besides that, some of it doesn't really make sense. "Our flag has a proud and glorious history"?!? No, it doesn't. It has several incarnations, changing as our country grew, true, but I don't see that as a "glorious" history; the COUNTRY has the history. It's led the charge of American battles? So what, every country has their flag as a standard; the glory here goes to the fighters. People have "died protecting it"? Man, I'm tired of hearing that; they died in the battle, fighting for our side against the other side, they did not die to "protect the flag" (anyone dying for a strip of cloth has never noticed how easy it is to buy another one). And this reference to it being on the moon, that's just arrogant. The moon belongs to the PLANET, and us planting a flag there, as if to say "we claim this planet in the name of Mars" has always kinda bugged me.

Hey, be proud of the country, and have a holiday to show it, sure. I just don't see what having a separate day set aside just to honour the symbol accomplishes, other than a new excuse for the politicos to crawl out from under their rocks and make more speeches to make them sound better than they are. Oh, you know those speeches, the ones that you need wings to get through, because the bullshit piles up too fast to shovel. Flag Day and Independence Day are the worst, and they all sound the same. I'm gonna borrow a bit from Carlin here, but just think back and ask yourself how many times you've heard these phrases come out of their mealy mouths:
  • Old Glory
  • Main Street
  • the stars and stripes
  • the heartland
  • all across this great land of ours
  • from Maine to California
  • on American soil
  • leader of the free world
  • the greatest nation on Earth
  • the greatest nation in the history of the world
  • the most powerful nation on the face of the Earth
  • a beacon of light and hope to oppressed peoples everywhere
  • our brave young fighting men and women overseas
...the list could go on, but I think that's MORE than enough. And I'll do you all a favour and save my rants on the sheer audacity of some of these phrases for another time...mostly just to stay on topic, here. Let's just say I think some of these need to be reworded or retired, and leave it at that.

Now, that being said...I'm not completely against it all. But I'm really coming to believe that Flag Day and Independence Day should be less a day of celebration, and more a day of mourning, or at least reflection and education. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon and buying into the patriotic hype, take the time to ACTUALLY THINK about the people and principles that built this country...and then look at where we are now, and the things this country now "stands for". Maybe you'll see why I say it should be a day of mourning.

So, yes, today, I shall pay my respects to the American Flag. And, to that rectangle of red, white, and blue, symbol of the country I happen to live in, may I say that I'm sorry that the country you used to represent has died, and that the men that have taken it over have forgotten your true meaning. Perhaps, one day, we can return to the spirit of freedom and opportunity that you once symbolized, becoming a country again that could be the envy of the rest of the world, the place where oppressed people could dream of being, and the country that all its citizens would be proud to call home.
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