So after my last post (rant) I got to thinking about patriotism and the whole flag issue again. Not wanting to come across as just another America-Hater aka Liberal I thought I'd touch on this again. Appropriate seeing as today is officially "Independence Day" don't you think?
Even as a child in first grade I had a bit of a problem with the flag. No, not the actual flag itself as I always thought it was pretty amazing for a country to have it's own flag, but the fact that I was forced to stand and pledge allegiance to this inanimate object. I suppose part of it was my religious upbringing and the biblical teachings, in particular the Ten Commandments, which made me so uncomfortable.
KJV 1611 - Exodus 20: 4: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." Even at the age of six I knew that the American Flag was made by man and felt that by pledging (praying), or worshiping as I saw it, this flag that I was doing something I shouldn't be doing. Back then and even now to some extent saying a pledge of allegiance to a piece of fabric, no matter how colorful and lovely it may be, was putting it before God. I know many would...have....still will.....argue with me that my feelings are silly and that honoring the flag is simply paying respect to our country and I say let them. But it's not going to change my mind. I had strong convictions as a six year old and I still do at the tender age of forty-one.
Next on the flag is what it's come to represent to me in the past few years. It seems as if the United States Flag has been methodically and deviously hijacked by the Republican Party and the Christian Right. It's become so that unless you are Pro-George W. Bush, Pro-War, Anti-Gay, Pro-Life, and Pro-NRA then there are those who feel that you no longer have the right to posses a United States Flag much less fly one in your front yard. In fact if you disagree with any of the beliefs mentioned above not only should you not be allowed to fly a flag you are a traitor to the United States and an American-Hater. Just ask a rabid Republican or a Fundamentalist Christian and they'll tell you this with much vigor.
We cannot drive down a highway in any city without seeing at least a dozen SUV's covered with "W", "Support Our Troops", and "Pro-Life" stickers on the bumper. Most of which have been cutely fashioned in some form or another with a USA flag. As if supporting George W. Bush and his war or denying a woman the RIGHT to choose is the only way to be a true American. Quite frankly I've come to associate the modern US Flag with a category of people who consider themselves superior and despise freedom for anyone they deem immoral or un-patriotic. As I stated earlier I see the US Flag has having been stolen away from 1/2 of the US citizens and sole ownership claimed by the other 1/2. Due to the intentional and methodical divide in this country politically and religiously I sadly feel as if the flag has lost much of it's honor. I will not worship the flag but I have always respected that it represented the integrity of this United States. The denial of and stripping away of civil rights; the weakening separation of church and state; and the diminishing right to free speech for all Americans has tarnished the flag and the reputation of this country.
Until things make a change for the better and America's politicians and citizens recognize equality and freedoms for everyone then the only US flag I will ever fly or completely respect is the original one back when America was truly a country of freedom and the flag represented equality for all. My opinions are just that -- MY OPINIONS. But they are valid and they do not make me Anti-American or an America-Hater. The only thing I truly hate is what is happening to this great country and democracy as a whole. I just cannot help but think that on July 4th, 1776 that the Founding Fathers of America had something a little different in mind for their country.
May everyone enjoy a safe and happy day regardless of how you choose to spend it --- while you still can.