Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Flags on the Play

Earlier today I saw a post displaying the confederate flag with the caption "if this flag offends you, you need a history lesson." Not wanting to jump the gun, I inquired as to what the history lesson was. This link was shared which explains how "the civil war wasn't about slavery", how "the confederate flag wasn't flown on slave ships" etc. I cannot vouch for the veracity of the information but regardless, when I finished reading over the statements on the page I thought "and this proves?"

See regardless of what the flag may have represented to some in the past and what it still may represent to some now, to most of the world, it is a symbol of something negative and repressive. Many people are going to cry "I'm not racist and you're trying to take away part of my heritage". I have a question - is your need to identify with a culture more important than your concern for the social problems America is embroiled in? This isn't arguing over something like who has the best tap water - a bloody war was fought and that flag, regardless of what your interpretations of the events is, the majority of people find it hateful.

Pride makes us want to brag about the group we feel most connected to but pride at it's root is a superiority complex derived from feeling inferior. This kind of mentality causes division and sparks the same kind of need for an identity from the people you are putting down compounding the issue. No one wants to feel less than others so what do a lot of people do when they are insecure? Overcompensate. Does where I grew up make a difference on who I am? Definitely, however, I'm no better than anyone else and I feel it would be arrogant to go around bragging "American by birth, (state I grew up in) by the grace of god." What kind of message does that send except "I'm better than everyone who isn't like me". Nowhere is perfect but one of the first steps to becoming more evolved as a society is to quit separating ourselves through holding on to pride.

When I was first trying to figure out who I was as a 20 something, many people called me "Irish" because of my hair and last name. The truth is for a while I encouraged it because everyone thinks the Irish are badass and great drinkers. Mostly though, I wanted a new identity as I tried to figure out life 3000 miles away from what I had grown up with. As I've started to appreciate who I am as an individual, I've started just going by my name (which is another story in itself). I'm only a quarter Irish at best with a good bit of Italian and Polish thrown in the mix as well so bragging on Irish heritage is kind of absurd. I hate the term "citizen of the world" because it just sounds smarmy to me but I like the idea behind it. Like those who serve the faceless god, I am just a man and it does not matter where I have come from unless I choose to make it matter.

Do you really need to belong to something so desperately that it trumps how it makes a large portion of your country feel? I'm grateful that I have many freedoms and luxuries being born in America but to be prideful about something I had no control over is ignorant at best. A lot of us need to drop a flag of some kind and just be people if we want to heal.


Things have power because we give it to them - money would be a great example. Much of our reality, if not all, is a placebo effect. Regardless of what good things something like a confederate flag may mean to you, it means hate to most people that see it. Those ideas are what they have seen perpetrated in conjunction with it. 

When you argue over something like this you are more or less saying "this idea I hold onto is more important than your hurt". Do you really care more about a flag than someone who is genuinely hurt coming from generations of abuse? Telling someone who has been abused "I'm sorry but you just need an education" doesn't work. If every person in a police uniform treated you poorly, you would distrust the uniform because it is a symbol of something bad. Why do we make a lot of bad guys in movies nazis or communists? Because those symbols carry with them an ideal that is widely known and reviled. You don't have to explain anything about them. 

Most symbols are not original but derived from something else that was previously innocuous. Someone could be pointing out that the swastika used to mean something about puppies before Hitler took it over. Definitions of words change transitioning over time. The slang word Nimrod comes from Buggs Bunny always calling Elmer Fudd a "nimrod". People took this to mean "idiot, dumbass etc" because that's what Elmer is. Nimrod however, was the name of a "mighty hunter" in the bible. Buggs is just using the word sarcastically but because no one knew the context, the word derived a new meaning which is unlikely to change for a while if ever. 

If we don't start putting acknowledging and treating our countries problems over our own personal desires, then it very well may be an American flag in movies of the future - a symbol of a people who cared more about being right (because it wouldn't admit when it was wrong) that it collapsed under the sheer weight of its own selfish appetite. What a bunch of Nimrods.

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