When I was sixteen my precalculus teacher asked me why didn’t I just go to Afghanistan if I didn’t like it in America. Obviously I didn’t like it in America if I didn’t want to say the pledge of allegiance.
Then I wrote an opinion column for the school newspaper on why, which I won’t go into in detail because it’s not especially interesting or even original. In response he said that I was too young to have an opinion. This being the memory of a rather angry and politicized sixteen year old girl, I’m sure that’s not exactly what he said. What he said was probably that I thought what I thought because I was young and didn’t know any better.
Which may yet not be what he said, he might just have said that I got older my outlook would change. Which is true, but not relevant. It’s true that I wouldn’t write exactly that column today. It was unfocused. I said a lot of things around the point but never really got to the point that he was giving me a hard time over an empty display of patriotism, and, therefore, it was a nonsequitur to say that because I wouldn’t recite the pledge of allegiance, I should go to Afghanistan. Now that I know introductory logic, I could fight him on this issue.
Today I wouldn’t write that column, I would write about how I don’t think that legislation on flag desecration sponsored by a man who would accept millions of dollars in bribes, and therefore has but a tenous grasp on the concept of ethics, should pass (nor can I articulate how annoying I find it that such an individual would propose to legislate the ethics of others). I’m glad enough people agreed with me.
If you haven’t seen Lewis Black’s latest special, I highly recommend it, and he does this bit on a performance he did for political types where he was told not to use bad language. The punchline goes something like “These are our first line of defence against the terrorist threat but the word shit makes them cry.”
So I’ve seen movies, I know how people are trained in the military. You’re telling me that soldiers can do hundreds of pushups and crawl through muddy minefields in the dark with bullets going right over their heads, but the sight of an American flag on fire makes them cry?
You know what makes me cry?
It’s the sequined visor. Sequins make me cry.