Friday, September 30, 2005

Old Glory

Some random musings I was pondering while commuting today.

I saw the American flag hanging in the rear window of a semi with no trailer attached and I was listening to loud Steppenwolf at the time. And I thought of the classic scene in "Easy Rider" when Captain America's bike pulls into the shot, Steppenwolf blaring, the stars and stripes gleaming on his perfect chopper.

Now, I find it interesting how the American flag has changed from a symbol of rebellion and rugged resistance to the status quo into the kind of thing people use as a crochetting motif and a defensive symbol like those aggravating yellow car magnet ribbony things. It's gone from being something that symbolizes a nation supposedly based on radical ideas of liberty and justice to a sort of exemplification of the forceful calls for undying "support" on the Right. From Captain America to David Brooks' assinine ideas about who is and isn't a "Real American."

How sad, really. My post-9/11 mind sees Captain America and can't help but think of how the flag has been perverted by the right as a tool of grandiose exclusion rather than a proud statement of what America was once supposed to be about. Just like the ideals that it was supposed to stand for- Freedom, Justice, Democracy, etc.- it has been twisted to stand for war, injustice, greed . . .

And now this.

Admittedly, the descriptions of what is going on in this footage and these photos makes me most ashamed to be human. But also ashamed to be associated with the country (and the flag of the country) that would use rape of women and children as a systematic tactic of war in a country we are supposed to be liberating.

There is such a heartbreaking irony in the fact that those of us who want to see all of this end are being told that we are somehow less American than those who want to continue it in all of our names.

2 comments:

  1. The English St George's cross flag (not the British Union Jack) went through a simmilar phase where it became a symbol of the vile nationalistic right ... so much so that it was banned from official buildings.

    Thankfully the phase has passed.

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  2. I'm really not looking forward to those horrifying pictures from Abu Ghraib. My only hope is that they cause Americans to make a serious, honest effort to look at our country and finally see what has gone drastically wrong with it.

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