peaceableness and intolerance - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 43 Old 11-20-2001, 11:13 PM - Thread Starter
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This is a very sensitive and scary topic for us. We're really hoping for honest feedback (if you're gonna flame us, which is against the rules anyway, or just accuse us of being anti-American, don't reply, okay?).

We (dw & I) are wondering how moms and dads are teaching kids about peaceableness amidst intolerance post-9/11. Thankfully our dd and ds are very young and don't really understand much of what's happening around us. But we don't know how long that innocence is going to last.

Our neighborhood is still plastered with flags except for our place (no flag for reasons of conscience, our car has Green Party stickers on it and we're "known" locally as 'non-traditional' folks). Our neighbors not only have noticed the absence of Old Glory on our porch, but some have (very crudely and loudly) decided to "educate" us about things.... the way they believe they should be (meaning without our dissent, without "[y]our kinda' treason pollutin' our town").

Our kids aren't nervous yet and we're trying to not let our own discomfort show, but after the second incident of unprovoked "commentary" and road-rage-esque activity directed at us, we're beginning to wonder when it's going to affect them. We know this comes with the territory any time one decides to be different from the mob. We've been with our children at Nagasaki day vigils before; we're selective in our public activities because of the safety of our children. But the mob was never this violent or itching for a fight like they are now, and the law was never before so much on their side. How do we raise our children to be solution-oriented, loving, nonviolent and responsible people-of-conscience in such a hostile world?

Next year, dd starts kindergarten (we can't afford private school) and we refuse to submit to the mindcontrol nonsense around us (how does one conscientiously object to the Pledge and other "civic" stuff that we don't believe in?). She's going to stand out. We're very VERY concerned about this.

Are we alone, really? Has anyone else experienced this or other situations? How'd you handle it? How'd you help your kids deal with it?

Dov
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#2 of 43 Old 11-22-2001, 06:13 AM
 
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Im not american....but I thought the pledge had been taken out of school cause it was "under god" Correct me if Im wrong....that being the case Your Daughter shouldnt have to say it at all....As for teaching her, just keep doing what your doing, teach her what you belive, do it with out putting other down cause that just is wrong. Expose her to as many different people and things as you can. She will decide what she wants, but will always remember what you have taught her. Exposure to different things is the key, let her see it all and talk toher about what she sees. No tollerence isnt going to be easy to teach in this day and age, but like you already know you dont have to follow the path, you can walk above it.
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#3 of 43 Old 11-22-2001, 06:27 PM
 
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I'm in NYC so the "patrotism" is strong here. My mom workd in the WTC and walked out alive but bitter and angry. As me and my 4 year old live with her I was very worried. I have been a social justice activist for 6 years now and as pre-school time apprached I didn't want my daughter being forced to say the pledge ( we're Puerto Rican and I'm pro-independence for the island occupied by the US)

I already have quite a rep as well as a radical within my family and in the city.

What I have found to be a lifesaver is my activism. Because I surround myself with politically "radical" people, take my daughter with me to marches and rallies, read the papers to her and we talk about it and different views...I feel lucky and supported. Although I;m the only one with a little one.

If possible get more active( i know I know there is never enough time!!!!!) but having your kids see you and participate with you as you live your values is the greatest teaching tool.

My little one ( who loves her political t-shirts from Cuba lol) gets funny stares and occasionally parents have kept their kids away from her, is strong willed as most kids are. I think honesty is key. Don't ignore incidents that happen but explain why someone made such a comment or gave them/you a nasty look.

As for the pledge......I spoke to the teacher about my beliefs from the get and although they may not agree they have to respect . I explained to my girl what the pledge was about and that if she didn't want to she didn't have to say it or learn it or stand up even but she has to stay quiet for those that do.

None of this is easy...I won't front.....but life isn't easy either I guess. lol. Hope I helped.

