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Memorial Day

2002-05-27 23:07:23+00 by Dan Lyke 16 comments

I'm not much of a flag waver, but in the "woohoo, first three day weekend of summer!" attitudes I think we've lost a sense of reflection that would do us all good: Take a moment to think about the causes you'd consider dying or killing for. Even if you're a die-hard pacifist who believes that killing, even to save your own life, is wrong, there are probably things you're willing to die for. Give a moment's reflection to those who believed strongly enough in the way of life that you're living right now to lay down their lives for it. Life has a human cost, let's be conscious of it.

[ related topics: Politics Dan's Life ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-05-28 01:38:49+00 by: meuon [edit history]

"dying or killing for": I was asked a few weeks why I had a rifle and pistol collection, and why I stored a little ammo and some other 'gear', and why I flew a large flag on the front of the Virtual Building (Before Sept 11th 2001). I told them I hope that it never gets used for its intended purpose: the last stand of an armed populace. They looked at me like some kind of nut. In a way, I am. I grew up as a military brat, and went in myself. I was a medic/electronics tech. Big deal... the older I get, the more 'socially responsible' my socially responsible anarchist tendencies get and the more all of this means. I hope to never die for what I believe in or want to protect, but I'm willing to kill to protect it. It's why what goes on in daily society and politics is frustrating, there is no single person or entity, or even an occupation force to use those tools against. Yet slowly and surely, the freedoms, rights and priveledges I am willing to die and kill for erode. At what point do we shout: "Enough!" and fight what is essentially ourselves. As a society, we must evolve, stagnate, die or revolt. We need more socially responsible people working within the system, to change it's course gradually and peacefully.

I like this version: I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

It seems to be unpopular in many circles, but if you can't pledge allegiance to this country, and you are not visiting, leave.

#Comment made: 2002-05-28 02:44:28+00 by: Pete

Wailing about the erosion of freedoms you won't extend to others doesn't impress me.

#Comment made: 2002-05-28 03:41:33+00 by: topspin

Pete, your assumption that meuon "won't extend" freedoms to others is simply unfounded. You're quite clueless about what he might offer others, aren't you?

If you're extrapolating viewpoints on meuon because of his nationality, that would seem quite foolish. If you're not, an explanation of what you're trying to insinuate might be helpful. Obtuse comments don't impress me.

#Comment made: 2002-05-28 04:16:21+00 by: Pete

It's there in his comment. Anyone unwilling to swear allegiance to a piece of cloth is to be denied the rights meuon enjoys.

That's the sentiment of a person that's failed to grasp the concept of rights that inform the founding documents of America, that thinks rights are earned. Wrong. The government of the United States recognizes that rights are innate in a person's humanity, only to be stripped away from a person when that person has demonstrated a danger to the rights of others.

There's something worth dying for.

#Comment made: 2002-05-28 04:37:07+00 by: topspin

I read meuon's comment to say: "if you can't pledge allegiance to this country..... leave."

He doesn't say we should throw anyone out, does he? He doesn't suggest the denial of anyone's rights, does he? He suggests that anyone who can't swear allegiance to this country should leave.

Your leap to "anyone unwilling to swear allegiance to a piece of cloth is to be denied the rights meuon enjoys" [emphasis mine] simply isn't what he said, is it?

#Comment made: 2002-05-28 05:14:00+00 by: Pete

One) the pledge is explicitly to a flag
Two) meuon is clearly expressing a wish to exclude from the nation anyone unwilling to pledge allegiance to the flag

Meuon is expressing that he(?) senses the nation abandonning it's principles. The remedy for that is not allegiance to the symbols employed by the current order, but allegiance to those principles he seeks to preserve.

If the flag should ever become the banner of a nation that has abandonned its principles, allegiance to the flag would be meaningless. Not so allegiance to principles. Stay focused on what matters and value principle above ritual.

And the conflict between mandating the pledge and actual rights shouldn't be news.

