Friday, December 16
I'm sure enough has been said, the last time around, about this purple-finger business. I woke up to it this morning, switched on the teevee news just long enough to switch it off again. Caught a pic of an ink-stained Joe Biden this evening. I think it was his finger; maybe he was holding up someone else's.
When did we become the nation of cheap grandstanding tricks? When are we going to learn that "reality", at least that portion of it that hurts when your toe rebounds off the rock, is impervious to cheerleading? I lived through the flag decal bit in the early 70s. At that time I think I was probably more insulted by the cheap and degrading appropriation of what should be a revered symbol than I was by its being hijacked by a particular political point of view. It never really went away, and I was completely inured to the fashion craze that followed 9/11.
Actually, let me restate that. I fully understood, even sympathized with, all the flag-waving that went on then, even though I felt strongly that we were headed for a big mistake partly on account of the stirring up of cheap nationalism at the expense of rational thought. In truth the thing I really find objectionable is the mistreatment of the flag, which is not intended as a car decoration, is supposed to be lit at night if it's not taken down, and displayed at half-mast when ordered by the President or a governor (and not, as happened here a couple years back, a mayor, let alone the elementary school down the block that lowered the flag because a staffer died). That means a black ribbon on the staff if the flag is immobile. If you don't treat the thing with respect it amounts to nothing more than hanging your balls out in public. Worse, really.
Why do NFL referees have a flag patch on their uniforms? So we're sure we're not watching Canadian football? There's a 30 x 50 footer flying day and (unlighted) night over my grocery store. On those rare occasions I'm feeling a mite crabby in the presence of some "patriot" in an Old Glory tee-shirt I nudge my wife and say, loud enough for him to hear, "Look, honey. American! You got chocolate bar, Joe?"
Somehow I get the feeling that if that huge cache of WMDs we haven't found yet accidentally went off tonite, taking all of Mesopotamia with it, the great majority of purple-stained fingers in this country would find themselves attached to people who didn't give a shit about vaporized Iraqis.
They've voted. That's great. Everyone should. But we've heard it twice before and we've listened to the echo die out while reality returned. We're going to wind up with a government we don't like, but one which we will continue to die for, until we're gone and they can set about settling old scores in earnest. But that's okay, the ink will have worn off long before then.