Friday, June 24, 2005

A Graven Image of Cloth

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050622/ap_on_go_co/flag_burning

Sometimes I feel as if I have awaken into a land called America but with a sense that the country I once knew is dying. Not the place, not the people, but the collective memory of its people in their understanding of who we are, where we came from, and where we will some day go.

My country does not now, nor has it ever, needed to be sanctified by a piece of cloth. What encapsulates us as a nation are the words that comprise our Constitution and its Bill of Rights. And what defines us as a people of this nation is how we live to, and towards, those words. While at all times remembering that any meaningful interpretation of those words requires a memory of the world from which they drew life. This last part, in my view, is the memory that is fading. The absence of these truths creates the condition by which the words in our Constitution become as pliable as any one man's selfish needs require. American's, made malleable by their collective fears and failing memory, have begun to trust their liberty to others.

No, a piece of cloth does not need to have it rights protected. That cloth didn't need those rights when we became a country and that symbol made sacred by craven men doesn't need them today. However, today, like then, the liberty of the American people is at stake in so many ways. You could burn a billion American flags and it would not imprint even a small bruise on my consciousness or on the constitutional armor that protects my country. But if you begin to tear at the liberty given to us all by words such as those in the First Amendment of our Constitution then you have not only hurt me and my family but you have possibly inflicted a fatal wound to what our America represents.

If, after you read this, your response to my perceived pain is that you do not feel the same wound as I then all that is left for me is to continue to awaken each day and mourn for the country that was always my fathers but is becoming a mere memory for me to pass on to my children.