Today I had to drive off into *Bush* Country — the suburbs around Houston — in the hopes in the rain of finding my family at an Easter Egg Hunt (there’s a side story about a kitten to this adventure that I’ll write about later). Driving down the center street in the city that claims bragging rights to being the Birthplace of Texas, a truck pulled up beside me with what must have been some 10′ 2×4′s in its bed. Usually if something like lumber is sticking out of the back of a truck, a bit of red ribbon is tied to the end sticking out — so drivers will notice the unusual extension of space the truck is using and therefore the following vehicle won’t burst its radiator. This *patriot* that was driving the truck had an American Flag hanging off the lumber in the back of his truck. Like I said, it was raining and the streets in Bushville were dirty and this geinus had an American flag hanging off a 2x4s in the bed of his truck.
Let’s step back a bit to get the feel for my reaction. My mom has always been one to latch onto the majority trends. She’s probably never had an original thought. (She’s afraid of computers, so no chance she’ll ever read this.) When I was in junior high school (’70′s), it was very popular to embroider blue-jean colored shirts. Much like charm bracelets, one’s mom individualized the embroidered shirts. My mom stitched an American flag on mine. I wore it to school one day and one day only. I didn’t get sent home, but the assistant principle told my mom that it was disrespectful to wear the American flag on my clothing.
Fast forward to 2001. After 9/11, people in this country had American flags everywhere. I remember going to a dinner party at my friends’ house. The wife is from here, her husband is Russian. She worked for a firm that did a lot of business in the former Soviet Republics, and so there were mostly Russians at the party. One Russian guy asked me why Americans started putting flags everywhere — their cars, their houses, their clothes — after 9/11. The only explanation I could give — and I was still devastated from what had happened –this was shortly after 9/11 and before the invasion of Iraq – was that people wanted to come together — that the U.S. mainland had never been hit from outside before. Having lived in Latvia, I then pointed out that the former Soviets have a strong tradition of displaying flags — more so than here — and that if Russia had been hit, Russians would have done the same. (Remember, this conversation took place before the attack in Beslan.)
I don’t fly a flag at my house. If I ever do, most likely it would be a Texas flag, not a U.S. flag. No, I’m not one of those crazy people who want to secede, but my heart is always with Texas. I do wish that Texas could have had enough money back then not to have been pressured into joining the U.S. and that we could have ended slavery without a war. Yeah, I have these dreams — fantasies.
I’ve gotten off track. My point is that people do things with flags that could be interpreted to be disrespectful all the time. What is the difference between burning a flag and using it to signal the end of a 2×4 and in the meantime dragging it through the mud and rain? Or wearing it as a bathing suit and sitting on it? Or wearing it on your shirt?
I would never do any of that with either the American flag or the Texas flag. Which pisses me off more? If someone did it to my flag. Texas, always Texas.