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Taking Down the Flag


#1

Taking Down the Flag

Robert C. Koehler

The flag in front of Home Depot was at half-mast and I felt myself wondering why in an awkward, despairing way.

The nation and the news cycle were still thrashing in the wake of the Chattanooga killings and I figured, oh, it’s for the soldiers — but all that realization did was intensity the troubled feelings the spectacle had aroused. This is America, where you can shop and mourn . . . but it wasn’t just that.


#2

As Mr. Koehler asks "I found myself asking: Why should the flag ever NOT be at half-mast?", I ask why should the flag ever NOT be upside down (the distress signal)? The flag is but a symbol, and as George Carlin quipped, "let's leave symbols for the symbol-minded."


#3

I run my little sailboat to Mexico and to the islands fairly often. Such a vessel is required to fly its national flag from the stern. I use the corporate flag, which has in the blue field the logos of the various largest companies instead of the 50 stars. Everywhere I go people really dig it, entirely get the point.


#5

I will not display or wear the flag because I feel that the symbol has been hijacked by a bunch of jingoistic Christo-Fascists who believe that fealty to the government at any and all costs is the highest priority. Yes, it is also a symbol of the great wrongs committed in our name throughout history. I suppose if I were to carry this to a logical conclusion I should abandon everything I have and set out on a raft to the middle of nowhere, for as an ugly American, that is all I deserve. Instead, I try and not make things any worse than they already are.


#6

“But why not take down the United States flag as well?":Good Question. But well before the dropping of the Atomic bombs,which was a crime of enormous magnitude because it initiated the nuclear arms race and the threat of a nuclear winter with its extinctions for the whole of humanity, the multitude of wars following, this flag is the symbol of the extermination of the native peoples and the enslavement of the African.


#7

I used to like to look at the American flag, but I am now sick and tired of looking at it. Since 9/11 they have been hanging it everywhere and pasting it all over everything. I sit on a bench at the bus stop, I can not see if the bus is coming. A flag is hanging in my way. I get in the bus, I can not see out the window, A big American flag decal is pasted over the window. I'm afraid that a lot of people can not see through that damn flag and see the sorry shape that our country is in. Since 9/11 they have put that flag all over everything just like the Nazi's put the swastika all over everything. Are people so stupid that they can't see that. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of Amerika.


#8

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


#9

" I sing of Olaf....." e.e.cummings. Should be taught in schools as well as a reading of "People's History....by Howard Zinn. Enough of Empire propaganda.


#10

This weekend in Seattle is the big culmination of "Seafair" in which we celebrate our maritime heritage with... corporate-sponsored hydroplane races on Lake Washington, accompanied by... repeated low-altitude fly-overs by the "Blue Angels" fighter-bomber propaganda squadron.

i'd like to remove the fighter-bombers, along with the flag.


#11

Eddie Izzard on flags tracking back from WW2


#12

Flags, like nation states, are vestiges of feudalism that have outlived their usefulness. They are used to manipulate the ignorant with tribalism and than as coffin covers. The earth flag at least represents us all.


#14

I thought about putting out a rainbow flag on flag day but thought better against it. My neighbors have one of those and keep it in their back yard. For good reason.
In the town where I live, that national symbol consisting of cloth is practically worshiped, and veterans groups get all bent out of shape when it's "mistreated." I mean, it makes them cry. For real.
I think I will refrain from using potty humor this one time.
But one thing I thought about while I was riding by all those half-mast flags, it makes it a lot easier to pull them down so people can throw paint on them or light them up. imp

P.S. - I read about a deal where kids who went to an ice cream shop and recited the pledge to the flag would get free ice cream.


#15

Here's the flag at the AdBusters site: http://subscribe.adbusters.org/products/corporate-america-flag


#16

Thanks for introducing me to big Olaf! Inspirational, even with the belief in an afterlife.


#17

An interesting reality that many or most Americans aren't aware of is the degree ot frequency that the national flag is displayed compared to other societies. We may have heard Noam Chomsky talk of this over the years but the first time it was brought to my attention was around 1969. While attending college a couple of years after leaving the army I got to know a student from Italy. She was living with relatives in this country. When chatting one day she asked me why there were so many American flags about, especially in the center city area and government building as well as else where. I never realized it was conspicuously different from any other 'democratic' country. We just take it for granted, like fish might with water.

Reflecting on it years later, it was revealing that even in the army, including being
in combat in Vietnam, the 'flag' wasn't as prevalent as it is in our daily civilian lives. It's function is powerfully served, in an Orwellian way. And to think at one time there was an Enlightenment Period. Could it please make an encore.


#18

Does anybody see anything that seems familiar below?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism

by Mr. Lawrence Britt

Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottoes, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long
incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and
academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forgo civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I certainly think I do!
;-})


#19

I was just thinking along those lines -- dump the stars and stripes, and fly a corporate logo. Even liberals today so strongly believe in the corporate state that they think everyone is able to work and there are jobs for all, therefore no need for poverty relief. Either that, or they decided that those who aren't of current use to the corporate state don't deserve to survive. Further, liberals have spent years celebrating middle class elitism. The middle class (whatever remains of it), by being of good service, is well-rewarded by the corporate state (until they are no longer needed). Hurray for the United Corporation of America!


#20

Did you know that, according to the UN's UDHR, food and shelter are fundamental human rights, even for the jobless poor? America today disagrees.


#21

The government disagrees with everything except more wars and more profit for the 0.001%
;-})


#22

Inspiring to me to see Bob Koehler right next to another Chicago saint - Kathy Kelly! If it weren't for voices like theirs where would we be? Sure way more worse off than we are!! Love/Peace, Elizabeth - Malone, NY