Eddie Izzard has a wonderful monologue from his "Dressed to Kill" DVD on the conquest of the world with "The clever use of flags". He claims that historically invaders planted flags and pronounced invaded land conquered. When the inhabitants of the land objected stating "We live here" the invaders would say, "Do you have a flag? Then it doesn't count."
Here is the reason that routine comes to mind. Along with some incredible memories I bought back from Ireland, I also returned with a head cold. This has kept me in bed for the day with only the television as a distraction from nose blowing. After several weeks with limited (by choice) access to American news I was carpet bombed with never ending coverage about a flag. There seems to be nothing else of concern to any journalist on any station but the fate of this antiquated furling piece of fabric atop a South Carolina State Government building.
I get it. I understand the connection this flag has to racism, oppression and recently mass murder in a church. But it seems to me that it has taken on a mythology unto itself. "If we just take down that flag then racism will go away in America." As if covering up a fatal wound with a bandage keeps the patient from bleeding to death.
Oh, but America is responding to this "flag crisis" with Walmart refusing to sell the emblem followed closely by Ebay, Sears and Amazon. And although NASCAR will not out right ban the flag at it's events it will (and this is a quote) "Discourage the use of the flag." And the American public has responded by purchasing up all the Confederate flags they can still get, surging the demand to a 3894% increase over average sales.
And if it really is as important as to be the front page of every newspaper in the country today, why doesn't South Carolina just not fly the flag today? That's right, just don't hoist it up the flag pole TODAY. Unfortunately the best the demonstrations in Charleston could do is get the state congress to agree to discuss the matter later this summer. Then the measure has to pass by a two thirds majority of the locals when the national news has moved on to some other over reaction.
I am sure that the governor of the state, who has come out in favor of removing the flag, has the ability to order state flags at "half mast" in honor of the funerals of the 9 people beginning this week. The Confederate flag isn't even their state flag so why can't she just order that flag to be flown not just at half mast but "no mast".
As it is now the body of South Carolina congressman/Reverend Clementa Pickney, will lie in state at the capital building while atop the building flies the very flag waved by his murderer. Thanks Walmart but, the only Confederate Battle Flag that matters for the next week is the one on the South Carolina Capitol.
It is a start to sanitize the public from symbols of bigotry and racism, but that is only the symbol of the issue. Where was the public outrage a few weeks ago when President Obama launched a Twitter feed and with in minutes there were more than a quarter of a million replies using the word "nigger". The only outrage was later when he himself used the word in an interview. Once again we obsess on the minutia of the problem. President Obama, used the word to make the very point that Americans are avoiding. It is not so important that we just refrain from racism in public, we have to eliminate racism at the core of our being.
Back to the brilliance of Eddie Izzard, since we have a flag now that we all agree symbolizes racism and hatred... why don't we have a flag that represents tolerance and acceptance. The idea drilled into us every July 4th is that the American Flag is such a symbol. I wish it was so, but flying a flag outside your locked door where your assault rifle is loaded and ready in case "those people" try to come around is not the answer. In that case it is a empty piece of cloth signifying nothing of substance.
As you were,