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Alright Already
     I would like to briefly applaud whoever it is that is taking a stand against patriotism-gone-insane.   For many of us, the mindless post-9/11 flag-waving has simply gotten out of hand.  Now,  I have nothing against a tasteful display of patriotism, here and there.   But this wrapping of ourselves and everything else we own in Old Glory has become vulgar and downright embarrassing.    In these times of mass jingoistic hysteria it is important that we as a people do not lose our ability to think critically, in favor of feel-good patriotic uniformity.   
     To all of you who have been taken by an urge to do something for your country, I suggest, turning off the TV, putting down the beer and the plastic flag and actually doing something.   A little community redecorating is as good a place as any to start.    Now,  I don't know the individuals responsible for stealing Mr. Makely's flags, but I sure wish I did.   Clearly these are gutsy and creative individuals, whom I would feel priviliged to count as friends.    However, not everyone shares my admiration.   Roy Burrows, wrote to this newspaper last week calling the pranksters "lowdown" and "anti-American".    Those are harsh words,  which he certainly has a right to employ,  but before throwing them out so casually, perhaps  Mr. Burrows should brush up on his American history.  Wasn't he ever taught about the Boston tea party?  Using direct action to make political statements, is about as American as Mom and apple pie.             
     Since the attacks last fall, Old Glory has managed to occupy an extraordinary amount of space in the Times-Journal letters section.   I recall one woman who wrote a letter complaining that she didn't see enough flags as she drove up and down neighborhood streets.   Now, I have a job and a life, so I haven't been able to actually count the number of flags flying in my neighborhood, so I'm no expert, but it seems to me that between peoples cars, homes, and businesses, there are enough flags out there.  And when I say enough, I mean enough.  
     I understand that people are angry about what happened, and thats perfectly appropriate.  I myself,  am still shocked and disgusted by what took place.    But that doesn't mean that we should all curl up with a flag and suck our thumbs. We should be re-examining Americas role in the world, and holding our government to a higher standard of morality with regards to the way it treats people in developing nations.   We should examine the link between terrorism and the indignation bred directly by our devestating foreign policies.   
     To all of you wrapping yourselves and everything else you own in Old Glory, I say, if you want to do something for your country.   Try turning off the TV, putting down the beer and the plastic flag, and actually doing something.     How about asking questions about the manner in which the Bush administration is conducting the so-called war on terrorism.   Why not get involved with the community and try to help people?  

I must admit, I'm not as concerned about missing flags outside of Alton Makely's real estate agency, as I am about  the missing voices of dissent in our national discourse, or the missing pieces of the U.S. Bill of Rights, since the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, or the thousands of Arab-Americans unlawfully detained for no other reason then their national origin.   

As for Alton Makely's 200 dollars reward offering.  Nice try but no sale.  Clearly these are people with integrity, who would not sell themselves out for a lousy 200 dollars.  

  Corporate America, never to be bound by shame or decency, wasted no time in converting the rubble of 9/11 into gold.   Slapping a flag on their little widgets and imploring Americans to BUY BUY BUY, or else the terrorists have won.   Then they went to Washington to ask for more corporate welfare, so we can show the world how

Then I actually saw Old Glory Diapers, which I found very tempting.  If you think about it long enough, the implications are quite rich.   But I'll let you come to your own conclusions on that, I'm sure your fully capapable of seeing what I saw.  

 And they said America would never be the same again.  

But then again, isn't that kind of business savvy what America is all about?

Meanwhile the corporate press rubber stamps the presidents agenda, and disconnects the dots for us.  

 I just want to say to everyone that is wrapping themselves and everything else they own in Old Glory, that if you want to do something for your country, try turning off the TV, putting down the beer and the plastic flag, and actually do something.   

 I am less concerned with the missing flags and more concerned with the lack of dissenting opinions in our present national discourse.  I'm much more concerned with the various portions of the US Bill of Rights that were stolen by the USA Patriot Act.