Friday, May 07, 2010

What's the big deal about wearing an American Flag?

By now, you’ve probably heard about the boys who got in trouble for wearing American flags on the day classmates would be celebrating “Cinco de Mayo” at their school. Here’s a quote from an msnbc article about this incident:

“Galli says he and his friends were sitting at a table during brunch break when the vice principal asked two of the boys to remove American flag bandannas that they wearing on their heads and for the others to turn their American flag T-shirts inside out. When they refused, the boys were ordered to go to the principal's office.”

Point 1: The American flag is not a bandanna, nor is it likely these guys wear bandannas on an ordinary day.
Point 2: It’s a group of guys all sitting together wearing USA paraphernalia. This was a calculated gesture.
Point 3: The school administrators made a reasonable request which was flatly refused.

There are plausible scenarios to condone or condemn this action, but this is NOT about what we have a legal right to do or not do. We must quit appealing to the law to justify behavior. We don’t need a law to tell us how to behave as a civilized people. Do I have a right to hold up my middle finger? Sure! Do I have a right to use swear words? Absolutely! I can do these things pretty much any time I feel like and anywhere I feel like. But my momma taught me it’s not polite to say “f*** you” to other people. And yet that is _precicely_ what these boys were doing to the Hispanics in their school by deliberately coordinating to wear and display American symbols on a day that is special to Mexicans.

Now listen to the defensive parents who can’t teach their children some simple manners:

"I think it's absolutely ridiculous," Julie Fagerstrom, Maciel's mom, said. "All they were doing was displaying their patriotic nature. They're expressing their individuality."

I don't think so. Your kid is behaving like a pompous jerk and is acting no more patriotic than the congressmen who are running this nation straight into the ground. We often appeal to the "Power of Pride," but that's nothing compared to the power of humility.

Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men … and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever. D&C 121

Spencer W. Kimball wrote:

When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching:

Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:44–45.)

Do we have a legal right to treat other people rudely and disrespectfully? Yes we do, but what a sad place to live in if people don’t exercise the self-control to refrain from exercising that right. Let us be kind to each other and see the grace of God fill in where we are weak.