This morning, I was out on the porch in front of my house. Wet, twisted, and partially in the gutter of my neighbor's roof is an American flag. It's been raining all night and all day, and the flag is a holdover from the Forth of July.
People want to make it illegal to burn the flag. They say dishonoring the flag is a dishonor to country. Some will say men fought and died "for the flag". They didn't die to see it burned. But did they die so that it could be treated like a moldy post-Halloween jack-o-lantern by this alleged patriot?
Do you make a democracy go away by ignoring it? What scene is a bigger affront to American principles? Some angry protestor burning the flag to make a statement, or the causal disregard and inglorious display paid to it by an apathetic man too drunk to remember it's there?
There are an exhaustive and exhausting list of official procedures for dealing with the flag. For example, if it is displayed at night, it should be illuminated. It shouldn't touch the ground. If it does, it is to be burned by a group of local veterans in something akin to a cremation ceremony. Most people, even those up in arms about flag burning, don't even know these rules. Will these be mandated by law as well? What are the rules for bumper stickers? Patriotic towels? Printing the flag in the newspaper will result in the flag being thrown into the trash. Will the Republicans in the house have to call in a team of Frenchmen schooled in postmodern analysis to author a congressional report on "what is a flag"?
I don't want to burn the flag. But for those who do, I can better understand them. They see the flag as a power symbol of something. Can you say the same for the person drying their ass with an American flag beach towel? The fictional demon Skrewtape said, the opposite of love isn't hate, it's apathy.
-Miguel Sanchez 12:45 EST |