Good luck

Paz y amor
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#4 of 43 Old 11-23-2001, 07:19 PM
 
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I was feeling the same way (angry and resentful) about the flag for about a month after 9/11 and then decided that *I* - no one else - determine what the flag means to me!! And I let my kids know exactly how I feel about the recent events - including the "terrorists" and the present war. When my daughters who attend a local public school were participating in a school-held "patriotic" parade, I made them t-shirts with peace signs and smiley faces on them and we talked about the reasons for what's happening in the world. I always include a world view in our discussions. But I let them choose how they wanted to participate in the parade (my older daughter decided to wear the peace sign shirt; my younger daughter wanted to go with the red, white, and blue)!!

I believe that all you can do is keep putting your wonderful energy and light out there, and it will be a beacon for others, especially your children!!!!!!
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#5 of 43 Old 11-25-2001, 09:17 PM
 
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Hello Dov,
It's a delicate balance when we try to teach our kids to speak up for themselves and be assertive, but at the same time to respect other people's perspectives and not to be so aggresive so as to endanger themselves. I find myself tackling many of the same issues that you are. I cried with terrible grief when I saw the towers go down on t.v., but I never moved on to the anger that so many are experiencing now. People are bent on retaliation, and even though the anger seems justifiable, there has to be a more evolved way. I have always said that nationalism is a misguided concept. It's terrifying the way Bush keeps talking about the "enemy." Our kids don't have enemies. It's mind numbing the way that people get so righteous about the country where they live. I agree with you - arrogant, tunnel vision, mob mentality is NOT the way to deal with this. The best thing you can do is continue in your respect for yourself and your kids, and they will naturally respect others in return. Is isn't easy. I am involved with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and plan to introduce my son to the world of activism when he's older (I am concerned about his safety and don't feel like it's fair to expose him to the adult realm of confrontational anger when he is so small). Just be strong in your powerful family unit and let your kids know that you will always be there with them.
Peace,
Amie
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#6 of 43 Old 11-27-2001, 06:09 AM
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I agree with psychomama... our flag has as much personal as national meaning. The other day my friend's exhub made some comment to her about having an American swastika on her car. She is typically greenparty girl, but her view on the *war* is this: if the family down the street came into your home and shot at you, would you just ask to talk it out or would you fight back? I am sure this a radically unpoular viewpoint but my point is this; that w/out our flag and the nation it stands for, would we be able to complain/protest/act about? I am very sleepy: this letter may make no sense. By the way at first I was totally angry, pro retaliation, pro war which is SO not me and scares me. I am slightly less sure of my stand now but sheepishly admit that I approve of the job Bush is doing. However, seeing that in print makes me very dizzy... i voted for Nader...:
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#7 of 43 Old 11-27-2001, 02:45 PM
 
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Full disclosure: I am a flag waving, Pledge saying, God loving American woman. That does not mean I am a blood-thirsty, vengeance driven, diversity hating American woman, though.

I ask this in all sincerity... let me stress that this in no way is meant as an attack... just an honest curious question...

Why don't you leave? If you really are uncomfortable about what goes on in our country, if you aren't willing to die for our country or even stand up when others express their willingnesss to do so, if you don't even respect our flag as a symbol of those who have died to protect you, why don't you move to another country?

I'm tolerant... I have room in my peaceableness not to harass anyone who chooses not to fly the flag, etc... I'm just puzzled as to why you don't find a European country that more matches your values. Of course, it needn't be European, I'm just guessing that some of the northern countries have similar value systems.

What is it that is keeping you in a country you don't like? I know that if I lived in a country that I disrespect, like China, I would do all that I could to move.

Edited to add to Dov: I really do not want to sound like I am accusing you of being anti-American. I don't know if you are or not and it's none of my business anyway. I just wanted to seek clarification for my confusion. I hope that that is okay and I apologize if it's not. Friends?
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#8 of 43 Old 11-27-2001, 04:31 PM
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bear w me having trouble posting
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#9 of 43 Old 11-27-2001, 04:53 PM
 
