Monday, February 11, 2002

Stars and Stripes Forever...or at least for now
I guess America has "returned to normal", whatever that means, if people are arguing about this. John Carman, writing for the SF Chronicle, wonders how long Leno and Letterman are going to continue wearing flag pins. It's entertaining enough, for a while, but then it hits what is, for me, a massive speed bump:
"The pins have to come off sometime, if only because in another year or two, they will reclaim their original meaning: I am a conservative Republican, and more American than you."
Original meaning? Only if history began in 1968 at Haight Ashbury.

I'll admit I was disconcerted when flags started reappearing in massive numbers, in the most unlikely places, in the aftermath of 9-11. The news networks made it a part of their identification graphics and "bugs", and that really irks me. And "God Bless America" still looks out of place on the marquee in front of KFC.

Jeff Jarvis at "WarLog: World War III" summarizes some very good arguments for and against wearing one. This is one of those rare moments where Doonesbury actually gets it right, although as usual Trudeau backs into the message and nearly subverts it in the process. (For some reason the "real link" will not work for me: Perhaps this one will work for you.)
"You guys [meaning conservatives] hijacked the flag years ago, during the Cold War, especially the Vietnam era, turning it into a symbol of unquestioning, jingoistic nationalism."
No, Garry, nobody hijacked the flag. Sixties liberal philosophy spat at it, shat on it, and burned it. The right flew it because they could: You rejected it because they embraced it. It was your flag too, even then, but you didn't want it.
"Now it's back to being a symbol of patriotism and love of country, not a particular political agenda. So thanks for restoring it to ALL of us."
So now you want it again. Welcome back. We really are one country, still, and that which unites us is, as ever, more important than that which divides us.

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