by Andy Weddington
Thursday, 01 December 2016
That our flag was still there. - from Star-Spangled Banner
"Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences, perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!"
So tweeted Mr. Trump earlier this week.
Privileged to be part of a morning detail, on occasion, to raise our flag before elementary school classmates; a Cub, Webelo, and Boy Scout; son of a veteran; and a Marine for approaching four full decades, nothing angers me like bearing witness to disrespect towards and desecration of our flag.
It burns me.
A flag, outside, graces the front of our home.
Original flag paintings decorate walls in our home.
Some recent large flag paintings are taped to walls.
On jackets I wear a flag lapel pin.
Coats, shirts, and ball caps I wear frequently are adorned with semblances of our flag.
The flag means something to me. I swore to defend and protect that for which it stands. That duty endures.
What is it?
Can true freedom have limits?
Must freedom have restraints - to ensure order and to safeguard, as much as possible, innocents?
What is it?
It is a tantrum.
No matter how hurtful, it is "words" not "sticks and stones."
A tantrum by one (or many) who lacks the intellectual wherewithal to understand they burn that which affords them the freedom to so do.
Instead of burning the flag they should embrace it.
If determined to make a statement of discontent then, on a staff, plant the flag before them.
Then, moving a safe distance away as to respect our flag, ignite self (selves).
It is the logical act akin to a child holding their breath.
Go ahead, malcontents, show your countrymen how serious, determined, and brave you are truly.
Dear President-elect Trump,
Sir, there's no need to revoke citizenship nor imprison the flag burners.
Our Supreme Court has addressed the matter and their decision sensible, logical.
Instead, address the root of the problem.
Core to K-12, introduce children and youth to our flag; Pledge of Allegiance; Constitution; history of America; civics; government; veterans; and responsibilities of citizenship.
Most, if not all, of these "concepts" are missing in many of today's young. Such is evident when American college students are incapable of discourse about their country's founding, principles thereof, etc., and salute a brutal dictator like Fidel Castro as a positive force on his country (Cuba) and the world.
Sad. Bewildering. Sickening. Those but the first thoughts coming to mind.
What a pity.
Therefore, establish age appropriate curriculum that includes some sort of participatory requirement - during grade, middle, and high school.
Exposure, a positive experience, and reinforcement is how to establish and modify desired behavior.
Demonstrated competency, before graduating high school, knowing country is reasonable.
Will that preempt all flag burners?
So don't hold your breath. Nor tweet first emotions - which, frankly, is not so much Presidential.
Smart as in out thinking not out powering dimwits.
For so long as we remain the land of the free (even flag burners) and the home of the brave (our best) our star-spangled banner will wave.
Standing by ...
"'Make America Great Again,' Sir!"
acrylic on canvas approx 47 x 45 in.