This is from Mike Rowe’s Facebook Page…
My comments follow at the end.
December 2 at 7:12pm ·
Off The Wall
Susanne McDaniel writes…
“How did you become so blindly patriotic? First of all, the college you were referencing in your rant about the American flag is a private college and doesn’t receive federal funding. However…the very essence of freedom in this country is our right to speak out against the flag, which is a mere symbol. If you take away that right, then we have lost all freedom. You really need to take a civics course, Mike Rowe. I used to like you; but, you have really become very annoying to me in recent years. I thought you were more intelligent. But, I guess appearances aren’t everything.”
I’ve never thought of myself as “blindly patriotic,” but I am a fan of the United States, the founding fathers, and the men and women who have served on my behalf. I also confess to feeling lucky to live here. Having said that, I think you’re correct about the flag; it’s only a symbol. So too is the Crucifix. And the middle finger. And the Swastika. And the compressed chunks of carbon that millions wear on their ring fingers as expressions of timeless love and eternal devotion.
It’s easy to make anything feel small and silly by reducing it to its chemical composition or its various component parts. But if you really believe our flag is nothing but a “mere symbol,” equally suitable for flying or burning, ask yourself if you’d be comfortable if the people you work with suddenly started coming to the office in pointy white hats fashioned from bedsheets? Would that be a problem for you? Or how about The Rainbow Flag, favored by the LGBTQ community? Would it be OK if people started burning that? If not, why not? I mean, it’s only a symbol, right?
Years ago, an artist named Andres Serrano presented a charming piece called “Immersion.” It consisted of a Crucifix, immersed in a glass of the artist’s urine. Amazingly, some people were offended. Christians, in particular. They just couldn’t see that Andres was using a symbol to express himself. Silly Christians. Interesting though, that Andres didn’t submerge Mohammed in the same glass. I wonder why that is?
The thing about “mere symbols” Susanne, is that they represent “mere ideas,” and “mere ideas” are the backbone of “mere humanity.” In the case of the flag, we’re talking about ideas that are wrapped into the Constitution – a document that separates us from every other country on the planet.
Mere ideas are the reason people fight and die. Mere ideas are the reason we’re allowed to speak freely, protest publicly, bear arms, and burn the very symbol that represents those very freedoms. I didn’t suggest that you or anyone else be denied your right to fly or burn whatever flag you wish. What I failed to do, is quietly accept behavior I don’t care for. Which, if I’m not mistaken, is the same compulsion that motivates others to publicly express themselves in whatever ways they choose.
As for Hampshire College, I’m afraid you’re mistaken. If you check the link I provided in my original post, you’ll see that several forms of federal funding are readily available to their students. Also, according to their site, you’ll notice that the flag is once again flying at full staff. I’ll take no credit for this, if you offer no blame. Deal?
Finally, regarding my overall annoyance, you’re correct, and you’re not alone. I’ve been annoying people for years now. Just ask my mother. And yes, I too, once thought I was more intelligent than I actually am. I still remember the disappointment when the test results come back.
Anyway, thanks for your comments, Susanne. I do hope you’ll stick around.
While I agree with everything Mike says here, I’m going to stand up for Susanne.
My response is framed as a simple question to Mike; Does the Flag still represent ‘…ideas that are wrapped into the Constitution – a document that separates us from every other country on the planet.’?
I would offer to Mr. Rowe that We have allowed the United States of America to wander so very far away from the Philosophically Enlightened Country born of an Age of Reason our Founders intended, and subsequently recorded in our Founding Documents, that Ms. McDaniel’s ignorance can be understood… if not accepted. I would continue to offer that this has been an intentional effort championed by those who, while they profess the opposite, have no interest in Individual Rights and see the very Constitution cited above as an impediment… as… a limiting Document… when it comes to their ultimate aims.
Those of us who have taken the time to understand the Constitution know the intent is exactly as a limiting Document. Our Founders applied a Governing Theory designed to elevate and protect the Individual above Government.
Mr. Rowe, does it?
And if not, what exactly is the symbolic value of the flag today? Let me rephrase it, what is the symbolic value of the flag to the intentionally ignorant, usefully uniformed, such a Ms. McDaniel?
If Ms. McDaniel is assigning the flag symbolic value based on what she has been taught in our schools, and sees in daily demonstration, you are both speaking very different languages.
Ultimately, You are correct… and to some degree, and not in a way she would understand, so is she.
Miss the Point
I just finished listening to an exchange between San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom and Adam Carrola. I also followed the thread of comments at various sites. What I’ve observed is a clear effort by those who do not want to address the truth of Mr. Carrola’s comments to intentionally Miss the Point. So I would like to offer a number of ways that you too can Miss the Point on Purpose, this way when you are confronted by… how shall I say it… an uncomfortable truth, you can focus on everything other than the distasteful reality. (It’s an interesting conversation regarding minorities and socio-economic strata. But That’s the Point! And We need to Miss it! Moving on…)
How to Miss the Point:
1. Be Offended. Always.
A. Focus on the coarseness of the language. Oh, Bad Words burn my ears… I just wish we could be nicer… etc.
B. Take individual words or segments of a statement from the speaker you disagree with, put it in quotes, and claim it to be racist.
C. Simply claim it to be racist without taking any of the speech into consideration knowing most people will not read it.
2. Accuse the Speaker of being filled with Hate.
A. Accuse the speaker of saying things in the past which were hateful… as defined by you. It doesn’t matter if it’s true since you are the one who gets to decide if it’s “mean”.
B. Illustrate their “Hate” by pointing out they are; male, republican, conservative, don’t like the President etc. It will play to those who don’t really want to read the exchange but just want to “know” they are right in all things. You can also call them names like “Fascist” or “NAZI” because your friends will not know what those words actually represent… Works all the time.
C. Take a statement the speaker you disagree with actually said then re-phrase it and accuse them Hate for “not” addressing it. I find this a spectacular tactic which should be used just in case the reader of your comment does decide to review the exchange you are trying to get them not to read. It will leave them confused. Perfect.
3. Make Sh*t Up or MSU.
A. You can make up anything and accuse the speaker you dislike of saying it in “the past”. Certainly those who also dislike the speaker will not go try to find the incendiary quotes you made up… they’ll just believe you. And if your lucky they’ll work for organizations like Hand Gun Inc. and repeat them as fact then cite your statement in the footnotes of their articles. This isn’t limited to HGI but they’re famous for writing their own MSU articles then waiting a few months (seasoning) so they can quote them as fact in newer MSU articles.
B. You can also be the repeater of such MSU statements. This is really easy and replaces all of that bothersome time thinking for yourself. Just go to your favorite website which supports all the things you believe you think and pick out the “best” slams on the person you disagree with then repost them as your own. Copy and Paste works well here.
C. Finally you can do all of the above with greater frequency if you make up a number fo different “identities” and employ slight changes in your writing style. You can literally be 15+ people with the exact same views regarding the truth you dislike.
So get out there and Miss the Point!
Substantive discussions of material fact and demonstrable truth is way over-rated. Apparently most of the people out there don’t really want to make an effort anyway. You’ll be a hit. And you can protect yourself and your friends from the Ugly Truth and the feeling of dissonance associate with it.
You’ll be even better at it after a few glasses of Mangria.
1 Comment | tags: 200 years of slavery versus 2000 years of slavery, Adam Corrola, asians, blacks, brown people, comments, daily caller, dodging, economics, education, fascist, Gavin Newsome, hispanics, Huffington post, jews, make shit up, minorities, Miss the Point, MSU, nazi, poor, poverty, socio-economic differences., The Ugly Truth | posted in economics, News, social issues, Uncategorized