Our flag salutes free speech
There is so much bombast recently vilifying people who protest inequities of one kind or another which happen in the shadow of our flag. When injustices are sanctioned by principalities and powers, or simply ignored by those in authority, the flag sometimes becomes the focus of the protest … especially when the principals in charge have wrapped themselves in the flag and belligerently refused to listen. It is not our honored dead who lie under the flags at Arlington that protestors are challenging, it is the arrogant abusers of power in the gated fortresses under the flags at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue. And who among us doesn’t honestly understand that?
I never wore the uniform. I registered for the draft, but they stopped calling numbers before they got to mine. I surely appreciate and respect our service men and women, and I don’t pretend to speak for them. I certainly did not earn the empathy to speak for those who died. But I wonder, did any of them die for the flag? I know they died under the flag ... with the flag ... showing allegiance to the flag. But I’ve always assumed it was their neighbors around the flag that they gave their lives to protect.
Christ didn’t die for the Jewish flag ... nor the Christian flag ... nor for any symbol ... not even the cross. He died for humanity. When we castigate those who protest injustices in the world and put more value on symbols than people, we devalue humanity.
It is certainly your right to disagree with people who are protesting. But loving symbols more than people is offensive ... not to me ... none of my business who you love or hate. I sincerely believe, however, that loving symbols more than children of God, no matter how disagreeable you may consider them, is offensive to God.
We have not become so polarized, so divisive, so angry by chance. Our brokenness is by design … carefully, skillfully, methodically brought about by those who benefit from our divides; not those in uniform, not those on the assembly line, but those you and I never see; those whose only interest in the flag is how it can be used to bolster their enormous wealth and power.
Our flag is never more desecrated than when it is used by aspiring plutocrats to usurp the republic for which it stands.