"Which leads to my confounding ambivalence on the subject of patriotism. I do “love my country” and feel an appropriate level of “loyalty” (more on this later), which is all the dictionary definition of “patriotism” requires. In that manner patriotism feels to me relatively innocuous (much like feminism is defined as the [currently culturally innocuous] belief in equality of the sexes).
But still, I am not comfortable with the connotations I attach to the word patriotism: nationalism, jigoism, racism, elitism, bellicism. I feel uncomfortable identifing myself as patriotic because in my mind it feels like I’m skirting the dirty edge of self-righteousness and violence. Am I wrong? I very well could be. Truthfully, I’m not at all sure.
I’ve even considered taking down the (old and huge and beautiful) US flag that hangs on the wall in my garage (despite the fact that patriotism is all the rage in the intermountain west) because I don’t want people getting the wrong idea about my beliefs . Just last week a neighbor complimented me on it and I had to suppress the urge to clarify that I was certainly not making any kinda pro-war pro-Bush conservative (shiver) kinda statement. That isn’t what the flag is suppose to say, is it?
When I look at that flag, I worry that I am."
The post is an essential read - and so are the comments. Read them all; this is a uniquely relevent and thought-provoking thread - a thread that leads me to the whole "flag burning amendment" nonsense.
This amendment makes sense only if you venerate the flag itself, in place of the things it stands for. In MY sense of the place of things, if there is any question that the things it represents cease to be, it is time to reverently burn the flag, in protest and as a statement that something beautiful has passed away, unnoted.
And I think, really, that is what those who wish to make "desecrating" the flag illegal are those who, at root, wish to have it as false packaging for a vision of this nation that has nothing to do with the ideals it is supposed to represent.
Oh, and just incidentally, the Flag Code states that burning is in fact the only proper way to dispose of a flag. I learned that as a Cub Scout.