Of Flags and Fathers

If my father committed all sorts of atrocities, I would love him still; sadly, sorrowfully, perhaps even shamefully, but I would love him. Nations are extensions of families. And so the same argument goes for a nation. Great in righteousness or sin, I love my nation. 

Those who do not are implying they hate their family or have no family, land, people, heritage. Uprooted, they uproot. Loving no place, they trample on others. If they do not see their history, they blot out those of others. 

Not loving your country because it has done wrong is like not loving your parents because they have done wrong, for a nation, contrary to egalitarian ideology, is a collection of families extended by time and place. It’s no coincidence that we have a culture of people which hates its country and one also which hates its parents. It’s further no coincidence that Jesus’ command to love our fathers and mothers is tied to a promise of living long in the land. If you love your patros, you will love your patridos. The opposite is also true, and it is true when stated conversely: if you hate your patridos, you will neither live in it long nor honor your patros. Even if the land is not yours and you detest it, you are detesting someone else’s father, thus committing the same sin.

Where does the Bible command us to hate nations or lands or other people’s fathers? Rather, may it not be the most Christ like thing to do to love those especially whom one deems the sinners, the ungodly, the unworthy, instead of pharisaically denouncing that they ever existed on the face of this planet? It is possible to love someone or something that is or was sinful. It may even be Christian to do so.

The surest way to make someone an ardent worshipper of a flag is to tell him that he salutes it as an idol. If you would create a loyal zealot of a banner, tell him its colors symbolize evil, its origin villainy, its flowing furls cosmic injustice. The quickest way to create patriotic extremists is by calling their fathers immoral brutes incapable of heaven and staining even hell itself.

The greatest exploits and daring feats have been for the advancement or mere recovery of a flag. Petty mockery of such symbols inflame, rather than abate, their motivating sentiments. For, the nativist knows that the universalist would have all colors bleed into one, which would make a white flag, the symbol of surrender, defeat, subjugation.


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