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American flag

July 21, 2009

I have a United States’ flag decal on the back window of my truck.  A friend of mine noticed it and inquired about it.  I got a little defensive about the inquiry and gave a snippety reply, “Well I’m American, aren’t I?”

But I do have real reasons for placing the decal on my truck.  I am glad to be a U.S. citizen and I am proud of many aspects of our country.  There are few other countries in the world where I could speak my mind and live my life in the way I choose to, especially given that I am a woman.  There are also few other countries in the world where I could trust the police force to protect me and the judicial system to stick to a fairly consistent and clearly defined concept of justice, and where the national constitution doesn’t change annually at the whims of the majority party.

That being said, I recognize that the judicial system doesn’t instill as much confidence among minority populations, whose affairs are treated with less care than those of whites.  I am also appalled at the incarceration rate in our country and the paltry investment in education and health care – but at the same time, comparatively, the United States affords much greater opportunity in these arenas than other countries, excepting Europe and Canada.  And while our historical treatment of American Indians is disgraceful, the federal government now pumps millions of dollars of grant opportunities to tribes to help them improve their reservations and strengthen their culture.

I am also proud of our national park system and how well we’ve preserved many of our natural treasures.  I am proud of our farming and ranching heritage, of our work ethic, of the strength of volunteerism in our country.  Although I have quite a problem with the massive accumulation of wealth, many of the most wealthy Americans worked their asses off to achieve their status, whereas in a lot of countries, especially in the third world, wealthy people pretty much just sit on their asses and expect the world to be handed to them. 

We have a lot to improve upon, for sure, but for someone who’s traveled as much as I have and seen the massive, intractable problems that pervade the global south, it seems the United State of America has its shit pretty well together.  And I don’t buy the argument that the global south wouldn’t be messed up if the USA didn’t go sticking its nose where it didn’t belong – perhaps it wouldn’t be as messed up, but so many of those countries are ruled by lazy, corrupt, strong-armed assholes that they’d be f*ed up either way.  I do hope the United States can figure out how to involve itself more benignly in the affairs of such countries and to be a more just global police force, but I think it’s unfair to blame the United States for problems that have existed outside its borders for centuries longer than the USA has even existed.  Europe is much more to blame for the problems of the global south, having been the first to colonize pretty much the entire world outside its continent.

So there you have it.  A handful of legitimate reasons why I have an American flag on my truck.  I might just have a little redneck in me, too


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One Comment
  1. You didn’t mention our immigration policies. What are your thoughts on those?

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