I was returning from my daily run to Dunkin' Donuts this morning, with two donuts in my stomach and another two in the bag next to me, when I pulled up behind a car sporting a bumper sticker I found most interesting. Here is what it said, "If you are offended by my American flag call 1-800-Leave-The- USA." Let's think about what the driver was telling me for a while today.
What does the Amerikan flag symbolize? Have you ever wondered about that question? I am quite familiar with the super-patriotic assertion that the flag of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika is a religious icon that must be venerated at all costs. I grew up learning to fold the flag properly and never caused it to be desecrated by allowing it to touch the ground. I flew it above all other flags and destroyed it properly when it wore out. I never permitted it to be rained on and it never had to suffer the indignity of flying during the night without a light on it. I have a pretty good idea what the SDA flag is but I suspect that when most people talk about the flag of the SDA they have a very different idea of what it represents than I do.
I wish the SDA flag represented the forests of Colorado that I love to walk through. I wish the flag of the SDA represented the hundreds of high mountain peaks I have been honored to have climbed over the years. I wish the SDA flag represented the many friends and neighbors who have endeared themselves to me in the various places I have lived for almost six decades. I wish the SDA flag represented my church, and the entire Christian Church in this land. I wish the SDA flag represented all of the amazing places I have visited within the confines of the geo-political area known as the United States. I wish the SDA flag represented all of the amazing people I have met in all of those aforementioned amazing places. I wish for a lot of things in my life but these wishes for the SDA flag have never come true, nor will they ever come true.
If we are honest with ourselves I believe we are forced to admit that the primary entity represented by the flag of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika is the Amerikan Empire, the greatest, deadliest, most powerful and most dominant empire the world has ever seen. As an important subset of the representation of the empire, the flag also represents the military and government officials who maintain and promulgate the empire around the globe. I do not believe I need to argue for this point. If I were to inquire of every person who posts a bumper sticker of the sort I saw today what he means by the flag I am quite sure that the answer would revolve directly around the Amerikan empire and its significance in the world. Statements such as, "Amerika is the greatest country in the world" and "Amerika is unparalleled in its freedom" and "Amerika defends the weak around the world" would all come from the patriotic mouths of patriotic citizens of the empire.
I am not going to prove that statements about the moral superiority of the post-Christian Amerika we live in are insanely stupid here today. On the other hand, I wholeheartedly agree that the Amerikan empire is the greatest empire the world has seen. Upon that point I am in full agreement with the bumper sticker crowd that so proudly declares their allegiance to Caesar. My problem is not the historical fact and present reality that the Amerikan empire is dominant in the world. My problem is that Amerika is an empire at all, and a disgustingly immoral and murderous one to boot. Yes, I am offended by the flag because I know what it represents. The flag represents the jack-boots of the SDA military on the throats of innocent citizens of sovereign nations around the world that dare to oppose SDA career politicians and the military-industrial complex of the empire. The flag represents the murder of millions of innocent people and the destruction of billions of dollars of personal property, all simply because we wanted to kill and steal and there was no one around strong enough to stop us. The flag is properly hated in many quarters of the world and it should be hated by truly patriotic citizens of this land who despise the empire and the damage it does to ourselves and others. The SDA military has killed more than 20 million citizens of 37 sovereign nations around the world since the end of WWII alone. Our rulers would have us believe they all deserved death because all 20 million of them were evil and bent upon our destruction. Do you really believe that?
All of this brings me back to the fellow who would toss me out of my country because I do not agree with him about the empire. Since when is support of the empire a necessary condition of citizenship in this immoral land? What right does he have to forcibly remove me from my home simply because we have a dramatic difference of opinion? As a citizen of the empire who opposes empire building I have apparently lost my right to free speech. Not only that, if the bumper sticker man has his way, I would be thrown out of my own country. Why should I be forced to leave? Why should he not be thrown out because of his support for empire building? I realize that his opinion is shared by the vast majority of the sheep who populate this land and I also recognize that in the SDA the majority always wins and the minority always loses. As it stands today I can still live here, provided I keep my mouth shut and my eyes downcast, but I guess it is possible that someday the majority might make a law that will force me to expatriate if I do not support the empire. Trust me, if and when that happens I will be happy to leave.