My Flag Was Not Made In China
“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” – Samuel Johnson, 1775.
On the Fourth of July hanging in front of my house was a flag. It hangs there every day. It is red, white and blue. It has stars and stripes. When I look at it I am reminded of the greatness and history it represents. It is indicative of green grass, blue skies and coming together of peoples of all races and nationalities. It demonstrates many years of fair play, competition, the highest highs and the lowest lows.
The flag hanging in front of my house says “Boston Red Sox.”
My neighbors have American flags hanging in front of their houses, along with red, white and blue bunting, little statues of Uncle Sam and other gaudy representations of Americana. I even have one person in my neighborhood who has a tall flagpole with the Gadsden flag, made popular once again by the Tea Party movement. Below it hangs the Confederate flag, which if nothing else, is a symbol of a divided America.
I thought about perhaps going out and buying an American flag this Fourth of July, because I feel fortunate to live in a country where I have the freedom to choose what to hang in front of the house I can afford to buy because of the job I have, etc. Last year near the Fourth of July while running a few errands, my extremely observant and wise spouse observed “Look at all of those people celebrating the Fourth of July by going to a store full of underemployed people and buying a bunch of Red, White and Blue crap made in China.”
That has stuck with me. Shouldn’t there be a law that any representation of the flag at least be made in the United States? My Red Sox flag is made in America. That one flag is more representative of America to me than millions of dollars worth of Chinese merchandise at Wal-Mart (land of the indentured woman) or Target (land of the homophobe).
I also see a similarity between Patriotism and Christianity in that practitioners of each discipline can do so by two methods. 1) Spend all their time and money showing how Patriotic or Christian they are or 2) practice the actual discipline. Jesus Christ, whether viewed as a deity or charismatic Rabbi, taught a philosophy that focused on love, peace and compassion. He spent his time showing love and compassion to tax-collectors, whores and lepers, and in doing so, created better people. He led by example and his actions taught others how to live in a way best for everyone.
More recently, our founding fathers wrote a living document that relied on the individual to live compassionately and for him (or her) to make the best decisions for the country to prosper, not corporations. I think Jefferson, Adams, et al. would be disgusted with what our country has become. Our freedoms are not being taken away by a common enemy, but by corrupt individuals financed through giant corporations that’s sole purpose is to generate profit. These people invoke both the name of the God and America’s founders to argue petty issues that will help them get elected and do the will of their Corporate God. Since when do politician’s give stump speeches at the altar of a Christian Church? Is true faith that partisan, shallow and blind?
My wife and I work very hard for little pay to help others develop skills that can provide them a better life. Every day we both battle forces that are trying to diminish our organizations, and our roles therein, for the greater gain of profit. And they do so by invoking the name of Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln to an unsuspecting and uninformed population who is just seeking hope.
Both Patriotism and Christianity is more than flying a flag or wearing a pin on a lapel. It means taking care of the sick and people in need, keeping the planet clean, keeping our bodies healthy, keeping the peace through empathy and dialogue. Seeing what needs to be done for the good of community and taking the initiative to do it. Both mean sharing and sacrifice, not alienation and acquisition. Both mean love. Love of a Nation and an Ideal and Love of a Creator and His Creations.
My Red Sox flag was still flying proudly this morning, although the Sox lost last night. There is always tomorrow, and that’s the hope a flag should bring – a better tomorrow than today through teamwork dedication and compassion.