#Comment made: 2002-05-28 06:27:06+00 by: topspin

Pete, arguing semantics to dig yourself out of a bad argument is for attornies, English professors, and my buddy from chia, tom. I wish you could meet tom. [Giggle. It was the only pic I could find on short notice..... darkfiber.com appears to be down.] You and he would weather well together.

#Comment made: 2002-05-28 12:02:19+00 by: Pete

I like how you go from your second comment to complaining that I am the one arguing semantics in your very next comment.

That does impress me.

#Comment made: 2002-05-28 14:21:56+00 by: anser

The Pledge has always been about double allegiance - to cloth and country - since its first creation in 1892 by Edward Bellamy's Christian Socialist cousin Francis. It originally said
I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands: one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.
Over the years, in response to various scares and lobbying efforts, it has been hammered into its present form. Along the way it has met with some roadblocks, including a court challenge by Jehovah's Witnesses whose religious beliefs allow them no oath except to their Creator. In the majority opinion upholding these students' right to abstain, Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson wrote:
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.

#Comment made: 2002-05-28 16:07:31+00 by: Mars Saxman

I can't think of any principle or abstract entity I would be willing to die for. Life is real; ideas are imaginary, and so is the afterlife.

Violent opposition to (attempted) violent coercion makes sense to me, though, and I can understand taking an increased risk of death as part of an act of resistance to aggression and respect those who might be willing to do so.


#Comment made: 2002-05-29 01:38:52+00 by: meuon [edit history]

Pete, the Flag is only an abstract symbol, I do not idolize it or read into it what is not there. It is a symbol of States, and the people that are in them, united as a 'Republic' for several common reasons. Life, liberty.. etc.. including your right to publically disagree with me. I would not pledge allegience directly to just a flag, it is but a battered and blood soaked bit of cloth. I do pledge allegience to the country for which it stands.

Indirectly, I end up pledging my allegiance, and my life the the very ideals that you (Pete) say I won't extend to others. Those include a wide array of freedoms that I am sure you enjoy. More indirectly, I pledge allegiance to people also willing to pledge allegience for similiar goals and this could include you. Why should I care about people not willing to defend, fight for, and work towards the same very broad goals that we believe in?

#Comment made: 2002-05-29 05:34:28+00 by: Shawn

It seems to be unpopular in many circles, but if you can't pledge allegiance to this country, and you are not visiting, leave.

I have no problem with the Pledge (except that, now that I know the history, I'd like it restored to the original text - thanks meuon ;-) and I've generally felt the arguments about it are silly. But I do chaffe at the attitude implicit in statements like this. I don't feel the "love it or leave it/my [our] way or the highway" mentality is an appropriate stance for any situation/ideology.

#Comment made: 2002-05-29 06:59:19+00 by: topspin

Shawn, there's thankfully LOTS of wiggle room between my way and the highway, but the focus of Memorial Day is upon those who received orders... orders... dangerous orders and they tried to carry them out without looking around for wiggle room and died doing it.

You and I have space between our way and the highway because some folks pledged their allegiance with blood. We are damn lucky if all that's ever required of us is words.

#Comment made: 2002-05-29 07:05:17+00 by: topspin [edit history]

#Comment made: 2002-05-29 09:49:13+00 by: meuon [edit history]

"My way or the highway..." not quite that harsh, but close. I love this country, and have spent 4 years of my childhood, and 2 years of my adult life (so far) outside this country. Still, there are things that I dislike, and that I put some effort into fixing/changing what I can. I have become very socio-politically active. I even vote! (sarcasm..). A great thing about this country is that if you support it, you can become a part of it. Besides just paying taxes...

#Comment made: 2002-05-29 23:46:03+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

I don't "love" this country - any more than I can say I "love" my family. I respect it, and the people that it is composed of. I've spent my time in its service (military intelligence) - with the the full understanding that I may be called upon to kill or die for it. I am also somewhat of a socio-political activist and I try to do my part to make things better. But I really, really, really, REALLY get irritated when somebody tells me that I "have to" or "should" love this country, or looks down on me - or tells me to leave - 'cause I don't.

This country is messed up. It's worth saving and it's worth being part of. But it is far from perfect and, quite frankly, not yet worthy of my unconditional love.