Flagged: Children on July 4th

3 thoughts on “Flagged: Children on July 4th”

  1. Interesting. Yes, the holiday serves to link the holiday most closely with freedom. Indeed, this theme repeats often elsewhere and, to the passerby randomly, sometimes implicitly, as in signage declaring “Land of the free because of the brave. Thank a veteran,” or “Freedom is not free,” the latter being linked to warfare through imagery or the “Thank a veteran” statement.
    One cannot argue that at times, especially at the nation’s outset, we had to confront tyranny, but the simplified message becomes a simplistic picture, with critical details about our history and the world’s painted over with broad strokes of red, white, and blue.
    That the military was turned upon the First Nations, to subjugate them, annihilate them, exile them from their land and contain them in large prisons; that the nascent country buried its cognitive dissonance about slavery under a mound of hypocritical statements about compromise; and that we sacrificing the liberties of those in other countries for the sake of American companies’ profits — or plentiful oil to get us to work and to play — these facts are subsumed by the greater need (one is tempted to ask “Whose?”) to prepare children for violence and justify it in the minds of adults.
    (Yes, I lean toward functionalism.)
    Not that I believe the world would be a peaceful place without the US military. Applying the principle of psychic unity, and looking back over human history and current events, any rational person would conclude that our geopolitical and moral health fall fit the definition offered by Oscar Wilde, as “having the same diseases as one’s neighbors.” And we all suffer from the disease of war.
    The traditions and rituals — dazzling and powerful, steeped in pomp and punctuated by explosions — serve to vaccinate us against looking too deeply at what we may be asked to do in the name of freedom. And again one ought to ask, “Whose?”

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