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We don't have a flag on our house or on our car. No one has said anything to me. I am shocked that anyone would assume that the absence of such makes you anti-American. I am a troubled American who often doesn't agree with the direction that our country is going in but I was very angry to have my country attacked. I appreciate that the flag is a symbol for our freedom including the freedom to disagree with our government, however, I don't think that buying a flag made in China is the only way I show my patriotism. I prefer to show my patriotism by participating in educated discourse and actively trying to change this country for the better. I am just surprised that your neighborhood is so ignorant.
I am reminded of when my dad tried to clear up his email junk mail. He started sending people emails asking them to remove him from their mailing lists. He emailed some company that had been sending him patriotic-type emails and the guy wrote back and accused my dad of being a terrorist. He wrote him a really scathing email and told my dad to "rot in hell, you terrorist." Sometimes all you can do is laugh at other people's ignorance.
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#10 of 43 Old 11-27-2001, 07:11 PM
 
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Part of the beauty of being able to live in this country is to be able to hold ones own values and beliefs. There are many many things I don't like about this country, but being asked to leave because of it, I do find offensive.
Sorry merebear, but someone here said the same thing to me on the boards when I was sharing my feelings about this country at war and its leadership etc. It might have been you, but I don't entirely remember.
It has been awhile.
We have the right to wave the flag, or not. But just because we choose not to doesn't mean that we should be asked to leave. I find that very unamerican in fact. What about the firefighter who didn't want to fly the flag on his engine because he doesn't believe in all the values that waving the flag means. He was suspended. I don't think that was fair, OR American. It is hypocrisy. He has a right to his beliefs. This was before they made it mandatory for all emergency vehicles to fly the flag. He chose not to as a personal freedom that living in this country is supposed to offer.
I thought this country was supposed to embrace diversity. Mostly, I find that those who see others with divergent opinions and beliefs are being hypocritical to the freedoms that this country was supposedly founded upon.
Just my two (hot) cents.
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#11 of 43 Old 11-27-2001, 07:44 PM
 
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It's cool, Lunarmomma, it wasn't me.

And, I'm certainly not asking anyone to leave or even suggesting that they should. I'm just truly curious as to why they don't.

Goodness! I am deeply upset that some people are being harassed for their beliefs... even if those beliefs are different from mine. Calling someone a terrorist?! That's awful. I agree with you completely, Lunarmomma, that one of the most wonderful aspects of this country is our right to hold and express different viewpoints.

My question stems from wondering why someone (not necessarily anyone here) would want to stay in a country that they dislike. For instance, China's coercive family planning policies are in direct opposition to my own beliefs. If I lived in China I would try anything to move elsewhere. It wouldn't make much sense for me to stay, kwim?
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#12 of 43 Old 11-27-2001, 08:12 PM
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Lunarmama, re. the fireman...what exactly are the values that flying a flag represent? Are they written down somewhere, or is the right to fly your flag for whatever reasons you see fit less valuable than the right not to fly a flag for whatever reasons you see fit? The beauty of peace and tolerance is not in waving peace banners but in accepting other points of view and not being biased. I know noone is perfect. I chose, in part to fly my flag in mourning for my best friend's brother and all the lives lost 9-11. Friends I have that would never fly a flag at a time like this are doing so not out of "Hey lets go open up a can of whoop-a**" sentiment but out of mourning. Read very closely what Yammer has to say...very intelligent...Yes it was assumptive of merebear to assume that just because you are unhappy with one aspect of your nation that your love for said nation should be questioned, but hey...she has a right to be merebear.
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#13 of 43 Old 11-27-2001, 08:22 PM
 
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Hi mamapie,
The right to fly or not to fly certainly lies with each individual. I suspect there are as many reasons that people are doing it as not. I am not judging those who do, nor do I think someone who chooses not to be punished for it.
For some it gives comfort and solace, solidarity and many more things which support the feeling of being in community. For others, it is more of a war mongering attitude that supports their display.
For other folks (such as the firefighter) the idea of it and the fact that he was being MADE to fly it, over his own CHOICE, was part of what his protest was about. I would have to relay the whole interview with him, which I cannot do now, but he was protesting in part against a war that he did not believe in, against certain values that the government represented to him, which by flying the flag insinuated support for that.
For him, it is supposed to be a free country, and he was not being given the liberty to choose what to do in this particular situation. I oversimplify.
But you get the point.
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#14 of 43 Old 11-27-2001, 09:19 PM
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Point taken.
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#15 of 43 Old 11-27-2001, 11:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Yes it was assumptive of merebear to assume that just because you are unhappy with one aspect of your nation that your love for said nation should be questioned, but hey...she has a right to be merebear.
Oh, thank you ever so much, mamapie.

