If you’ve been keep­ing up with the US Demo­c­ra­tic pri­mary, you’ve prob­a­bly heard what a piss-poor job ABC did con­duct­ing the Penn­syl­va­nia debate. It some­times floors me that Jon Stewart et al. often give more cred­i­ble news and com­men­tary than the major news out­lets. One of the more both­er­some bits to come out of the debate was ABC hand­pick­ing Nash McCabe for a voter ques­tion. It wasn’t so much her obvi­ous bias that both­ered me; another voter could always be inter­viewed to pro­vide a coun­ter­point (not that ABC did). What both­ered me was that her vote comes down to whether or not a can­di­date is will­ing to wear a lapel pin of the Amer­i­can flag. Some may think big deal, until you real­ize that she’s prob­a­bly not alone in how she makes polit­i­cal deci­sions. That some­how one’s appear­ance is a reflec­tion of one’s per­for­mance. That one’s patri­o­tism is mea­sured by how often you’re will­ing to dis­play the flag. That some­how sym­bols are greater than words and actions. (A Digg com­menter aptly ref­er­enced the scene from Office Space where Joanna quits because her man­ager hounds her about wear­ing flair despite being a pro­duc­tive employee.) It’s really depress­ing to think that peo­ple do make impor­tant deci­sions based on such triv­ial cri­te­ria. Just another exam­ple of why the US edu­ca­tion sys­tem needs improvement.

Her atti­tude reminds me of those who want to crim­i­nal­ize burn­ing the US flag—a per­fect exam­ple of peo­ple get­ting obsessed with their own per­sonal dogma and tak­ing nation­al­ism to a detri­men­tal extreme. It’s great to be proud of your coun­try, but when that pride starts to encroach on the rights bestowed to that country’s cit­i­zens (or used to con­tinue the state’s oppres­sion of its cit­i­zens *cough*China*cough*), you’re doing your coun­try a dis­ser­vice. A true Amer­i­can patriot would under­stand their his­tory and the US Con­sti­tu­tion and know that flag burn­ing is not just implied but encour­aged when the gov­ern­ment has failed to answer to the peo­ple. As such, given the ques­tion­able actions of the Bush admin­is­tra­tion, I would much rather see a can­di­date express their oppo­si­tion by wear­ing a lapel pin like this:

Burning Flag Lapel Pin

But see­ing how such bold­ness is rarely rewarded in pol­i­tics, I doubt we’ll ever see some­one sport­ing a pin like that any­time soon, short of another rev­o­lu­tion. And just to head off the ques­tion, the pin does not exist. The image is a com­pos­ite of three other images, i.e. it was shopped.

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