Nationalistic Teddy Bears...?

So, a day or so ago, a good friend sent me this e-card, by Jackie Lawson, apparently in honor of the 4th of July, and I was able to save the shockwave file out of my browser cache. It features a little teddy bear, snuggled in bed sleeping in, who is awakened by the passage of a large and loud marching band passing under his/her window. The marching band is also composed of teddy bears, in sharp uniforms and bearing loads of Americans flags.

Loads and loads of American flags.

I started to do a double-take about all the American flags.

How would it strike us, I wondered, if all those flags were, say, the British Union Jack? How about Japanese red-sun-on-white-field? Or the German gold-red-and-black? Or the Russian flag? Would it seem to us, I pondered, maybe a bit overblown?

I continued to watch. The little teddy bear jumps out of bed, and still in pajamas, joins the marching band, playing a flute. They march across the park and pass in front of the White House, which also has an American flag flying off its peak. Here the video ends, wishing us a "Happy Veterans' Day".

Now, it's entirely fair that a tribute to our troops will be drenched in flags.
We take for granted, in fact, the abundance of displays of the U.S. flag that we see about us, stickers on cars, windows, flying in people's front yards and in front of businesses. But do other people in other countries display their flag as much, I wonder? I've heard that's not the case.

The saddest part of all, I think, is that there are those who, if such thoughts as these are even aired, will point a finger and shrilly cry, "you're not being patriotic!" Such people are not patriots, I think, but jingoes, and go way over the top. The American flag and "patriotism" have become sacred cows to them, not to be touched. To them I would reply, "who was it that said, 'you shall have no God before me,' and who said, 'render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and render unto God that which is God's'?"

It's good to care about and cherish one's country and people. But always remember-- it's about the people-- not the scrap of cloth that symbolizes them.

Click here to see the marching teddies for yourself.

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