Monday, June 14, 2010

Flag Day

Those of you who are my friends on Facebook will have to forgive me for duplicating some thoughts you've already seen on my page there.

The first one is this absolutely wonderful Prickly City cartoon that ran yesterday...

And the second is this grand quote from Adlai Stevenson...

"Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime."

Today is Flag Day ... not a major holiday here in the United States, but one that brings some patriotic color to our cities and neighborhoods as people unfurl the Stars and Stripes. To some, this once-a-year display is evidence of patriotism, sort of like the person who self-identifies as a Christian because he goes to church at Easter and Christmas.

Adlai Stevenson, whatever you may think of his politics (he was a Democrat, after all) called it right with his short comment on the meaning of patriotism.

Patriotism doesn't mean going to political rallies and denouncing people who don't agree with you.

It doesn't mean supporting those who willfully break the law (yes, defenders of illegal immigration, I'm talking to you).

It doesn't mean deciding not to vote because your vote doesn't mean anything.

It doesn't mean letting narrow special interests set the political agenda on issues that affect us all (health care, the economy, and environmental protection, to name a few).

It means supporting the Constitution as a whole, not just the parts you care about (there is more to the Constitution than the Second Amendment, not that the NRA knows about it).

And it means doing your civic duty as a well-informed good neighbor: voting, obeying the law, working to change the law when necessary, and - above all - supporting the American ideas that make people who live in paradises like Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Somalia desperately want to come here.

Today is Flag Day. Don't wrap yourself in the the ideals it represents.

You could be living in Iran, after all.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


P.S. - a bonus (possibly apocryphal) quote from Adlai Stevenson: During one of his presidential campaigns, a supporter is said to have told him that he was sure to get the vote of every thinking man in the the country, to which Stevenson is said to have replied, "Thank you, but I need a majority to win."

I could have voted for a man like that.



Mike said...

I'll modify a couple of quotes just to celebrate to day.

'Standing in a church makes you a Christian like sitting on a flag pole makes you a flag.'

The only problem with that is if somebody decided to pop some grommets in you and run you up the pole you might actually be considered a flag. A flagging flag but still a flag.

Wv: stabaz - Telling your dog Baz not to move.

Bandit said...

Well stated, Bilbo. Love the P.S.