About the “wiping your anus with the US flag” challenge…

You can find a photo and a link to it here (and OF COURSE, they blame President Obama)

And the reactions: yes, I’ve seen outrage (as in “bullet in the brain” outrage) and yes, I’ve seen “I support that” (really) from my own friends list.

MY reaction? Sorry…though it is a negative one in that I rolled by eyes and thought “losers”……it isn’t exactly a passionate reaction. It is really more of a shrug when one sees some unaccomplished “know-it-all” going on and on when they don’t know what they are talking about.

Now why is that?

There are several reasons.

1. We had a tradition of free speech. You can do that here and the government won’t arrest you. I LIKE that about our country and many other countries don’t protect free speech at that level.

2. I am amused at those who go on and on about “American exceptionalism”. No, we weren’t chosen by some deity. Yes, we emerged from WW II in a position to thrive economically. But, as with most countries, we’ve made many mistakes and done wrong many times. Because we are a world’s leviathan, everyone sees our wrongs…this is the old “the higher up the flag pole you are, the more people see your butt” situation. Let’s face it: who burns the Sri Lanka flag? Who burns the New Zealand flag?

3. No, we aren’t the “worlds greatest”. There are some things that we do well; in other areas we are middling. Of course, some of that is because the rest of the world has caught up (and passed us in some cases), as Fareed Zakaria points out. In some cases, I think that we are underperforming, with respect to our potential. But it is unrealistic (and arrogant) to expect us to be good at everything.

4. On the other hand, by the standards of a world leviathan, we aren’t that bad, at least compared to other leviathans in history. Sure, we’ve done some truly horrible things. But consider everything: imagine a terrorist who is planning to make a big attack and kill, possibly thousands? So, if we do nothing and the attack happens, we get blamed and thousands die. If we kill the terrorist (by whatever means, drones, air strike, ground action), we often kill innocent bystanders. Don’t you think that their friends and loved ones will hate us? How would you feel if that happened to your friends or loved one? And if we screw up and kill innocents while we THINK that we are killing a terrorist, same thing.

Bottom line: if you are a world leviathan, your action OR inaction will kill innocent people, period. It sucks.

And do we value our lives more than the lives of others? Well, yes, but what other group of humans doesn’t?

So, sorry to disappoint, but as Americans, we are not especially awesome nor are we especially evil. We are, well, ordinary people living in a country that has the mantle of power at this time in human history. It is my guess that if the concept of “world leviathan” still applies 500 years from now, that country will be more moral than we are in the way that it deals with the rest of the world, just as we are more moral than the old British Empire, etc.

Sorry…I just can’t get excited in either direction.


July 11, 2015 - Posted by | social/political |


  1. the Constitution applys to burning the flag, not wiping your buttt. that is desecration and is illegal

    Comment by sherry solders | July 12, 2015 | Reply

  2. excuse me i meant applies.

    Comment by sherry solders | July 12, 2015 | Reply

    • My understanding this that SCOTUS ruled that enforcing flag desecration laws is unconstitutional, provided you are desecrating your own flag and not someone else’s, not violating pollution laws, etc.

      “Expressive conduct” cannot be made illegal:

      Comment by blueollie | July 12, 2015 | Reply

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