Afraid of an American Flag…in America?

By | July 7, 2016 | 0 Comments

            

A source of fear?

Some people should be afraid of an American flag – for example, extremist Muslim terrorists. Whether they truly are afraid is a question that might be embarrassing for the Obama Administration. But on one point there is no question: No American should be afraid of an American flag. Yet some are. Why?
Everyone is afraid of something. What we are afraid of, or not afraid of, reveals a lot about us. Sometimes we can’t face what we really fear – it’s just too upsetting. Instead, we displace the fear onto something that is less frightening, but more politically correct.
Years ago, Los Angeles realtors placed small American flags on people’s lawns with a note advertising their services. Often the flags fell onto the ground, so I picked them up and saved them. Besides, flags should not be used for advertising.
The Los Angeles Times ran an opinion piece in which the author complained that a flag had been left on her lawn. Her article was titled:

You will fly the flag, and you will like it. Patriotism is to be found in the heart, not the hand that takes away liberty.

She was afraid that somehow her liberty was being taken away because somebody placed a small American flag on her lawn. There are many frightening things – auto accidents, cancer, carjacking, job loss, divorce. What we select to be afraid of depends as much on us as on external circumstances.
The author of that article might well have been afraid of another terrorist atrocity. Nerve gas, biological warfare, nuclear weapons, beheadings, or being burned alive would frighten anyone with an IQ above that of overcooked broccoli. But what elicited her fear was a small American flag.
This Independence Day weekend, the Los Angeles Times ran another flagophobic opinion piece. The author lives in liberal Los Angeles, on the hyper-liberal West Side. He claims to come from “flag-ambivalent America.” No. America is not flag-ambivalent. Only the hyper-liberal, “progressive” parts of it are. He claims that the flag proclaims a holiday, not a way of life. To him, perhaps, but not to most Americans.
Many liberals live in liberal enclaves. They eat lunch and dinner with other liberals. They watch ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, and “Saturday Night Live.” They listen to National Public Radio. They read the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, or most papers in between. They never hear a conservative opinion. They regard Fox News as the “enemy” and never watch it.
So they assume that the rest of America is like them – “progressive” and flagophobic.
The current author goes on to disparage “flag-obsessed patriots.” No. Patriots respect the flag. It’s “progressives” who are obsessed with it. He claims that those who do not wear American-flag lapel pins are branded “traitors.” When did this happen, even once? He calls the flag a “rag on a stick.” How many brave men and women died for that “rag”? Doesn’t the author know that his right to disparage the flag is guaranteed by that very flag? If he does not know, he is a fool. If he does, he is a liar.
But in any case, he is a paranoid:

Flags make me uneasy. I know their owners are checking out my lapel, and probably my front porch. And I know what they’re not seeing.

Super-patriotism is dangerous. We saw the danger in Nazism, and we see it now in violent Islamism. But if one extreme is bad, this does not mean that the opposite extreme is good. Too much water can cause drowning, but lack of water can also be fatal. Most people understand this.
Others, however, have an odd sort of visual defect. They exaggerate the danger on one side to the point of hysteria, but see no danger at all on the other side.
Yes, chauvinism is dangerous. But what if our enemies remain fanatically certain that their nation and their religion are the best, while we doubt our religion and scorn our homeland? Inevitably, our enemies will grow stronger, while we become weak.

● Raging chauvinists murder thousands, while we are upset by a small flag. Is that the way to ensure the survival of freedom?

● Homicidal fanatics crash airliners into office towers, while we are distressed by the mere mention of God at a graduation. Is that the way to guarantee the continuation of tolerance?

● Violent sociopaths behead journalists, burn alive prisoners of war, and take prepubescent girls as “wives” or sex slaves (if there is any difference), while we fret about conservative talk radio. Is this the way to maintain our security?

Recently Ami Horowitz tried an experiment on the Berkeley campus of the University of California. First he waved an ISIS flag, loudly proclaiming the virtues of ISIS and the misdeeds of America. This evoked comments of “Good luck” and “Right on,” but not one negative remark. Next he waved an Israeli flag, proclaiming that Israel had a right to exist and that Hamas is a terrorist organization. This evoked comments such as “F**k Israel” and “All Israelis are killers,” but not one positive remark. How can anyone deny the leftist bias on American campuses?
Even the most timid person isn’t afraid of everything. Even the most paranoid person doesn’t have the energy to be on “red alert” all the time. We are selective in what we fear. What we’re afraid of says a lot about us.
Some people are afraid of violence. They can empathize with the fisherman who rescued Elian Gonzalez from the sea, only to have the child snatched from his arms at the point of submachine guns that fire at the rate of ten rounds per second. They can empathize with Randy Weaver and the relatives of those who died at Waco.
Some people are afraid of heights. They can empathize with those who were forced by advancing flames to jump out of the 110-story World Trade towers. They can try to imagine what went through the jumpers’ minds in the ten seconds it took them to fall, before they hit the ground at 120 miles per hour.
Some people are afraid of flying. They can empathize with the airline passengers who saw cabin attendants’ throats slit, then wondered why the planes were descending.
Most people are afraid of war. They can empathize with our troops, who are risking their lives to end the war successfully, rather than with the terrorists, who started the war in the first place.
Almost everyone is afraid of nerve gas, lethal viruses, and nuclear bombs. Almost everyone can empathize with our military and intelligence personnel who are trying, despite stubborn opposition, to prevent such attacks.
But some people are afraid of small American flags. They are uncomfortable if some others display a flag, but they don’t. So they want everyone to remove the flags to make them comfortable. They are narcissists. They have difficulty empathizing with anyone. They are ingrates. They self-importantly ignore the many blessings the flag brings, while they focus laser-like on its imperfections, real or imagined. Avoid such people. Those who sneer at their blessings will soon lose them.
This says it better than I could:

It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Father Denis E. O’Brien, USMC (attributed)

But Johnny Cash says it best:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbbGi3mTjCo

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