Flags and patriotism

I am not a fan of flags.
National flags, that is. Especially in peacetime… There are too many of them fluttering around, and their symbolic value has become inversely proportional to their quantity. Flags are like diamonds…Valuable when spare, cheap when plentiful. De Beers has known this for a long time and always tried to restrict its flow.

The same goes for the national anthem. In America, it is squandered everywhere… Do we need to hear it at every football game, any sporting event, or any bar-mitzvah? I say no. It should only be used for solemn occasions, and sparingly… otherwise it becomes common and trite.

 Personally, I don’t care to see national flags or any religious symbol on anybody’s lapel, particularly politicians. It does not prove anything.

“The less a statesman amounts to, the more he loves the flag.” ~ Kin Hubbard

 An intelligent man never proclaims that he is smart, he just proves it. If you want to demonstrate that you are patriotic, do not make flamboyant speeches. If you feel that the country is in danger, do as the Ukrainians did. Grab a rifle and quietly go to the front… without any fanfare. Patriotic speeches are for those who won’t or who can’t.

Flags waving does not really serve any purpose, but to annoy or antagonize your adversaries. Similarly, only an idiot would wave a flag in front of a 2000 pounds bull. It is not more important to stand for nationalism than for what is right.

“Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong.” ~ James Bryce

 Patriotism is only laudable in times of adversity. It is when democracy is threatened that flag-waving is permissible. In Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky did just that, and with aplomb. Like many politicians, he could have run when Russia struck, but he did not do so. “I Don’t Need A Ride, I Need More Ammunition” he famously said.

This man and only people like him are entitled to wave national flags; the rest are probably charlatans and attention-seeking wannabes.

Alain

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