Saturday, July 1, 2006

Burning Issue

Earlier this week, there was a vote in the U.S. Senate on a 'flag burning' amendment to the Constitution. In a nutshell, anybody who intends to dishonor the flag would commit an unlawful act -- currently considered to be covered under the freedom of speech. The issue has raised a tremendous amount of debate.

I've always been puzzled by the Americans' love and hate relationhsip with their flag. After all, it's just a piece of cloth with a pretty logo, right? Que nenni!

While promoting his book American Vertigo, French author Bernard-Henri Lévy argued that America is an 'abstract nation', without common roots, blood or culture like say European countries. The binding factor is the Constitution, not race or origin. Hence a nationalism that rallies behind an 'overinflated' flag. [He also argued that's what makes America better equipped to deal with immigration and integration -- another burning issue, particularly in Europe.]

What baffles me is seeing the homeless, discarded vets and other left behind -- of which there's plenty in L.A. -- wandering around with meagre belongings that almost always include a flag. Same for Katrina victims. Why? You would think that they'd resent the country for what it's done to them -- and some can get into the most insane rants about it. Yet, they will hold on to their flag. I don't get it.

Mick Farren discusses America's 'Peddling Patriotism' in a recent article for CiyBeat: "National pride [and the flag] is a marketing tool for 'America!' the catalog [article]"
photo LA Frog

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