My husband emailed me a link to a video entitled “The Greatest Play in Baseball History” which is a retrospective on an attempted flag burning at a baseball stadium on April 25, 1976. It interviews everyone who is still alive who was there. I did not watch more than a minute of it.
It disgusted me – as though the guy who snatched the flag is somehow superior to the guys who were trying to set it on fire.
I told DH I thought the players and announcers were false patriots; they care more about the symbolism of a piece of material than they do about the welfare of their citizens and the fate of their country.
DH countered that the flag is sacred. I replied that it’s not more sacred than the people it represents. I do not condone such an act, but I recognize the frustration and disillusionment, and the reflection of lack of respect toward the torchers such an act represents.
I tend to think those who have the courage to burn the flag as a form of protest can be more patriotic than those who protect the flag and the status quo it represents. Not always, perhaps, but enough of the time.
Americans have trouble with attachment. Attachment to objects – like their quads and their boats, and always having the newest TV or sound system. Attachment to status – witness the mass following of the “real housewives” series (es) on TV (as though those women actually clean a toilet…). Attachment to ideas – such as what consititutes patriotism and ‘family values’. I have my own issues with attachment but things for things’ sake just don’t even make the list. My issues with attachment deal more with safety and security, issues that are at the base of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and are core issues that every Buddhist grapples with on a regular basis as well, I would guess. I’m not Buddhist, but there is much I admire in the religion, and much I’ve learned from it.
What is patriotism? Is it protecting a piece of fabric and the ideas it represents, or is it protecting the right of someone to protest in a way which you disagree?