Like father, like son.
Resident George W. Bush, our Commentator-In-Chief, has followed in his proud pappy's footsteps in many ways, such as the colossal mismanagement of the economy, the pursuit of wars that seemed increasingly ridiculous as time went on, and the surrender of a clean America to the interests of friends and allies from big oil business.
Prime among these similarities from Bush to Bush, however, is the willingness to sacrifice freedom in order to maintain the superficial trappings of patriotism.
George Herbert Walker Bush defeated opponent Michael Dukakis through the same jingoistic patrio-mumble that has dominated the ribald reign of George Walker Bush. Daddy Bush dared Michael Dukakis to say the Pledge of Allegiance as much as he did, and promised to support an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to make it a crime to burn an American flag.
Just like Bush Senior, Since he occupied the White House, Bush Junior has vigorously sung "God Bless America" while supporting new laws to destroy the constitutional protection from governmental meddling in religion. Bush talks about waging a war between freedom and fear while locking up American citizens without a trial or lawyer and finding new ways to violate ordinary Americans' freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.
Most recently, George W. Bush has spilled ink all over the American flag he insists that he is sworn to protect.
A little over a month ago, at a Republican political rally in Livonia, Michigan, George W. Bush signed his name as an autograph on the American flag. He did so not just once, but with several flags brought by his conservative fans solely for that purpose.
The funny thing is that George W. Bush has openly supported efforts by the Republican Congress to pass an amendment to the Constitution that would outlaw not just flag burning, but any "physical desecration" of the American flag.
This is where I start to get confused. You see, when I look up the meaning of "desecrate" (the root word of "desecration"), I find that to desecrate means to do damage to something that is sacred in such a way that reduces the religious nature of it. So, in order for the "desecration" of the American flag to even be possible, it must first be ordained as sacred. Thus, we see that an amendment to the Constitution forbidding the "desecration" of the American flag actually establishes an official governmentally-sponsored religious worship of the flag.
I thought George W. Bush was a born again Christian. Surely, he would know that the Bible strictly forbids idolatry. Hmm.
This whole language of "desecration" that George W. Bush seems so much in love with is troublesome. One problem is that Bush's proposed constitutional amendment doesn't bother to define what "desecration" is. It seems plenty arguable to me that signing an autograph on the American flag for the sake of fawning political supporters could definitely count as "desecration". But, hey, I'm no expert. I'll leave this whole matter of defining "desecration" up to the priests to decide.
Without a doubt, autographing the American flag is an act of stupendous arrogance. Often, autographs are given on blank pieces of paper. When autographs are given on particular objects, however, it is generally understood that these objects should be something that the represents the individual identity of the autographer or is something that the autographer can take personal credit for.
For instance, many politicians offer autographed copies of their own photographic portraits. Authors will autograph copies of books that they have written, because they can take credit for the content of those books. It would be generally be regarded as absurd for one politician to autograph the picture of another politician, or for an author to autograph another writer's book.
It is equally absurd for George W. Bush to go around the country autographing the American flag. Doing so either suggests that Bush believes that he can take credit for the flag in some way, or implies that Bush believes that the American flag is especially connected to his own personal identity.
Now, as far as we know, George W. Bush had nothing to do with the creation of the American flag. Betsy Ross invented it, and even she didn't have the arrogance to sign it. Does Bush dress up in drag like Betsy Ross? Rumors abound, but so far there is no proof.
Unfortunately, George W. Bush and his supporters have long been behaving as if they have ownership of the American flag. Flag pins and bumper stickers have been distributed for display as shorthand of support for Bush's extremist policies. Republicans frequently accuse Americans who disagree with Bush of being "unAmerican", as if the meanings of America and the American flag are defined by Republicans alone.
Republican hack Ann Coulter goes so far to accuse Americans who disagree with Bush of committing "treason". Thus, Republicans confuse the person of George W. Bush with the democratic republic of the United States that George W. Bush has been appointed to serve. Such confusion suggests a growing conservative cult of personality around George W. Bush. In combination with the flag worship that Republicans are seeking to enforce on all Americans, this cult of personality takes on more and more of the appearance of a totalitarian state religion.
In the face of such a threat, we propose no new laws or amendments to Constitution. Instead, we propose that the best way to protect America from the despotism that increasingly flavors the personality of George W. Bush is to keep the laws and Constitution of the United States of America just as they are.
You see, what separates us from the likes of George W. Bush is that we love America so much because America allows its citizens to engage in free speech of all kinds, even when that speech is in disagreement with the current American government. We here at Irregular Times believe that the only way that the American government will ever gain the respect of its people is to earn it. Making disrespect of symbols of the American government a crime will only encourage such disrespect in the hearts of Americans and others across the world.
So, even though we believe that it is extraordinarily arrogant of George W. Bush to autograph American flags at his political rallies, we do not call for his arrest for doing so. When being arrogant and foolish is made a crime, we all will be criminals.
In fact, we encourage Mr. Bush to go on putting his signature all over Republicans' flags. Doing so shows very clearly the kind of leader he would most like to be.
As a postscript, we thank the Washington Post for bringing the issue of Bush's flag autographs to a national level of attention, through an editorial written on August 31, 2003. Pearls of truth can indeed be found in the mainstream press. We doubt that you'll hear about this all on Fox News, though.
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