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I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, One Nation under God, indivisible with Liberty and Justice for all.

IMG_1520I’m troubled tonight and sleep eludes me. Some might say it a silly thing to lose sleep over. But this Flag/Anthem thing is really weighing heavy on my heart.

I’m from that flag waving, hand over heart & standing for the anthem, patriotic American stock. My grandparents instilled a love for the Red, White & Blue from an early age. I’ve collected her, cherished her, hoisted her reverently up the flag pole in the morning and taken her down carefully at night. I’ve stopped to tell business owners that their tattered flag should be properly retired, and I know how to do so. I’ve folded her and held her folded shape and cried tears on her. And none of these things have I done simply for the cloth, a material woven of red, white and blue, but for what she stands for. For the good men in my family that fought for her and what she means. The very freedoms and foundations that we as Americans take for granted.

So obviously take for granted.

So many people put up a good show, but when the rubber meets the road they only care when it suits them. Like when my Grandfather passed away and no one, could be bothered to give him his due military rights because he had the misfortune to pass away right before Christmas. So my brother and sister and I took it upon ourselves to honor him with the Flag Folding Ceremony. To present his colors to my Mother, his surviving daughter. Why? Because it was important to us. He nearly died in that European theater, the very least he deserved was being acknowledged at his passing. No patriots willing to step up that day except us.

It isn’t about the flag. It isn’t even about the significance of the colors, innocence and valor and all that jazz. It is about the foundations of our Freedoms, the Bill of Rights and our Constitution. That is what the flag is a symbol of. That is what makes those colors so meaningful. Without these freedoms that we all take for granted the flag means absolutely nothing.

The first amendment to the Bill of Rights speaks of our rights to worship freely and equally important to speak freely (in regards to speaking against our government and/or leaders) and without this fundamental freedom we can have none of the others. If a person is denied the right to believe how they see fit and practice that faith as they see fit then what is the purpose of freedom? (This includes all belief systems from Atheism to Zen Buddhist and everything in between.) And if one cannot speak out against their government then one cannot be truly free. Isn’t this the entire basis of our existence in the first place? Freedom from the tyranny of the King of England. His taxation without representation and his demanded obedience and allegiance and religious intolerance. Aren’t those the fetters that we threw off at our Declaration of Independence and then again during the war of 1812?

When I see all these emotional propaganda posts about how not standing for the National Anthem or color presentation is so Un-American or how it is disrespectful to our military I think my head might just explode.
Do people not see the irony here?
Do they really believe that forcing allegiance upon an individual is “the American way”?
Do they really believe that good men and women, serving their country and those who died doing so did it for a simple piece of fabric?
No one is pointing out the fact that a sitting president has demanded free speech be infringed and people utilizing their First Amendment rights be penalized and lose their jobs because of his decree?
No one speaks up, they just buy into the propaganda. The Americans that say they care the most about the Flag are the ones that cry out the loudest about a peaceful, respectful demonstration against injustice (last time I checked, kneeling was a sign of respect). These are the same Americans demanding that another American lose their First Amendment Right because they disagree.

Either you believe in what the Flag represents, Liberty and Justice for all  or you don’t. If you don’t, then please stop waving that flag in my face because you are making her a pariah, she’ll mean nothing at all except coercion and forced allegiance. She’ll stand for silence and intolerance, bigotry and racism.

But perhaps she already does.


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