Why Is American Flag Preferred Over State Flag At Local Graduation Ceremonies?
Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “When you start talking about things that are supposedly national, you have latitude to do things that you wouldn’t think that you would have the authority or the power to do. If there wasn’t an overriding – or I might describe it more accurately as an overbearing nationalism – that had infected the populace, you wouldn’t be able to say the “we” part of: We ought to bomb or invade or go to war with X.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest….
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: If you’re graduating from a school in – I’ll just Louisiana as an example now. You could say, though, if you’re graduating from a school in the State of Texas or Virginia or Georgia or wherever, would it seem natural to you, maybe even preferable to you, that when the color guard presents colors, that they might include a flag from your state as well as an American flag? It would occur to me that that would seem very natural, preferable indeed, especially if we’re trying to retain some of our talent, if you will, young people that have a – what did Liam Neeson say in the Taken movie? [mocking Neeson] “I’ve got a certain set of skills.” This is the disappointing part of this. There was not a Louisiana state flag to be found or seen anywhere in the procession. It’s just a curiosity, irksome to me, that we don’t hold – this is just a, not directed at any school system in particular, because I think it’s just ubiquitous if you were to survey most people. We don’t hold our states on the same level that we hold our union of states. That’s what it’s supposed to be. It’s a union of states. It’s not discussed and it’s not promoted. It doesn’t come across publicly very often that it is a union of states.
This is disappointing to me. This is one of these things that I wish to – if I have young people that are a part of this or witnessing it — that I feel like I ought to correct, to intervene afterwards and remind them that you did graduate or did go play football or whatever it is you did. And you did so in this state, this state being, of course, a member of the union of states, and, being a sovereign entity, able to determine its specific and particular policies and laws, regulations, customs, traditions, etc. that affect the citizenry. I lament this, and I hope many of you lament this as well. This is a problem. This nationalism that we see on display in events like this is, I think, dangerous. It diminishes the individuality and sovereignty of the states that make up the union and the people that make up the states.
Once upon a time here on this show, I asked the question of a listener, I said: What is a state? I can’t recall the exact context of why I asked this particular this. I said: What is a state? Can you define what a state is? He was a bit perplexed at the question: What do you mean what is a state? I said: What is a state? If I say state to you, what does that mean? Now, what you would typically think it would mean is just a place on a map. Really? Just a place on a map? Yeah, you can point to it on a map and that’s what a state is. It’s geography, in other words. How many of you think that a state is little more than geography and just a set of boundaries, if you will? Many people have this view and this is problematic. This is why the general leviathan, the eight-trillion-headed hydra that sits on the banks of the Potomac River, this is why it’s able to perpetrate many of the things that it’s able to perpetrate, specifically because people have either little or no concept of state. They have little or no concept of sovereignty. They have little or no concept of why those things are important.
When you start talking about things that are supposedly national, you have latitude to do things that you wouldn’t think that you would have the authority or the power to do. If there wasn’t an overriding – or I might describe it more accurately as an overbearing nationalism – that had infected the populace, you wouldn’t be able to say the “we” part of: We ought to bomb or invade or go to war with X. Instead you’d have to say: Well, some of us think, or people in that area think. Today we have what George Orwell called groupthink. The problem with groupthink is that groupthink allows form or forms of tyranny while acting as though it’s not tyranny at all; it’s populism. The people demanded this. The people want this. This is why things like displays of state emblems, state flags, children having knowledge of and having studied the history of their individual state, maybe even the town they live in, maybe the county they live in. See, it balances the loyalties. We have, by and large, lost that balance, and have instead traded it for this fake, alleged, what we call today patriotism.
Bill Kauffman has a knack for writing about these things, Bill Kauffman who is the author of many great books, the screenwriter for the film Copperhead, if you’ve seen that. One of his books, Bye Bye, Miss American Empire, poses this question that I’m talking about here, and laments the fact that most people would respond in a manner in which Kauffman would say is antithetical to any sense of federalism. When we ask questions about how and why government is able to do the things it’s able to do, what I’m discussing here is largely responsible for it. In other words, members of Congress would not be able to get away, and certainly wouldn’t be returned to office after they had done the things they do on a daily, regular, and now routine basis if those things were revolting to people in individual states and in individual and sovereign and easily-identifiable areas, cultures if you will.
That’s the good and the bad of my experience with public ceremonies dealing with public schools these days. As I said, many of you will have a very similar experience coming up here directly. It may not be a high school graduation. It may be a grade school or junior high school or some other form of graduation or advancement ceremony to mark the end of a year. The result will be very similar if not identical. Just ponder that and think about that. Where’s the state flag?
End Mike Church Show Transcript