Monday, July 07, 2003

The Flag

I used to have mixed feelings about the American Flag. I don’t any more.

I used to be upset because the flag didn’t stand for the country any more. Various political parties and groups were claiming it as their own. Instead of representing a wonderfully diverse and beautiful nation, people were trying to make it represent what THEY believed.

Conservatives made it stand for kicking terrorist’s butts and military might.

Extremists made it stand for hatred in the name of “racial purity”

Liberals made us want to feel ashamed of it, suppressing the majority culture in the name of elevating minorities, instead of elevating ALL cultures.

Well, I’m taking it back!

When I fly my flag on the various holidays, I’ve decided that I no longer care how other people might interpret that. I’m not going to let that get in the way of my patriotism.

To me it stands for:

1—A chance for anyone from anywhere to take charge of his or her life and make a difference. That by shedding the label of “victim” one can rise above and become successful. THAT’s freedom.

2—A place where I can worship God how I want to, and I can allow anyone else the same privilege.

3—A place where I have a voice in the government, as long as I make the effort to make that voice heard. Apathy was never intended to be an excuse for bad government.

4—A place where you can have a voice in the government, even if your voice clashes with mine. We can BOTH make our voices heard.

5—A place where the government changes hands every 4-8 years, not in bloody revolution, but in a peaceful, constitutional transfer.

6—That in spite of all of the flaws in our world, our government, and our system, I’d still rather live here than anywhere else.

THAT’s what patriotism is to me.

THAT’s what my flag means to me.

Mark Hansen

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