I rather like the flag. I don't feel embarrassed or self conscious at my pleasure at the sight of Old Glory. I don't like to see it mistreated or damaged. I don't like to see it disrespected. The flag symbolizes something very important to me and to all of us. It doesn't symbolize concepts like freedom or democracy. It certainly doesn't symbolize a political agenda. It's not a symbol of any ideological abstraction. The flag is you. The flag is my tribe. No matter who you are or where you are, if you are a citizen of the United States, I'm on your side.
Have a happy Independence Day.
All sorts of brutality have been justified by the delusional idea of tribalism. The flag is a lie, like homeopathic medicine and phone psychics.
You have to dehumanize someone to brutalize them. We frequently use ideologies to dehumanize people. We try to make them fit our conception of what we think they should be or how they should fit with our point of view.
There is a big difference between a tribe and tribalism. A tribe is a group of people who share common objectives and responsibilities. Tribalism is an ideology. If a symbol of unity, like a flag, is used to represent a concept instead people it becomes a straightjacket. The flag is you, not my concept of you.
they can ever spend? Why do some seniors have to chose between medicine, food, utilities, etc., while others spend thousands on parties? Why do we spy on each other? What are our common objectives? The poor in the US has more in common with the poor in other first-world countries while the same is for the elites, yet we're split up from each other by arbitrary borders. If the flag is me, then why isn't it also the poor in Great Britain or France?
People are only human. The flag doesn't make us fair or honest or virtuous. It makes us us.
I would like for us all to be citizens of the world. It's a nice thought. Do you see that actually happening any time soon? Or ever?
Our common objective is to form a more perfect union.
The flag is you to me. In reality you're some dude in Montana, but that flag is a symbol that binds us together into an association that miraculously stretches beyond anything most of humanity could have ever imagined. I read somewhere that people can only really have about a hundred and fifty or so actual personal relationships. Somehow, with some prosaic writing and a bit of colored cloth you have a relationship with over three hundred million people. It is that bit of red, white and blue cloth that symbolizes our relationship.
Yes. I call it the entire history of humanity. Countries are not real things, but the planet is a real thing. Countries only exist in our imaginations. They're rhetorical constructs.
I think the union would have to exist before it could be perfected.
That's cool. Of course we can all apply any meaning we want to any symbol.
How is my relationship with Johnny Depp different than my relationship with Michael Crane? I have never met either of them. I have enjoyed art both have helped to create. What's the difference? In my view, different flags, same relationship,
Sure, but that relationship doesn't really exist.
If you were born in this country, as was I, it got handed to you when you popped out of your mommy's tummy. I'm guessing I'm older than you and I'm ineligible for military service unless shit gets seriously real but I am obligated to die for you if it comes to that. And the obverse is true: you may have to die for me. The responsibilities of citizenship are not imaginary. Death and taxes are very real. There are also definite advantages of membership in a tribe. You could renounce your citizenship, but I wouldn't advise it without a plan B.
Persons intending to renounce U.S. citizenship should be aware that, unless they already possess a foreign nationality, they may be rendered stateless and, thus, lack the protection of any government.
There is currently a resident of the Russian airport who is scratching his head over that chestnut as we speak.
While we certainly share DNA with every other human on the planet, we do not share the same culture or history. You mentioned Micheal Cane, but have you ever listened to Chinese opera? That shit makes country music sound pretty good. Think of all the various flags of all the various countries and try to avoid being reminded of the national character of each.
I think the entire history of humanity is more of an abstraction than the various nationalities that exist today. We all know that DNA exists, but can you see it? I mean, with the naked eye on your kitchen table see it? But you can see United States Treasury written in English on the currency in your pocket. You can see the food and shelter it gets you.
"Of course we can all apply any meaning we want to any symbol. "
You're exactly right there. A symbol is whatever we make of it. But you need to start early and beat the rush. We've spent over two hundred years making our current symbol, changing it would be a challenge. I don't think discarding it is even possible.
However, if everyone stopped believing in the US, then where would it be?
Laws are created by language, and they can only be destroyed through language, or though the annihilation of those who believe the laws exists. This is how we know countries are only rhetorical constructs. They're beliefs.
How could they do that if they weren't real?
The beliefs that create laws and customs can indeed cause the destruction of those with conflicting beliefs. And destroying those people is destroying the unique DNA of those who embrace them.
However, that doesn't make the thing believed in real. For example, many suicide bombers believe they will go to a heavenly paradise and be given virgins for their violent behavior. Paradise and virgins are probably not awaiting them after death, but their belief strongly motivates their behavior.
I can imagine all kinds of stuff and my brain activity would probably show up on an fMRI machine. But I don't have one of those handy right now. I don't have the equipment to examine my own DNA either. The existence of those things, in the context of our everyday experience, requires belief in systems and people far separated from our own experience. When it comes to eating every day and sleeping indoors, the abstract construct of a country or a split atom are just as imaginary and fundamental to our existence.
Particle physics, microbiology, international finance and national unity are all abstract ideas that have an impact on my life even though I have no sensory awareness of their existence. I can only actually perceive the symbols for them. From E=mc2 to $, abstract concepts serve my purposes without necessarily having to directly impact my senses. We get into trouble when we disregard the actual impact those things symbolize have on the lives of real people. The same holds true with symbols of national unity and the abstractions that support them.
History is littered with crimes against humanity because we put ideology ahead of people, and yet after all that bloodshed the symbols of national unity show no sign of losing popularity. Quite the opposite. Evidence would indicate that that meme has evolutionary utility. Paleolithic hunters didn't draw on cave walls because they just weren't tired enough from chasing mastodons with a pointed stick all day, and every country on this planet doesn't have a flag as a symbol of national unity for nothing.
"The great thing about science is that it's true regardless of our beliefs." (paraphrase)
So I am going to say "real" is something that is true regardless of our beliefs.
Yes, a flag is just a bit of colored cloth. And the constitution is just a bit of paper. They both symbolize something very important: We the people.
far, far from home... and feel lonely, all they need do is look up on their ship or base..and see that flag, and know there is a place they call home where people love them and support them.
Back home we used to joke, "That's my favorite axe! It's had two heads and five handles on it."
I'm a little surprised the issue of flag burning hasn't come up yet. I'm not opposed to it. The flag is just a symbol after all, and burning a flag is a lot better than burning people. If you need to say something important, burning the flag might just be the best way to convey that message. I think I'd be more worried about people not caring if a flag was burned than about those who would.
...because of what was done with it by Bush and his hobgoblins. July 4th means it gets shoved in our faces again. Was not liking it.
Then I read your OP. And all I can say is thank you for restoring a little bit of how I used to feel about the flag.
Sincerely. THANK YOU.
Oh, and Happy Independence Day.
People wear it and desecrate it daily in this country. It's a symbol and one that's mostly about crap.
I'm glad to an American but I'm definitely more inclined to think of myself as a world citizen. This country has some great potential, but being a military Super power is one of the sad things it is.