Friday, July 04, 2008

The People's flag

I haven't flown the flag since George Bush invaded Iraq and it's been my intention not to do so while he and his jackals were in Washington; but lying half awake and half asleep this morning I half decided that on this, George Bush's last Independence Day as president, I might relent. It's not because of some degenerative disease or no-bid contract persuading me to like him -- or an epiphany of any kind. I had been thinking of Ivan Denisovich. The protagonist of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's novel who having been sent to a Siberian work camp in his shirtsleeves and given the job of building a brick wall in subzero temperatures, decided to throw himself into the task as an act of patriotism, but a patriotism meant to be a slap in the government's face; a salute to the country itself rather than to it's rulers. Powerless to oppose, by treating his sentence as an opportunity to build his country, he could, at least in this mind, rise above the injustice.

Of course that's a pretty grandiose excuse for putting up a flag on the 4th of July and I risk being scolded for hypocrisy, but that's what I'm telling myself today. Why should I allow this villain to alienate me from my country? No, I'm not going to pledge, swear or solemnly affirm that the united States of America is a country under God - anybody's God -- because it isn't and I am willing to fight to keep it from being made so. The flag hanging from my mast is my flag and it stands for the country I was born in and that country isn't George's or God's or Jesus' or Zeus'. It's different from the flag that flies over Guantanamo or over the Capitol or the Pentagon. It doesn't fly to signify allegiance to Bush or to his wars or to his assault on the constitution. It flies as it so often has, in defiance of power.

If I fly it again next independence day, I hope it will be in a nation independent of Halliburton, war profiteers, corporate fascists and the radical right.

6 comments:

Libby Spencer said...

Brilliant post Fogg. I linked it into mine, since you didn't cross post it to our place.

expatbrian said...

Yes, nice post. Your last statement probably won't come true and just being rid of Bush won't rid the country of the perpetual vermin who seem to control its politics, but I do agree, its a great country and one way or the other it will survive despite their greed and their crimes.
Happy 4th Cap'n.

Capt. Fogg said...

I just hope it survives as a place I can once again be proud of.

d.K. said...

I fly it to, for the reasons (or rationale) you lay out in your post from today (above, regarding the lapel pin). I refuse to surrender it to those (like Bush Inc.) who claim it as theirs and only theirs (and not mine).

Capt. Fogg said...

Some countries have had two flags -- a national flag and a battle flag. Maybe we should do the same so that one can distinguish between supporting the country and supporting war hysteria.

d.K. said...

Hmmm.
A very interesting idea... win/win...