mercredi, février 22, 2006

War! What is It Good for? Well, Patriotism and, Well...Apparently...Solving Problems!

Yesterday, a friend sent me an email with a picture of a Ford truck festooned with flags. In the bed of the truck there was a large American flag. On the bumper, a large sticker which read: “Does my American Flag offend you? Call 1-800-LEAVE-THE-USA.”*

I’ve always detested the “America love it or leave it” sentiment. Our reverence for the flag troubles me too. And I love the flag. I like the symbolism of it, and I think the National Anthem is a great and beautiful poem. But we sometimes love the flag more than we love the freedoms it symbolizes, and that bugs me to no end. Also, lately, the flag has been whored out as a prop for whatever conservative cause needs it. Everything said must be good, because look – the flag is there. But those people misuse the flag the same way they misuse God – big time prop/good political strategy. I’m always left to wonder which I detest more: their cynicism or its success.

So, in answer to your question, no, your American flag does not offend me. No American flag offends me. But your use of it does. Now it is a prop in the oldest and dumbest argument of all time – if you don’t see America as flawless, then you don’t love it, and if you don’t love it, then you should leave.

And one other note friend: standard toll free numbers in the U.S. are only 11 digits.

Driving home, I was behind one of America’s great philosophers. The reason I know this is that he had a bumper sticker which read:

“Besides slavery, fascism, nazism and communism, what has war ever solved?”

So, I laughed out loud. I mean did he forget “oil shortages”? What about “re-election”? Did he forget “drugs”?

I processed it for a second and concluded: this clown is pro-war!

Of all the things to support…

More than that, he is unable to see solutions to those issues outside of armed conflict.

By the way, are we now retreating from the infamous argument that the civil war was not about slavery but was about “states rights”? Before you know it, people will admit that the confederate flag represents more than “southern heritage.” I won’t cancel any social engagements waiting for that tea party.

More so, would we say that fascism and communism have been conquered?

Should we declare war on all the nazis who are still around – it was such a good solution the last time? Did we conveniently forget that nazism expressed itself through imperialism (war) and genocide (a form of war)?

And I’ll be the first to admit that war is a part of the human condition, but (man, oh man) can we all agree that what it represents, as much as anything, is the same failure of imagination this gentleman was so proud of that he put it on his car for people like me to ridicule and mock?

Should people this delusional be allowed to drive cars? If I beat him repeatedly about the face and neck as a “cure” for his inanity, would I be justified if I called it a war against stupidity?

*I tried to post the picture, but it would only save as a bitmap thingy, and it would not post here. Please don't bother trying to educate me on how to upload it. I'm hopeless.