Can We Put the Flags Away Now?
Come on. The campaign’s over. There’s no more need to pander to the knee-jerk patriots, those who measure love of country by size of flag. Can’t we put away all the flags and the flag lapel pins? On the morning after, they’re just an ugly reminder of all the “pro-America” and “anti-America” and “real America” nonsense spouted during the campaign.
Those images from the White House this week – the president-elect, who brings such a welcome promise of change, palling around with the destroyer-in-chief – were jarring enough: matching dark suits, both with periwinkle blue ties. But most absurd were their matching flag lapel pins. For our outgoing “leader,” the image is especially obscene. Historians are busy dissecting his legacy, but in terms of the damage he’s done – to the environment, human rights, peace, our standing in the world, and the very idea of the presidency as an honorable institution that’s not for sale to the highest corporate bidder – it’s a slam dunk. He has to be the worst president ever. The ultimate anti-American. And there was that pathetic little man with his pathetic little flag pin, perhaps hoping it could distract people from his multitudinous sins.
But why did Barack Obama still feel the need to wear his patriotism on his lapel? There can be no doubt that he loves his country, and will do his damnedest to repair it. (Whether he will be successful is the huge open question.) Maybe during the campaign, to ensure that he would have the opportunity to make those repairs, he had to placate voters so narrow-minded that they demanded this cheap little flourish. But can’t he rise above that now?
What does waving a flag, or wearing a pin, mean anyway? That I love my country more than you do, that I’m a better patriot than you are, that I’m not a socialist?
Nonsense. Do it, don’t advertise it. True love of country is far more nuanced.
You want to see love of country? Look at the thousands of volunteers who gave untold time to this campaign. Look at voters who lined up for hours to elect a president. Now that’s patriotism!
Tags: Flags , Flag Lapel Pins , Patriotism , Bush , Obama
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