Yammer, you do raise an interesting point. In fact, maybe you answer my question. The fact that one has major issues with some of a nation's policies certainly doesn't mean that one wants to leave and live elsewhere. I can see that.

However, I think that you are wrong on two points. One, I did not say or imply that "every impulse towards protest and reformation should be converted into a desire to relocate.[/i] Not at all! I do my share of protesting and stumping for reformation, but that doesn't mean that I want to leave. My question about why stay is directed at those who seem to have an inherent dislike of this country... right down to it's very foundation.

I may not like many of the current public policies of America, but I love America. I am so grateful for our freedoms that I would be willing to die for them. I get the impression that some people also value living in a land with these freedoms, but they would not be willing to do what it takes to preserve them.

Secondly, you are being ridiculous (of course, you know that!) about the idea that religious conservatives should move to Afghanistan. Really, Yammer, you are far wittier than that. Do I really even need to address the idea that Christian conservatives might not fare so well there?

Quote:
Constructive dissent is the right -- no, the responsibility -- of every well-informed citizen. An abstract love of country does not obligate one to love its ruling elite, or their policies, symbols, or interests.
I agree with you completely. My puzzlement is reserved only for those who seem to have an intense disdain for this nation. If they want to stay, great. I'm fine with that. Won't see me burning flags on their lawns or sending them nasty emails. I simply am curious to know why they even want to stay. That's all.
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#16 of 43 Old 11-27-2001, 11:41 PM
 
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Well put Yammer. Why don't I leave this country, since I disagree with many of it's govenment sponsored policies and practices? Why would I stay in a country whose flag I refuse to fly and whose pledge of allegiance I have refused to stand for since I was in 7th grade? Because I love many things about this country. I love the beauty of the waterfalls near my home, I love the mountains and the streams and the farms that dot the hillsides (the few that are left), and I love the people. I wouldn't salute any flag, no matter what country was flying it, since I believe that people are more important than governments (no, I do not believe that out government is for the people and by the people, nor do I believe that any government truly is). I don't move to another country because I believe that it is my duty and responsibility to remain here and work very hard to try to make things better, to fight injustice and ignorance, the make a contribution in at least a small way. To simply move to another country because I disagree with some aspects of the U.S. government would be lazy, cowardly and morally wrong. I hope this clears up some of your confusion merebear.
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#17 of 43 Old 11-28-2001, 01:00 PM
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I feel like I was a little rude about the fireman thing... the feeling I expressed was accurate but my tone was not. I would explain myself, but apologies shouldn't have *buts*
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#18 of 43 Old 11-28-2001, 01:09 PM
 
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But I had to reply to the why don't I leave question.

I was born and raised in the US. But I am nor from here. My country ( Puerto Rico ) was invaded in 1898 by the US. My great grandparents were made US citizens without ever being asked if they wanted to. In essence Puerto Rico is a colony from my perspective. So the question is..where would I go to? lol I don't really have a country. I do travel between the US and Puerto Rico and am active in the struggle for indepedence ( peaceful struggle I must add)

A part of me has never felt home in the US, a part of me doen't feel home in Puerto Rico. Its a strange sort of limbo. I actually am considering moving to Chile, where my daughter's dad is from but why don't I leave. Well hmm maybe its an act of protest on my part. I mean hey if the Us wanted Ricans so badly...well no there stuck with us until they let power go.

I;m sure my perspective is not a common one round here so I wanted to share it.

