Friday, 11 September 2009

Flying flags or taking action - which matters more?

The week has raced by.

My last post was about Shabbas plans, good food, guests, time focusing on those I love. And it seems that I barely blinked and it's a week later.

It's been a good week. Busy with family and friends. Lots accomplished at work. I'm tired. Not feeling 100%. But I'm here. And that, as Martha S. is wont to say, is a good thing.

I've been thinking a lot about this September 11th thing. Got a ton of e-mails telling me to hang a flag. And that bothers me. I am so proud of the brave firefighters and police officers who risk their lives every day to save the rest of us from horrible situations. Firefighters hold a very special place in my heart, as some of you know. So the idea that just hanging a flag up was a suitable way to honor them really and truly bothered me. They deserve so much more.

I responded to a few of the e-mails...and this is some of what I wrote.

Sorry. Flag waving and wrapping oneself in the flag are empty gestures to me. I will never see that a proof of anything valuable. I honor the firefighters and police officers, but hanging pieces of cloth seems to me a meaningless choice. Getting out and honoring their memory by fighting for our freedoms -- not with guns and rockets, but with the courts and the press and the ballot -- is a much more appropriate tribute to all they gave.

A flag is a piece of cloth. Hanging it is easy. If you want to show/promote real patriotism, get out and reclaim the rights and freedoms stolen by the previous administration. Work for the repeal of the so-called Patriot Act laws. Work to disband Big Brother. Fight surveillance on ordinary citizens, demand prosecution for elected leaders and government officials who engaged in wiretaps and warrant-less searches and fear-mongering.

Forget hanging flags. Be a patriot and reclaim your country. Those who died trying to save others deserve that from you.

If political action isn't your forte, use today to go out sign up to feed hungry children, take steps to help a homeless person get back on their feet, get out your garden tools and beautify an abandoned city lot, or go to a hospice and hold someone's hand. Or just start by saying thank you to a firefighter or police officer.

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