I’ve been noticing lately a lot of people saying, “If you don’t like America, get the heeelllllll out!” Part of this could be due to the whole flag-stomping thing going around the internet. Clearly those walking on the flag wanted to elicit the very response they are getting.
I don’t think that stomping on the flag is a good political tactic, because I am interested in changing hearts and minds, not pissing people off and creating more tensions. But I have a huge problem with the whole, “If you don’t like it here, get out!” mentality.
First of all, I was born here. Just because some thugs in DC claim they own 2.8 million square miles between two oceans, taking up almost half of North America–one of only seven continents on Earth–does not mean it is my responsibility to leave if I don’t like the force they regularly use against me and my fellow human beings. Most people that tell others to “get out if they don’t like it here” also claim to believe in private property. So what they are saying, is that the government’s right to boss me around supersedes my right to simply live peacefully on a piece of land that I maintain as my home, without hurting anyone else.
Secondly, someone is going to turn that phrase around at some point. Examples: “Oh you don’t like taxes? Well it is our civic duty, so if you don’t want to pay for America, get out!” or “If you don’t like the President the people elected you can get out!” or “If you don’t like regulation from the EPA, FDA, or Department of Energy, why don’t you move to Somalia where there is no regulation?” Disagreeing with something, and even going to extremes in using free speech to get your point across, does not mean you have no business living anywhere from sea to shining sea.
Third, telling someone to leave sort of implies that there is somewhere to go. You are telling me I must choose between a few hundred governments, each using a varying degree of unjust force to rule? There is nowhere I can go and be left alone. Every piece of inhabitable land on Earth has been claimed by some coercive violent group who will force me to follow their arbitrary rules if I move there.
Fourth, for a long time, America stood for something good: free speech, free markets, life, liberty, and property. But now that it has gotten this bad, instead of trying to improve it, instead of pointing out what went wrong, I am supposed to leave because I disagree with whatever group? And as for disrespecting the flag, what happened to free speech? What happened to: “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend with my life your right to say it”? When you tell someone to leave because you think they have disrespected what America stands for, you are forgetting what America stood for: FREE SPEECH! I’m sorry, but a piece of cloth is not more important than actual freedom.
Fifth, you might be angry that I just called the flag a piece of cloth. You might claim it is not just the piece of cloth, but what it stands for that matters. You might bring up the countless people who have died, “for me” or “fighting for my freedom” or “protecting my rights”.
The other day I was at work, and a coworker thanked a woman for her service in the military. Her reply was priceless: “Well I get paid”. We all must do a cost benefit analysis, and in a dangerous profession, you need to weigh the risk with the reward.
If someone thinks 30 grand a year is worth it to risk their life killing whoever the American government decided needs to be killed this year, don’t drag me into it. It is already my (stolen) money being used to fund the destruction, don’t add insult to injury by telling me that I should be grateful.
Maybe during the Revolution the flag stood for freedom, or protecting us against foreign aggression. Hey, maybe even during the War of 1812. But if you haven’t noticed, our soldiers are not defending the homeland, or protecting the borders. They are in various foreign countries, and at this point, it is getting hard to keep track of which one’s did what.
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We are at war with Saudi Arabia for funding terrorists right? Oh wait no, they are our ally who we fund, and we are at war with Afghanistan for… having mountains to hide in? We’re at war with ISIS… or is it Syria? First we helped ISIS, now we don’t like them, yea that’s it! And then we are drone bombing anyone who might be a terrorist in any country, or if they attend the wrong wedding.
The ironic part to me is that many of the people most pissed off about the flag stomping, are people who claim to believe in the founding fathers and Constitutional government. Why are they more angered by the flag being disrespected than by the fact that what the flag stood for has been eviscerated by our government?
If the flag represented freedom of speech, freedom from oppression, life, liberty, and property, the meaning of the flag has long since died. If the flag reminded us that freedom cannot be traded for security, or that a standing army would erode our rights, or that the best government governs least, then the flag has no meaning, because these things have been forgotten.
The people stomping on the flag are not stomping on those ideals, they are stomping on a hollow shell that was desecrated long ago by our government. People apparently didn’t have the energy to tell the politicians, bureaucrats, and government agencies to “get the hell out” when THEY were symbolically stomping on the flag.
So if you want to tell someone to “get out”, tell it to the people in government who ruined America. Don’t tell it to the people are are trying to point out how bad it has gotten.