Re: [sixties-l] Vietnam memorial and flags

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (
Date: Thu Jun 29 2000 - 00:01:01 CUT

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    Do Americans love their country more than the Italians love Italy, more
    than the French love France, more than the Germans love Germany, more
    than the Mexicans love Mexico, etc.? I don't think there is any evidence
    of this, yet when it comes to the flag, millions of Americans are
    unique in their desire to wrap themselves in it. When traveling in
    countries whose histories and traditions are far older than ours, and
    the awareness of their citizens of those histories is far greater than
    what you find in the US, the flying of flags is reserved for government
    buildings. Period. What this suggests to me is on one hand, a certain
    insecurity among Americans about their national identity and on the
    other, a belief that this country and "American way of life" is better
    than any other. This is a prescription for a bad ending.

    It occured to me today, listening to a discussion on the superiority of
    proportional represenation, such as we find in Europe, over our
    basically undemocratic, unrepresentative winner-take-all system, that
    had we proportional representation, which I personally favor, in this
    country, that there is a great likelihood of a fascist, right-wing party
    gaining power than a party of the left.

    Jeff Blankfort
     Carrol Cox wrote:
    > Concerning the flag. I think a good way to view the debate is to
    > consider what the U.S looks like from inside, and what it looks
    > like from the viewpoint of the rest of the world. From *inside*,
    > the U.S. (at least for most of its population) is rather better than
    > was Hitler's Germany for the mass of the Germans. But from
    > the *outside* the U.S. today is a far greater menace to the very
    > survival of the human species than Hitler had ever been. Now the
    > Germans didn't have the freedom to oppose what their flag
    > stood for -- we do. So those of us who *know* what the U.S.
    > flag represents -- genocide and horror -- have an obligation to
    > make that knowledge known. So we should not in any way
    > honor that (in the words of e.e. cummings's Olaf) flag.
    > But somehow I think we have to do it with launching moral
    > attacks on that majority of our fellow citizens who don't (yet)
    > agree with us. So while I am quite opposed to Joe Mcdonald's
    > position that we should somehow honor that flag, I think in
    > figuring out how to disohonor it we have to take into account
    > the everyday response to it of our fellow citizens.

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