Peace and blessings
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#19 of 43 Old 11-28-2001, 01:21 PM
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My dh is PuertoRicano as well, and I truly enjoy family gatherings and the lively debate that invariably springs up over Puerto Rican independence. THe one thing that makes our nation the greatest of all is the beautiful diversity and conflicting opinions one can find even by just sitting down for dinner. I am proud to be an American and I am proud that even people who don't want to be are because they can say so. Bless you and your struggle to find a home.
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#20 of 43 Old 11-28-2001, 08:41 PM
 
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I agree that we have a responsiblity to stay and help make changes, not run away. I also doubt that there are very many places that have governments that I would want to stand behind anyway. I love the people here and appreciate our physical freedoms but I think in many ways we are not as free as we think. Propaganda is thick, and we get manipulated in so many ways! I do not have any great ideas about protecting your children Dov. For me, I can't stand the idea of sending my children into public school to be labeled as different and wrong. My husband grew up in a very alternative family, and still has pain around how much of an outsider he always was. I am choosing unschooling for my boy, for many other reasons as well (see: "Dumbing us Down: the Hidden Agenda of Compulsory Education). Good luck to you and your family.
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#21 of 43 Old 11-28-2001, 09:12 PM
 
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Youngyogamama, you took the words right out of my fingers! I was just coming here to get back to Dov's original intention, which I think was to get feedback about how to handle it when one's children do things differently from the norm.

And, homeschooling was going to be my answer, too. Although we're coming from different perspectives, I know what it's like to worry about raising my children with different values and how that will effect them in public.


I don't think that young, schooled-aged children are comfortable making such a visible stand when their peers are going a different direction. An older child seems better equiped to fully understand the reasons why it is we do what we do and to accept them for himself. And then act on them in the face of potential conflict.

Until then we are keeping our children in an environment that respects their growing awareness and nurtures them. Later they can take on the world!
:cool:
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#22 of 43 Old 11-28-2001, 09:32 PM
 
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If anyone can find a link to the story about this fireman I would appreciate, but even without reading it I will say this: If the truck in question is the firetruck, it's not his. He doesn't get to say what is done with it in terms of flag or no. The truck is the property of the citizens whose tax money paid for it and its disposition shall be determined by those elected or hired by the citizenry to administrate these things. Political statements he can make on his own time with his personal property.
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#23 of 43 Old 11-29-2001, 05:37 AM
 
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I have to admit I don't really know what to say here, but this topic is important to me. I, like merebear, have questions. I simply want to understand the perspective that is so different from mine. I am the dd of a former marine, who naturalized American after emmigrating here in the '50s. If I lived in America (currently an ex-pat due to dh's job), I'd be a "flag waver". BUT I think a neighborhood treating you, dov, as yours is is terrible, wrong, ridiculous, and ignorant. I also think nasty emails or anything of that nature is terrible...etc. But, I have never understood not saying the pledge, or flag burning, or other anti-American (I don't know what other expression to use as a catch all) action. Everyone knows, including me, that America has many, many problems, so many in fact I think we all wonder at times if we will ever get out of them, but I still feel deep love and pride for my country. As far as Afghanistan- I agree with the person who asked about someone coming into my home with a gun. You can't just ask them to leave, you have to do something. I don't know if the choices made were the right ones. What else would you have had done?
Thank you merebear for your voice in this thread.
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#24 of 43 Old 11-29-2001, 12:12 PM
 
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WOW!! There are some wonderful responses here.

I cringe when I see all the flags everywhere. Why?? I have always had trouble trusting my government. I have always focused on the wrong doings of our nation. Do I think this is a good way to be?? Probably not. I was raised by 2 lefty parents. I think we are all influenced by our childhoods. I have noticed that most children seem to echo the views of their parents. That doesn't mean I would ever suggest that people who fly flags are wrong. They have there rights to do so. I just don't feel that pride. I feel fear most of the time. I am so worried about what acts my country will carry out next!!

