Wednesday, April 16, 2008
There is a young lady whose blog I have read from her first entry. Now, I haven't been in blogland that long, but I went through her archives and read every entry she's posted. She's bright, funny, giving, thrifty, hard-working, and loves her family. I have enjoyed reading about her work in 3rd world countries as well as her self-set goals to participate in a triathlon--which she did. I don't agree with her politics, but I appreciate that she is not apathetic about the world around her. I enjoy her cooking adventures and her ability to stretch her budget with imagination.
But last week, she purchased an old flag from a yard sale (where it never should have been in the first place, but that's another story), cut it up, and made it into 2 tote bags. Now, I figured she was just unaware of proper flag etiquette, because I have read enough of her blog to believe she had only the best intentions. So I told her that while I applauded her creativity, I felt she was in violation of flag etiquette, and linked to a source that, besides giving instructions on how to dispose of a flag, clearly states it is not to be used to wrap or carry or hold anything.
One of her commenters took issue with my comment and poked fun at it. Other commenters tried to explain what the flag meant to them, particularly as vets and families of current military personnel, and one offered to buy the bags from her, so he could properly dispose of them. Admittedly, some comments were a little abrasive, but for the most part, folks were kindly in their criticisms.
When she didn't immediately address these commenters, I took it to mean she was truly considering what was said and I expected to find an apologetic posting. Actually, she was out of town and didn't see the comments til she returned. And when she did comment, it was to acknowledge that not everyone agreed on everything, and she thanked them for leaving comments. That would have been fine, if she had never written the next sentence--in which she flippantly pointed out that there were gazillions of other blogs and the disagreers could surely find someone more to their liking elsewhere.
Her readers all applauded her "recycling", stating they felt that burning or burying the flag was odd, outdated, not for today's world, and not worthy of being adhered to. Some plan on copying her efforts. Those of us who disagreed were considered to be "close-minded oafs", "morons" who need to find something more useful to channel our "moral outrage" to, and were generally chastised for stating our opinions. One commenter ridiculed Cookie's analogy of cutting up a grandmother's treasured wedding dress, which I thought was an excellent parallel.
Did these young people never pledge allegiance in school? Have they forgotten the words, or did those words mean nothing to them?
Why do they think that, no matter what the etiquette is, they are under no obligation to follow it just because they consider it to be outdated? If people disagree, that's fine--lobby to have the guidelines changed. Until they are, they should be respected and followed. Maybe it's a shame there are no penalties or fines attached to the violation of these guidelines.
At no time did this young lady aplogize for offending veterans of military service, or those who have loved ones in service now. And that is what I find most disturbing. Some of the last people on this earth I would want to offend or hurt, are our vets and our troops. They are out there voluntarily, far away from the ones they love and who love them, away from the comforts some of us take for granted, in conditions not too far removed from those this girl strives to rectify in other countries, risking their lives to protect the underdogs from their oppressors. Whether or not you agree with the war, or any past wars, our vets and troops deserve to be respected and remembered. Not disregarded. Not ignored. Not derided.
And this is why I removed this young woman's blog from my list of favorites, and will no longer be reading her entries. I am very disappointed in her response, and in the responses of most of her fans, and just cannot support her site with my hits anymore. I support their right to post their opinions, whether agreeing or disagreeing, but I choose not to fill my time or my mind with them.
"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for for which it stands: one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Edited 4/17 to add: I haven't mentioned the name of the blogger or her site, because I didn't want to stir up any trouble there. Let me say now that she has contacted one of her commentors and they have exchanged honest, respectful emails, and, though she feels the "thing" is not as important as what it represents, she understands now what the flag means to our military. The commentor, a vet himself, is satisfied that she did not mean any harm, and has published a follow-up response on her blog putting everything behind them. Let's us do the same.