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Flag Held Hostage… Circa 2003

This commentary was written in 2003, but has continued relevance that makes it a must-read for Independence Day.

After viewing President Bush’s recent speech to the ultra-conservative American Enterprise Institute, one realizes that life can imitate film. In Barry Levinson’s 1997 satire, Wag the Dog, we laugh at how the ‘powers that be’ can manufacture a crisis to mask domestic problems, carrying a nation right into a war. In Norman Jewson’s chilling 1975 film, Rollerball, we view a corporate-controlled state destroying the individual, and what once was history, to suit their agenda. Finally, in Harold Becker’s 1996 film City Hall, the mayor of NYC, played by Al Pacino, gives the most rousing speech this writer has ever heard. Pacino’s Mayor Pappas, attending the church service for a young black boy killed innocently during a ‘cop and robbers’ shootout, bellows to the congregation: “This city should be a palace where a society melds together in safety and harmony.”

The Bush gang succeeded in stripping me of My Flag, or, at the very least, forced me into hiding it. I no longer display it in my windows, my lawn, my car, or on my lapel. Through the ‘go along- get along’ corporate-controlled media, they have made it ‘their flag,’ representing a different America than the one I have come to love and cherish. To paraphrase Mayor Pappas, they have taken over our palace. Recently, that wonderful ‘no spin’ Bill O’Reilly stated categorically on his show that once this war begins, he would not tolerate any dissent. We either ‘go along’ or become traitors. That is the mindset of the new Orwellian America we now live in.

MY FLAG did not wave from the frigates and the aircraft that have bombed away innocent lives these many decades since we fought our only ‘just war ‘ in 1941. MY FLAG did not wave from American-owned offshore factories that exploited and still exploit cheap labor pools throughout the underdeveloped world. My once so proud and secure neighbors are now ‘downsized’ into part-time salesclerks wearing foolish high school nameplates. MY FLAG will not be there on troop transports taking America’s finest low- and middle-income youth to destroy some country (and its own finest youth) in the name of some mega-mergered oil conglomerate! Finally, it is not MY FLAG that incites the ever-increasing populations throughout the world. All that hype and spin about our flag symbolizing freedom and democracy is just that. MY FLAG represents noble axioms- ‘their flag,’ the confederate one used to justify this dangerous war industry, represents nothing but ‘profits over people’!

Before condemning me for my principles, those of you out there who wave and wear the flag of false propaganda and lies, pause for a few minutes. Take five. Go to the library, the’public’ library that the right wing wishes to privatize. Watch some of the myriad WWII documentaries. Check out Germany in the 30s and early 40s. Look at the ‘sea of flags’ all over the place. Check out the powerful rantings and ravings of their paperhanger leader. See how the masses Zig Heiled with such hypnotic obedience to their Fatherland (Homeland?) and their flag.

Whoever wrote that history repeats itself was a genius.

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