I can't ignore all of the terrorist acts that have been carried out by our government. I am very angry about the terrorist attacks against our country. Terrorist monsters killed innocent civilians. You have to understand that America has been carelessly killing innocent people for years. Most Americans do not believe an innocent Iraqi is equal to an innocent American victim. There is a double standard. We do not like to hear any news that our government has killed innocent civilians and in the back of our heads we think "oh well, they were only Iraqis or Afghanis". There will be many more innocents killed soon by our government.
I love our country for many different reasons but, I do not love the people who are controlling our country. I did not vote for ANY of them and I will keep on complaining about them as long as I like. I am allowed to do so because I live in America the land of the free. This is exactly why I started that thread call "Big brother." THese rights I have are being taken away. All of you should be very concerned about what the Bush administration has been up to. Please, go back and read Just Wondering's post titled "More Big Brother". The reason I question our leaders and try to find out information and history of our country is because I love our country. I want our country to become a better place for my children to live in. Thanks for reading. Sorry for grammer and spelling I am in a hurry! marg
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#25 of 43 Old 11-29-2001, 01:13 PM
 
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While there are many things that I dislike about the US, there are many things that I like as well. I'm sure that I could live in any country in the world and find something about which to dissent. One of my favorite things about living in the US is being able to dissent when government or corporate bodies do things to which I am oppossed. I also stay in the US because I see that the behavior of people in the US causes a great deal of the world's problems. I am in a better position to influence the things I find wrong with the US if I continue to live here. Not to mention that all of my family is here and that moving would be a big hassle.

I don't fly the flag because of my religious beliefs. I adhere to Philippians 3:20, which says that a Christian's citizenship is in heaven, not on earth. I consider myself a heavenly citizen rather than a US citizen (I'm merely a resident, not a citizen), so it wouldn't be appropriate for we to wave the US flag. It's an Anabaptist thing; it doesn't matter to me if other people choose to hang their flags.
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#26 of 43 Old 11-30-2001, 01:41 PM
 
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If one is going to fly the flag I wish they would do it correctly.

My hubby is sick of my commenting on it so I'll rant to you guys for a bit. :

I think all this "patriotism" is such a knee-jerk reaction. Born out by the amount of flags I see flying backwards, dragging on the ground, tattered and filthy. It is like a bad joke IMO. If you wish to express yourself by flying the flag at least take a minute to make sure you are doing it right.............

I'm done now, thanks for listening.


edited to add: I'm not flying but I'm driving my MFP poster all around town.:cool:

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#27 of 43 Old 12-04-2001, 03:35 AM
 
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Good point Els 3 Ones, I see flags out all night around here without a light shining on them, and those whimsical banner flags flying higher than the U.S one, too!

Veganmom, a quick question for you. Didn't Jesus also say that a Christian is to obey every authority put over him on earth because it is God who so allows all authority on earth? I am just curious of your take on that.
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#28 of 43 Old 12-08-2001, 01:15 AM
 
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Els' 3 Ones...
You will laugh. My hubby is at least as adamant as you are about proper flag decorum. I run a distant third. Just as I read your post I noticed the sky in the corner of my eye getting darker. "Honey, take Bonnie, I have to run out and grab the flag!"
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#29 of 43 Old 12-15-2001, 05:45 AM
 
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Well said, Artemesia.

I don't leave because if I leave, then there will be one less person working for Peace in this country. The love it or leave it argument is ridiculous. Do you leave your dh the minute he does something you disagree with, do you quit your job the minute it is not perfect, do you abandon your children because of their tantrums? Of course not, you stay and you fix things.

Plus, my family lived on this continent before ANY European settlers arrived, so if anybody should leave, it should be the descendants of the European settlers.
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#30 of 43 Old 12-15-2001, 06:44 PM
 
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Quote:
The love it or leave it argument is ridiculous. Do you leave your dh the minute he does something you disagree with, do you quit your job the minute it is not perfect, do you abandon your children because of their tantrums?
Interesting analogy, Ruth, though I don't think that it holds up. I made a committment to my husband to stay with him even when he does things that bug me. Not to mention the fact that I love him dearly. I don't get a sense of love or even fondness from the anti-American crowd. Besides, if my husband did the kinds of things that the anti-Americans accuse our country of doing, then yes, I would leave him. Commit attrocities? Feed me nothing but lies? See ya, babe!

If you dislike your job to the point that you don't trust anyone you work with, you find the behavior of your boss and the morals of your company repugnant then I do think it's time to find a new job.

There's no real point in pointing out the differences between my children's tantrums and the policies of my government. Apples and oranges. That reminds me... I'm hungry. Gotta run!
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