Thursday, July 6, 2006


From All bold type by yours truly. US 'flag epidemic' reaches peak on Fourth of July Jul 05 4:43 AM US/Eastern It's a true epidemic: the red, white and blue, stars-and-stripes banners are everywhere in the United States - on house facades, front lawns, cars and clothes.

An Epidemic? I thought that epidemics were bad things.
Hitting an high point on the July 4 US Independence Day holiday, it is a genuine phenomenon of American national pride that, inevitably, gets a good but also sometimes unwanted boost from commercial exploitation. So does Christmas. What's your point? "It's a little strange, this obsession of the flag," French author Bernard-Henri Levy wrote after traveling across the country. "Everywhere, in every form, flapping in the wind or on stickers, an epidemic of flags that has spread throughout the city," Levy wrote in "American Vertigo" of the riot of banners he saw.
What a surprise. A Frenchman who doesn't understand patriotism. *snicker*
"Old Glory," as the US flag is affectionately called, can be seen in abundance through the year in the American heartland and the South, and to a lesser extent in cities like New York and Los Angeles.
So is the author inferring that liberals aren't patriotic? Gasp!
Patriotic flag-waving strengthened in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and increased even more with the beginning of the war in Iraq as a testament of support for President George W. Bush.

Stop right there, jerk! That was NOT support for the President, it was support for AMERICA!
But the phenomenon hits its peak each year around the Fourth of July, when it becomes the focus of intense advertising and commercial promotions. At shopping malls, big and small national banners show up on jeans, baseball caps, dinner plates and swimsuits. The Stars and Stripes decorate everything -- from tattoos and fingernails to huge cakes. The flag also pops up on lawns and balconies, sometimes to the ire of local residents. In the Washington suburbs of Bethesda and Chevy Chase, real estate agencies stick plastic signs adorned with the flag next to people's front porches and stuff mailboxes with flag-adorned advertising materials.
It's not the flag that would bother me, it would be some guy putting stuff on my lawn without permission.
Such tactics have sparked controversy in Maplewood, a Bethesda neighborhood, where some 20,000 such flags have been distributed under the so-called "flag project" over the past 15 years. "They send fliers so people think how patriotic they are," Mary Rainey complained to AFP. "Our flag doesn't deserve that. It's extremely inappropriate. The flags are in the gutter, yesterday my car rode over one, so did the car behind me."
As I understand the story, it isn't a flag itself, but an image of the flag? I have one on this blog. Is that disrespectful? I don't think so.
"If they don't like it, put in the trash. We don't force anybody," retorted Jane Fairweather, a real estate agent who participates in the project. "It's only a good-will gesture... Just a celebration of America," she said. But like other residents of Maplewood, Rainey, who advertises her own patriotism on her home's facade "365 days out of 365 days" of the year, complains the flag is being left on properties in violation of rules. An official federal government code sets very specific rules on how the US flag should be handled. The national banner cannot be thrown on the ground, hung upside down, torn or allowed to become dirty. It must be illuminated in nighttime and, the code says, cannot be used as a prop for advertising activities.
Sure. Respect and proper handling of the flag itself is a good thing.
However, there is no sanction for violating these rules. The Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that freedom of expression guaranteed by the US constitution includes the right to burn the flag, an act frequently observed during protests against the Vietnam War. Last week, the US Senate barely rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that could have led to criminal penalties for desecrating of the flag. "I doubt very much that it is the end of the story," said William Galston, an analyst with the Brookings Institution. "Global public opinion surveys regularly put Americans at the top of the patriotism index," Galston told AFP. "The US flag is the visible symbol of that strong sentiment... Even our national anthem is about the flag."

That's right! Americans are patriotic. We are proud of who we are, and our flag symbolizes that pride! It is a bold banner, and everyone around the world recognizes it! It isn't an epidemic; those subside as quickly as they appear. Our flag is enduring; it has endured for 230 years, and God willing it will continue to do so!

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