Symbolism

Should be left to the symbol-minded

Behold! A contraversial blog posting!

I need to talk to you about something that is almost constantly in the news that has gotten overblown and way out of control. (By the way, I’m speaking the those of you in the United States. If you aren’t there, you just sit back, enjoy, and silently nod at the people who should be reading this.) The problem that we have here is symbolism – more specifically, the American Flag.

I’ll start with this, it’s the United States Flag. America is the name of two continents, north and south, and just calling “old glory” the American flag would include Canada and Mexico, which it doesn’t. Not that I’m trying to exclude those two great countries. I’m not! But there’s a moron in the oval office who thinks that those “freeloading Mexicans” have to be sent home, thus the raids on workplaces to have them ICEd. (Check that last sentance for irony – just one of the free services I provide.)

Another thing I should point out is that I’m not saying we should get rid of it. I see Facebook posts all the time about how “liberals want to remove the flag because they think it’s offensive.” Sigh. That would be the confederate and Nazi flags. The US flag, while, frankly, a little busy / gaudy, doesn’t offend anyone that I know of. So, knock it off with that crap.

Nor am I referring to the flag that is used to cover caskets in military and law enforcement funerals. That specific flag has great meaning, although, I generally think it has more to do with the person in the coffin than the flag itself. But I digress…

The problem is with the flag, a symbol of the United States, being considered more important than the country, or, even more importantly, the people who live there. It isn’t. It can’t be. If it becomes that, then the country really has gone to hell. It is a symbol that is overused and over emphasized and, I should really hammer this issue home, used incorrectly.

Did you know there is a “U.S. FLAG ETIQUETTE, RULES, AND GUIDELINES” ? Did you know that one of the first things on the list is, don’t fly it in inclement weather, like rain? Did you know that it should not be displayed on a vehicle unless it’s on a flagpole? That means all those hoods painted that way, or those bumper stickers, those are no-no’s. It should never be used for any advertising purpose, especially endorsing a candidate! That means all those t-shirts, swimsuits, bed sheets, toilet paper… all of that is not supposed to happen.

Oh, and how do you dispose of a flag when it is no longer in the condition it should be in? You burn it. Burning flags. Not just for protesting. Imagine that!

This is wrong. (Incidentally, anyone else notice that guy on the left wearing a MONTREAL CANADIANS jersey?)

The flag is, in no uncertain terms, a piece of cloth that symbolizes the country. It is not the country itself, nor, should it be put BEFORE the country OR the people who live there – or, frankly, any people at all. Any time we put an inanimate object before a person, we’ve really lost our way. Something that has never made sense were the people who say they’d die for the flag. The country? Sure, maybe. But the flag? What has that flag ever really done for you? Flap in the wind? The country might do something for you, but if we look at what our contury is doing for our war vets now, maybe not even that. I even saw something recently where people said they’d rather extinguish a burning flag than an immigrant child. Those people are, honestly, more f*cked up than I’d ever thought possible. Any they claim Jesus most of the time, too. Jesus wouldn’t approve. Try reading that book of yours sometime.

There are people who say they are so gung-ho (how that became an U.S. term I’ll never know) about the flag that they bleed red, white and blue. Frankly, that’s just stupid. Red, fine. That’s the color of blood. White? Puss? Really? And Blue… you bleed Windex? Listen, if you’re bleeding colors other than red, you really need to have that looked at. Seriously. In the meantime, I’ll just treat everyone as human regardless of where they come from. They all bleed red. U.S. citizens? Yep, humans. Japanese? Humans, again! Europeans? Human. Canadians? Human. Mexicans? Human. Seriously, pick a country, you’ll find they’re occupied by humans. And they bleed red.

Speaking of other countries, briefly, I do find it somewhat interesting that other countries seem to respect our flag, although I’m not really sure why. For example, earlier this year (2019 – I don’t know when you’re reading this), the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team were off on July 4th. But on the 5th, to show respect for the U.S., they wore USA hat logos, which is odd because they’re Canadian and that goes against that whole aforementioned etiquette thing. But I digress. Did any team wear Canadian flag hats for Canada Day? It was July 1st, in case you were wondering. And the answer is, no. Didn’t happen.

