For a variety of reasons I’m no fan of flags. They are divisive, aggressive, uncompromising, flamboyant, vague and just generally a symbol of everything I was taught as a child not to be. They fly where they probably shouldn’t, evoke a wisdom and concurrence that may or may not be real, and add a note of implied menace and chest thumping to otherwise joyful and/or solemn occasions. Flags serve to remind us that Big Brother is watching and ubiquitous – so don’t you dare step out of line or we’ll sic the Grand Forces of Agency upon you.
In short, the anarchist in me detests everything they stand for. Also, the graphics on some of them (I’m talking to you Old “Glory”) look like someone threw up stars on a tablecloth.
That said, I am as nauseated by the Confederate flag brouhaha that’s informing our latest media handwringing as anyone else is—and for the same reasons. Small-minded rednecks appall me every bit as much as grandiose politicians do.
In America, we have this thing called the “First Amendment”* (enforcement of which is ironically represented by a flag,) and it allows us to speak our mind, trumpet our monumentally stupid opinions, and just generally be social assholes as long as we don’t physically deprive someone else of their rights to do the same. That means if I want to fly (or shoot to smithereens,) the swastika or the black flag of ISIS –or my personal favorite, the Mars Attacks (Ack, Ack) flag (see above)—I’m allowed to do so as long as it doesn’t break any laws or foment civil uprising. I mean seriously, we can rally a thousand times the response in a ten-thousandth the amount of time on Twitter, so why bother with the visual identifier? It’s only there as a reassurance to the timid and a threat to the offended anyway –or to guide the wayward to the closest Post Office.
Instead of trying to legislate that which rightfully should simply be shamed out of existence, let’s abolish all of the damned things and try to get along without the implied threat of mob retribution if we don’t toe the edict-du-jour, mkay me Sparkies?
No? I didn’t think so, but a girl can dream. . . .
*Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear you grumbling; the American flag supposedly represents those freedoms, but let’s get real here. One man’s freedom is another man’s oppression, and the flag represents anything the People In Power want it to represent. Just ask Dick Cheney. Or the once-thriving country of Iraq. To illustrate my point, here is a shot of the flag I flew on my front gate the morning after Barack Obama was first elected POTUS. I waited all week for some outraged “patriot” to unload a shotgun into it, delighting in the dissonance it must be creating in the minds of the viscerally offended; a great big middle finger to their thwarted Sarahpalinesque imaginings, symbolizing the tyranny of the majority over an oppressed minority (tee hee. . . .)
How teddibly uncivil of me, huh?