Flags are flying today. I like that. I believe the United States is a glorious experiment that has not yet failed, though I worry it may. Not all of my neighbors agree. One fellow is flying his flag upside down as a sign that the country is in grave trouble.
Section 8a of the United States Flag Code states, "The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property."
We are in danger, but not yet in extreme danger. Our democracy still functions, albeit with Congressional votes going to the highest corporate bidder. A majority of Americans elected President Obama in a fair democratic election in 2008, and a majority will either re-elect or reject him in 2012. This, alone, demands that the flag should be flown right side up.
I suspect my neighbor doesn’t agree. If an election doesn’t go his way, he feels he has lost his country, and may march with placards reading, “We want our country back.” Losing an election is not the same as losing your country. Indeed, holding elections where one party or another can lose is what democracy is all about. What these supposedly freedom loving people want is a single party country like Communist China. How ironic.
But I may be naïve. Is there any real difference between Republicans and Democratics? Aren’t they both in the pockets of their respective corporate overlords? Isn’t this what the Bank Bailout and the BP disaster show us? Isn’t this what the rehiring of Xe (Blackwater) mercs means? Private companies and private armies have far more power than I do, even with my vaunted freedoms and democratic vote. So maybe my neighbor is right. Maybe the experiment has failed. Maybe I am just too slow to see it.