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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/10/10

The Motherland & Her Flag Vs. A Mother & Her Child

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Mother: Something or someone that gives rise to or exercises protecting care over something else; origin or source.

Flag: a piece of cloth, varying in size, shape, color, and design, usually attached at one edge to a staff or cord, and used as the symbol of a nation, state, or organization.

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When a mother sends her son (or daughter) into "service for her country" and she gets the proverbial knock on the door, she is given a commemorative flag. That may be an appropriate tribute for those who may still believe that we are fighting for freedom, but for anyone who understand its true motivations, a can of oil might be more fitting.

Ironically, while "our troops were fighting for our freedoms" over the previous eight years, a United States law (18 USC Sec. 700, January 2009) was passed which stated, "Whoever knowingly casts contempt upon any of the United States by publicly mutilating,defacing, defiling, burning, or trampling upon it shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both."
You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that. Defend that. Celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free".
The American President
America was the last place on earth that one could do such things under the protection of the First Amendment, but those days are gone. We have become all that we have fought against. Under French law, merely insulting the French national anthem or flag at a publicly organized event is illegal, with a punishment of up to six months in jail and a 7500 Euro fine.

They're still looking for the anonymous "artist" from Nice who wiped his bum on it. In Turkey, simply taking down a flag can be punished with 18 years in prison. Yet as one commenter of a Guardian article on flag desecration put it,
"...military personnel wear uniforms emblazoned with their country's flags, and [the invaded] citizens of countries burn those flags in protest... It's not the bombs or the bullets which are unnerving: it's burning flags. If that purview does not encapsulate amorality, little else will! How can any sane person be indifferent to the acts perpetrated by those flying the flags, and then bemoan completely feeble measures of protest? National Flags represent states and their polities; not people, nor human beings.

Although the definition of flag (above) may be accurate, this one better suits the context here:

Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people's brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.
Arundhati Roy
In thinking about the tragedy of Gold Star mothers, I asked a few questions in reply to an article posted on opednews. Among my questions were, "How is it that Cindy Sheehan is the only Gold Star mother I know of who has selflessly fought in order that other mothers wouldn't suffer her own fate? Why would a military mother sooner hold on to the lies instead of her child's life and limbs? Why would she fight for the 'honor of his service' rather than his (or her!) very life?"

As a mother, I recognize my questions have a heartless tone, but I really don't understand!

In looking for answers, I went to learn more about Cindy Sheehan to see what may have made her choose a different path. I found a website called Military Families Speak Out. It featured a book called, "Skin in the Game -- Supporting the Troops Without Supporting the War -- Journey of a Mother and Her Marine Son." Upon learning about her son Mike's enlistment, author, Peggy Logue wrote in her opening chapter,
"What have I taught you? How can you go off somewhere and kill people? Can you really point a gun at someone and fire? Can you take another life? What will it do to you? Isn't it you who prayed a gentle prayer while holding the fledgling bird that fell from her nest? I grieve to think that what you know about life and its sacredness might get brushed aside as you face violence and destruction."
Logue's story continues in a chapter entitled "War and Patriotism"...
"Blue Star families dare not speak out against the President or this war lest they be accused of being unpatriotic by not supporting the troops...their loved one. ...There is caution about what is said and what is made public. We who oppose the war keep much of what we feel to ourselves or to a limited number of friends. My personal fear is that Mike will think that I am not proud of him."
Blue Star mothers like Peggy Logue who remain relatively quiet may seem different from Cindy Sheehan, but I learned that Cindy stated she initially questioned the urgency of the invasion of Iraq, but she did not become active in the anti-war effort until after her son Casey's death.

Another answer to my questions came from opednews contributor, Mark Sashine who wrote me via e-mail...

Sherry, we in Russia have a saying that it is easier to die once for a cause than to live for a cause. But as for the mothers who are not like Cindy I would consider that they do not do that BECAUSE OF THEIR MEN! Those men are moral cowards. I quote the famous Nursery rhyme from 1916. It still works:
Nursery Rhyme
A Poem by Frank Wilmot

One year, two year, three year, four,
Comes a khaki gentleman knocking at the door.
"Any little boys at home, send them out to me
To train them and brain them in battles yet to be."

When a little boy is born feed him, train him so.
Put him in a cattle pen and wait for him to grow.
When he's nice and plump and dear, and sensible and sweet,
Throw him in the trenches for the great grey rats to eat.

Toss him in the cannon's mouth, cannons fancy best
Tender little boys' flesh that's easy to digest.
Mother rears her family on two pounds ten a week.
Teaches them to wash themselves, teaches them to speak.

Rears them with a heart's love, rears them to be men.
Grinds her fingers to the bone, and then... what then?
But parents who must rear the boys the cannons love to slay,
Also pay for cannons that blow other boys away.

Parsons tell them that their sons have just been blown to bits.
Patriotic parents must all laugh like fits.
Rear the boys for honest men and send them out to die!
Where's the coward father who would dare raise a cry?

Any gentleman's aware folk rear their children for
Blunderers and plunderers to mangle in a war!
Five year, six year, seven year, eight.
"Hurry up you little chaps, the captain's at the gate!
It is sad, but understandable that as long as the troops live and rally under the Motherland's flag, so too must their mothers and families feel compelled to defend it. As Peggy Logue said, "I struggle to keep my mouth shut the longer this war goes and the scarier it becomes. I will someday speak out but only when Mike is safely at home."

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Sherry Clark is the founder and publisher of The Liberty Voice. The Liberty Voice is a fiercely independent newspaper (imagine opednews in print!) that has distributed a half million papers freely throughout Central Ohio.
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