Inspection- The Patriot with an Upside Down Flag for a Backward Country

Marks teenage son got threats at high school.One of the larger hicks in town confronted him and said, Hey, I dont like your flag. Thats pretty fucked up. And a group quickly surrounded him, but fortunately a teacher broke it up, Mark says. A while later, when his son was walking down the sidewalk, another student pulled his truck onto the sidewalk and, according to Mark, said, One of these days were going to burn your house down.

Every one knows the story of the Hitler youth. Challenge the Nazis and it went from bricks thrown through your window and escalated from there. I was reminded of that when four youths jumped out of their truck a few years ago; across from our anti-electronic vote scam protest, and started jeering, pounding baseball bats into their open hands and increasingly acted more and more threatening. The leader of our small group; Bernie Ellis, went over and spoke with them and… after a while… they jumped into their truck and drove off.

Bernie said they thought we were protesting the conflict over in Iraq. Members of the group proclaimed that that proved that just talking with such “gentle” souls was all that’s ever needed.

I wished, at the time, that I could have joined this feel good bravado but, frankly, I think it more likely they were too stupid to understand the nuances of electronic voting, and that it… amazingly… almost always favors their candidates. If they had figured out that, and understood that the same people who enjoy manipulating elections often are working for candidates they support… there probably would have been more than a few bloody heads.

Besides, aren’t we missing the point? If we were protesting our policy in Iraq, what the hell gives them the right to harass… maybe even beat to death… those who don’t agree with them? Isn’t it pretty obvious that, by their very actions and behavior, that such people don’t believe in free speech, or the very country they claim to love so much?

Just like those threatening Mark Karol-Chik and his family. If he wants to fly his flag upside down: it’s his flag. But those who do such things are the real “haters of freedom.” Some claim it’s because they “fought for the flag.” If so, then they should have bought a flag, “planted” it in their room, locked the door and then used whatever weapons they may have to keep anyone from damaging their flag. Don’t ever come out again: you’re an embarrassment to those who actually fought for our country not a symbol made from cloth… or even plastic. Oh, and I would also recommend you buy a plastic flag: because it’s the perfect match to the quality of your type of “patriotism.”

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a flag burning on TV. I’ve never seen it in person. It’s a silly concept: as if burning a symbol actually means much of anything. But I feel the same way about that senseless act of protest as I do the somewhat more meaningful hanging of the flag upside down. I also feel the same way about both of those acts as I do those who present the Confederate flag.

What other country allows these kinds of protests: especially presenting a flag that once was considered the flag of the enemy… a failed rebellion. In other countries; some even considered somewhat free, anyone who would do such a thing would go to jail.

All I can say to all three acts is…

“God bless America.”

As of late I don’t feel that way very much. It wouldn’t matter if it was someone threatening those proudly presenting the Confederate flag, or who hung the regular flag upside down, or who burn it. As Americans we pride ourselves in how free we are: especially compared with supposedly less enlightened, more “backwards,” nations.

Tolerate behavior like this then there is a choice: legitimize our own Hitler youth’s actions, or ignore it as in: “be intentionally ignorant.”

Either way, as a nation, we’re heading the wrong way…

…backwards.

-30-Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over thirty years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

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