Where did all of this begin? I believe it started with the “Pledge of Allegiance.” That, frankly, is one of the most asinine things I’ve ever heard. We have kids say it every day to start school. But have you really listened to what it says? Really? I picked up on this in the third grade when I stopped and said, out loud, which, yes, got me in trouble, “but that doesn’t make sense!” Let’s go through it, shall we?

I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE

I’ll give you this. That’s a good start and one of only two bits I agree with.

TO THE FLAG

And we’re off! Allegiance to a flag? It’s a piece of cloth with a pattern on it. Pledging allegiance implies, at the very least, you’ll follow it. It’s not going to go anywhere without wind or someone carrying it. Why align yourself with an inanimte object? That really doesn’t make sense, does it?

OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Prepositional phrase describing who owns the flag. Allegiance to the United States, maybe.

AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS

Not a Democracy! That’s an important distinction. We are not a Democracy no matter what people think. It says so in the pledge! And if you don’t know the difference, look it up. Wikipedia or Sid Meier’s Civilization series. Either way…

ONE NATION

This is the other part I agree with.

UNDER GOD

So many things wrong with those two words. First, it was added in 1954 to appease conservative Christians. Next, which God? Buddhist? Wiccan? Apollo? Zeus? Oedyn? Maybe one of the more mainstream religions – Jewish? Muslim? Christian? (Incidentally, those last three, all the same God. I’ve read the books.) But I know most people say “Christian!” Okay, fine. Which Christian? Catholic? Methodist? Episcopalian? Southern Baptist? Northern Baptist? Lutheran? Presbyterian? Jehovah’s Witnesses? Mormon? Any of the other unmentioned variations? Either add them all or drop this bit. It’s not needed anyway.

INDIVISIBLE

This, right here, is the biggest bullshit line in the whole thing. Indivisible? Did you not just read that list of Gods? There are more divisions in the U.S. than there are in the history of math class. Don’t believe me? Are you a Republican or a Democrat? Liberal of conservative? Yankees or Red Sox? Celtics or Lakers? Do you like your Stars to be Trek, Wars or Gate? (I prefer Babylon 5, myself.) If we’re not divisible, then what the hell are all these state lines for? Something it legal here, but if you cross this imaginary and completely made up line five feet this way, illegal and you go to jail for 20-years. Really? We’re not one country, we’re lots of little ones!

WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL

Really? There’s a black man who is doing life for having Marijuana in a non-marijuana state – not a lot, just enough for him, today – like one cigarette, and he’s doing life! Then there’s that kid in stanford who raped an unconscious woman in a dumpster – 6 month sentence, reduced to 3 for good behavior. Justice for all? Really?

And THAT’S what we’re pledging allegiance to? Where’s the sense in that? Let’s worry about fixing the country first? Seriously. Let’s get it where it needs to be. Good infrastructure. Good schools. No racism. None of this disobeying the Geneva Convention by locking up children at the border. Yes, that is against the Geneva Convention. Don’t believe me? Look it up.

Fix all this. THEN we can worship the flag. You think it’s not worship? I hear people say “Amen” at the end of the pledge. By the way, while we’re at it, let’s talk about Colin Kaepernick. Remember him? That quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers that was lambasted for kneeling during the national anthem? That one so many people said was ‘disrespecting’ the flag by kneeling? Let’s look at that real quick.

1) There was an argument that he should be doing that on his own time. Would you have listened to him otherwise? I have no idea what any quarterback ever has done on a Tuesday. His point about being against racist brutality is a good one. LISTEN TO HIM!

2) Did you ever see your ‘hero’ quarterbacks during the pledge? Joe Montana? Terry Bradshaw? Roger Staubach? No. You didn’t. Because not only was that part of the game never aired, the teams didn’t even leave the locker room until after the anthem. So, which is more disrespectful, kneeling or not showing up at all?

and

3) Is kneeling more disrespectful? Really? Most of the people protesting said that they did so because he was disrespecting the Christian Nation. It’s not a Christian Nation, that’s not the point of this bit, but let’s say it is. You Christians go into your Churches and do what? Pray? Do you go into your Church and salute the cross? Hold your hand over your heart at the cross? No. You kneel. Look how disrespectful you’re being to your God! Kneeling! Will I never!

And… we’re back to “indivisible.”

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