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To Speak of Symbols

Scarecrows at Dusk, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

Much discussion arose from yesterday’s post because of a rag–a rag imbued with meaningful design and color, whose being unfurled in a place judged unworthy took on such significance as to stop a neighborhood on its ear, as to catch the eye of national media and as to grab the heart of America…not to mention affecting to lesser or greater degrees humble–and otherwise–blogs.

The furor that arose yesterday was not over a cut of cotton or linen or rayon or plastic; the furor evolved because of representation, because of symbolism, because that piece of cloth was a flag, the flag of the United States of America. When fold of cheap matter had its threads stamped through with such unique color and design, its import was turned from that of tawdry, little-noticed rag, and at the moment was transformed into an elevated piece of honor, esteem and glory.

Symbols are important, speaking where there is no voice, shouting where silence is ordered, and healing where wounds have slashed. Never urgent is a Halloween sign where a scarecrow flaps in the wind, nor a church marque to announce itself when a cross is lifted to the sky, or flashing Merry Christmas signage where a creche adorns a strip mall. These are symbols, whose architecture and form speak their cause.

What then, gives with this?

Barack Obama may choose not to wear an American flag pin on his lapel, but many of the presidential contender’s political rivals say they wouldn’t leave home without one.

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton told Thursday night that she sometimes wears a pin to show her patriotism. “Wearing a flag pin, flying the flag, pledging allegiance to the flag, talking about the values that are important to America, teaching your children about what a great nation you have, standing up for those values, speaking out … there’s just so many ways that one can demonstrate patriotism,” Clinton said at a Chicago fundraiser.

A spokesman for Joe Biden told that the Delaware senator “always wears a flag pin.” It wasn’t clear whether Dennis Kucinich wears a pin, but a spokeswoman told that the Ohio congressman does “does carry a mini copy of the Constitution in his pocket.”

John Edwards, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson didn’t return calls for comment.

Republican hopeful John McCain said he doesn’t wear a flag pin on a daily basis. Brooke Buchanan, a spokeswoman for the Arizona senator, said “his record of service to his country shows his dedication.”

more here.

Edit: October 29, 2007    More cause for desperate concern is pictured here


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