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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Obama won't wear an American flag pin... and I agree with him

I will never vote for Barack Obama to be President. Let me be absolutely clear about that. You'll never see me trying to persuade others to vote for him either. But if he seriously believes this, then I'll absolutely agree with the man on this much. Obama has stopped wearing the American flag pin that is seen adorning just about every politician in this country.

Why? Because since 9/11, Obama told an Iowa TV station, the pin has become "a substitute" for "true patriotism."

He's right.

And it's going to be interesting to see how many "patriotic conservative" pundits come out of the woodwork to condemn him about this. I think Obama is doing something perfectly conservative: he's choosing not to wrap himself up in the flag and portray phony patriotism. Obama's patriotism, if it's really there, is going to be on display for whatever it is. For however the voters choose to accept it or reject it. Which is just as it should be.

In all honesty, I hate those stupid little American flag pins. And I think that elected officials or those running for office are shallow and tacky when they wear them. I didn't wear one when I ran for school board, and I'll never wear one if I ever run for office again. If some prospective voter thinks less of me on that basis, I won't care and wouldn't have wanted their vote to begin with. I'd rather win an election based on my beliefs and ideas, not cheap theatrics or gaudy decorations.

Because the fact of the matter is, I still do believe in what the American flag stands for - or what it used to stand for - too much than to want to use it to hide my own shortcomings.

But it's this kind of use of the American flag, like wearing it as jewelry, that has almost completely robbed the flag of any meaning whatsoever.

The American flag is not our own version of the Blutfahne. In fact, there is nothing very special or significant about the American flag itself, at all. There is no intrinsic value or power imbued in the thing. And yet many Americans - and too many politicians - hide behind it as if it were the Shield of Perseus.

We've come to think that it guards us when facing evil. In truth we use the American flag to guard against facing ourselves.

If the American flag is to have meaning, it's only going to be because the American people have given it meaning, first.

So folks, what exactly can we say, that we have given this flag?

Because I don't know how we can still be proud of this flag, when we dare fly it while we keep surrendering the freedoms that too many of our ancestors fought and died for us to have. The American flag does not give us freedom. The American flag can't give us freedom.

Without that freedom, it's just a worthless scrap of cloth. That's practically all it is now.

And we're not going to regain that freedom by slavishly following after some power-mad lunatic in a suit and a silly flag pin.