It was George Bernard Shaw who first offered a snarky but frighteningly accurate definition of patriotism as “fundamentally a conviction that a particular country is the best in the world because you were born in it.” Ouch.
Maybe because I’m kinda thin-skinned on the subject it’s so easy to draw blood but that does sting a bit, especially when I’m forced to concede he’s probably right.
I wondered what George would make of the kerfuffle that the University of California at Irvine found itself in, up to at least its butt, over the course of the last week as to what to do/not to do with the American flag.
By George (M), It’s a Grand Old Flag, though your mileage may vary. I served eight years in the Air Force protecting, among other things, freedom of speech, though I often had precious little of it myself, so I squirm in physical discomfort when we shout one another down pretending to debate freedom of speech.
Actually, I’m mindful of all those in my life who died wearing a military uniform so that we can have unending discussions about how many pinheads can dance on an angel (golly that doesn’t look right at all) and I very often feel we owe them better than what we do with the freedoms they defended to the fullest measure.
In my time on this orb, the hardest moments for me in defending the theoretical values of freedom of speech when practically applied in the real world have always been when the speech I’m defending is hateful and hurtful.
And I placed those descriptives in alphabetical order since they are sadly otherwise interchangeable with little to no loss of intent or meaning.-bill kenny