It's Distracting!

It's Distracting!

Well, life has certainly lived up to the title of “Distractions”.  These last few days and weeks have been nothing if not distracting. The controversy over peaceful protest and respect for the flag/national anthem/country has reached cacophonous levels of insult, derision, name calling and vitriol. I’m not going to weigh in on the matter directly. I can see the reasons for the protest: racism in general, the shooting of unarmed African-American men in particular and the need for true and honest dialog in our country. I can also see reasons for the counter-protests: perceived disrespect of the country and its symbols, fear of honest dialog about racism and a desire that all Americans are Americans first.

So, let me just say this: I have a deep respect for the flag of these United States of America and those who have served in the Armed Forces. I have ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War against King George and his Red Coats. Three of my great-grandfathers served in the Union Army during the “Civil War” in order that slavery might finally be dismantled. My father served in the Pacific Theater for four years in order to preserve this country’s freedoms including the right to peaceful protest and counter-protest. In addition, nine of my uncles served in WW II and two more in the Korean Conflict. So when I hear people disparage those who choose to speak out, not about hatred, but about injustice and prejudice, about equality and peace, well, it saddens me and even angers me.

Where is the outrage about disrespecting the flag when it’s tied around someone’s head or silk screened in pieces on a halter top, or embroidered on their back pocket where they can conveniently sit on it? Where is the outrage when the folks in line to get another beer and hot dog at Slugger Field or Papa John’s Stadium don’t even turn around and remove their hats as the National Anthem is being played? Do they stand up at home when it’s played on TV? Where is the outrage when groups of white supremacists march down streets carrying Nazi flags and saluting Hitler-style? While there is no code of conduct concerning the National Anthem, there is a code of conduct for the Flag of the United States. United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Section 176, Paragraphs:

(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

(b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.

(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.

(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.

(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

Well, now that that’s off my chest, I can get back to the issues of racism, the state of health care, “fiddling” with Medicare that I hear is coming and other issues bigger than taking a knee.

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