Monday, October 14, 2013

A quantum of umbrage: Stars and Bars and Vets

We here at p3 have a rule about the confederate flag, whether as a banner, bumper sticker, t-shirt, or tattoo. We used to find it disgusting and pathetic. We still do, but now we defend its display on two grounds. First, because First Amendment defense of expression is most needed when the ideas expressed are the most ugly. Second, the confederate flag serves a kind of public health warning, like a Hazmat sign: Danger – toxic environment ahead.

Which brings us to the appearance of the Stars 'n' Bars in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in connection with the Tea Party's demonstration over the weekend, to grift on the government shutdown of the WWII memorial, the cause of which was the rump Republican radicals in the House who, you know, shut down the government. The whole stampede – pretty much the sole creation of Fox News, who denies it, which indicates it's true – is the product of people pretending to care about WWII veterans while doing their best to shut down every government service to WWII veterans.

Why WWII veterans (who, incidentally, went to war to defend the country that the Confederacy waged war on under the Stars and Bars) don't recognize that someone's pissing on their leg and calling it rain is another story.

P.S. Memo to Tom Hanks: Where are you when it comes to defending the right to a decent and comfortable living for the dwindling number of WWII vets, rather than promoting a vanity project on the Mall?

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