Thoughts on usage of the flag

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Thoughts on usage of the flag

Post by JakeConhale on Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:36 pm

Let me head this off by saying 1 - I'm no expert on the U.S. Flag code and 2 - I may disagree with things but will not actively attempt to dissuade someone from doing something outside arguments of "good taste".

The abundant sightings of the U.S. flag has always confused me. Symbols such as flags are supposed to have distinct meanings. The more often something is flown, the murkier the meaning becomes. To me, the American Flag has one distinct meaning - it represents the organization known as the United States of America and, as such, denotes territories, representatives, and offices relating specifically thereto. The U.S. Olympic team displays the flag because it denotes what country they represent. Military persons display the flag as they are agents of the government. A properly folded flag may denote someone killed in action, who sacrificed his or herself for the purposes of the U.S. Government. Ships display the flag because they are registered out of the U.S. Border checkpoints, federal offices, embassies, etc all display the flag because they have official functions.

Why, however, is the flag displayed in other capacities? Yes, I understand it can be flown by someone purely out of "patriotism" or perhaps relating to attitudes instilled by military or public service, that's fine. Freedom of speech after all, but I'm talking about beyond that.

Flag design inspired clothing perhaps. Not just patches or other official displays of the colors, but distorted/warped images of the flag or just the overall motif of the white stars on blue and red/white stripes. It just screams tacky and lends itself to being soiled and thus disrespecting the colors. I've seen massive flags flown by car dealerships... why fly it at car dealerships? Is it supposed to mean the dealership is specifically endorsed by the United States Government? That they're more AMERICAN than their unpatriotic competitors?

Another example - I loathe the overuse in political campaigns. Take Trump (please!) - many of his campaign appearances involved him standing in front of a solid row of flags - why? Government officials should be encouraged to display the flag when executing their duties as they represent an aspect of the government, but someone who is campaigning for a position has no authority. They DESIRE authority, but displaying the flag before obtaining the position feels like it's misrepresentation. You may say you speak for Americans, you may want to do exactly that, but until you have acquired a position that gives you the authority to fly the colors in an official capacity, you shouldn't wave it or even display it as a lapel pin. It seems a form of inculcation - that by frequently displaying the flag in association with the person, the person is thus permanently associated with the colors, even if they never obtain the position. What's the message? That the person is more American than their opponent? It's presumptuous to say you represent the American people before you've officially assumed such a position and I should hope the mere display of the colors is not enough to attract voters - that's a purely Pavlovian response - "He flies the flag, he must be a true American, you have my vote sir!"

If you're running for re-election, sure, you can fly the flag because you are the actual representative of the government. Similarly, if you hold a different position, you could arguably fly the flag as you are advertising "I already do this, I'm already a lawful representative, seeking a different position" but still seems a gray area because of possibly implying authority outside of the scope of said authority.

Symbols need distinct meanings otherwise conflicts arise. Take the Battle Flag of Northern Virginia. It has multiple connotations because of different contexts - one is that of outright rebellion against the lawful government by a military force, another is an association with the entire Confederacy movement and all associated ideals - slavery and such, another is "Southern Pride", and then there is the association with the Dukes of Hazzard as a couple of good ole boys doing good things while joyriding. Someone flies said flag - which context am I supposed to pull out of the display? Rebellion against the government? Endorsement of slavery? Southern pride? There was a case a ways back when at least one U.S. state capital still flew said flag - how was that permissible? Unless it was actually incorporated into another design such as the official, current state flag or such, it otherwise suggests active rebellion!

As such, I feel that the American flag should only be flown in cases of official capacity or in respectful, tasteful private displays. I don't really see the point in every house flying the flag (we're already in the U.S., what does the flag denote, that the house is on double-American territory?) but can understand people may want to display it for various personal reasons. That flag should just be properly lit, weather proof, and kept in good repair, because it denotes respect (unless disrespect IS your message, but that's a different discussion). Still, over-saturation weakens the symbolism and significance of the flag.

I haven't really traveled internationally so I don't know what the customs are of other nations but I'd be curious whether or not other nations similarly display their colors and, if not, why? What aspect of American culture demands "you must show this much flag-related material or you're not a true American"?

This isn't even getting into aesthetics. Whether or not the design is beautiful or garish, it should be treated properly. Either it's being displayed in an official capacity representing a specific association, a matter of personal taste done respectfully, or incorporated into a larger design (such as models of WWII aircraft or ships - they'd display the flags in the same context as the original).

Not sure if this stream of consciousness made the most sense, but it's something that's been rattling around in my head for a while. I have no issue with patriotism or personal significance (though I'd be curious if more specific methods of such representation might communicate the ideas better), what bugs me is improper use or mindless repetition.

Anyways, thank you for your consideration.

JakeConhale

Posts : 12
Join date : 2017-02-19

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Thoughts on usage of the flag

Post by Metatron_Fallen on Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:47 pm

Wow, by far the longest post I've ever seen you make, Jake.

I am not one to be beholden to 'holy' symbols. I have never understood the way people in the USA use and display the flag. It seems a bit perverse to me.
avatar
Metatron_Fallen

Posts : 14
Join date : 2017-02-19

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Thoughts on usage of the flag

Post by JakeConhale on Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:20 pm

Oh, I've written longer, in this case it's an attempt to be very specific to keep the discussion focused.

JakeConhale

Posts : 12
Join date : 2017-02-19

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Thoughts on usage of the flag

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum