Saturday, May 2, 2015

Different Worlds

On a gun group I follow on Facebook, there was recently a post that started, "With all the talk lately about flag burning..." and I was like, "All WHAT talk about flag burning? I haven't heard a word. All the news I've been hearing is about a riot and an earthquake and a volcano and who's running for President, and how Republicans are trying to turn the whole country into a "Christian" theocracy, and 101 stories about how cops suck...unless they're Swedish."

And then I saw my brother share something from FOX (because he does that sort of thing) about how there's allegedly a flag desecration "challenge" going viral like the ice bucket challenge, where people take video of themselves stepping on American flags.

And if you look at the reaction, conservatives are homicidal over this. They are literally saying they're willing to be imprisoned or killed in order to commit acts of violence against the people using flags to express their frustrations. I look at this reaction and the intensity of it, and I'm thinking, "Wow, you know, life must be pretty sweet if the biggest thing you've got to worry about is whether people are hurting the feelings of a piece of cloth that's mass-produced in Korea."

Remember, the people getting this worked up about disrespect to a symbol of the United States government are the same people who bitch endlessly about the United States government, hate the President, don't want to pay taxes, want to secede from the Union, point rifles at federal agents, and form militias in hopes of someday violently overthrowing the government. Setting aside these glaring inconsistencies for a moment, I'd like to focus on the mental health of people getting this worked up over the well-being of an inanimate object.

If some antiquity were being abused--such as when the Taliban destroyed 1700-year-old Buddha statues in Bamiyan--I can understand people being upset over that. It's not that the statues themselves are gods--though people may be upset about violence toward the ideas those statues represent--the real tragedy of it is that those were pieces of history, tangible connections to the ancient past, now lost forever.

But these flags? Again, I understand how people could be upset about the violent rejection of ideas they believe that flag to represent (though I maintain that the people getting upset about it are actually some of the fiercest opponents of most of those ideas), but the difference between these flags and the statues of Bamiyan is that the flags are totally replaceable. They're cheap commodities, trade goods manufactured by the hundreds of thousands, with something like 94% of them coming from China. They're practically disposable. You might as well worship a paper towel. If a flag gets burned, you can just go buy another one. It's silly to cry about it, and downright psychotic to get so emotional about it that you're willing to harm other human beings and sacrifice your own freedom and safety in the process.

Given that so much that's wrong in American politics is being driven by people gripped by this lunacy, I've devised a plan for weeding them out. Have you heard of "dammit dolls?" It's not the name of a punk band. They're little rag dolls that violent people beat when they're angry. Since violence is the only way these people know to express their frustrations, they channel their aggressions into these inanimate dolls rather than risk getting in trouble by attacking a human or other living thing. So here's my plan. We get some cloth that has the American flag printed on one side, and plain white on the other. Then we use this cloth to make dammit dolls, with the flag side turned in. Then we package these dolls with an image of something that would enrage conservatives. I dunno, something like a photoshopped image of Ronald Reagan having sex with Marilyn Manson in a church. Then we send these packages out to all the conservatives in America. The easily enraged ones, upon seeing the image, will beat the hell out of the dammit doll with the flag concealed inside. A few days later, we send them a letter instructing them to open up the dammit doll to find the prize hidden inside. They'll open it up, see the flag, and it will dawn on them that they've just angrily beaten a flag.

The particularly psychotic ones will immediately kill themselves in the most horrible way they can think up, because they'll be consumed with self-hatred. The slightly less psychotic ones will be stunned by their own hypocrisy and shrink from criticizing others who abuse flags.

Of course, these are conservatives we're talking about, so I can see how this might backfire. Like closeted homosexual politicians who deal with their secret shame by crusading against gays, these people who hate themselves for beating a flag doll might project that anger out towards others, and try to deal with their own shame by passing draconian laws against others who are caught abusing flags. Still, if enough of them kill themselves or shut up, these ones who get more zealous may not have the numbers to get such laws passed.

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