Why Burn A Flag When It Means Nothing To Me?

I am not sure that I have ever been particularly patriotic — I never saw the point. And flags? I am supposed to die protecting some arbitrary symbol I am gathered under by accident of birth.

People who burn flags are basically saying I will burn this symbol that I and others have invested significance in, and instead of damaging that symbol they in many cases reinforce it, because they, like the people defending it, make it something powerful that means something.

Symbols like this often seem repositories for memories and feelings that should not be held onto. That someone can wave a flag in someone’s general direction and cause upset is disturbing — that burning one can incite a war is ridiculous.

Of course, I understand that when you wear a team shirt or wave a flag, it really does signify a lot more than even just the national associations that attach to it; that there are deep and far-reaching personal histories that barnacle onto flags, but I have a problem with it as being an archaic thing that I feel on more than one level we should have moved away from.

We all have to live on this planet together, and pushing any country towards the brink of a nuclear war seems ill-advised. How do you defang these little tinpot dictators and monsters? Remove the incentivized nature of the game of war from the picture — get people to see we are one big group and that the race doesn’t need to persistently kill each other, and might not all these plans to conquer the stars come to fruition sooner?

A bit Utopian, right? Unrealistic? Why? Look how much energy it takes to heat each other and build weapons of war, and then compare it to how much is won by using technology and energy to help people instead, and it seems like something of a no-brainer.

Flags — go find the Eddie Izzard sketch about them — they’re ridiculous. If you ever find any kind of spirituality that frees you from the idea you are just a part of the physical universe and nothing more, shouldn’t that instill you with the notion that all those parochialism is absurd? Run the flag down the pole and use that material for something useful, like making a jacket perhaps.

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