Thursday, March 12, 2015

Waving the Flag

This past week one of our state universities - UC Irvine - made the news.  The initial reports told how the student government had voted to remove the American flag and other flags from the campus.  The attempt to remove the flag was seen by the student government as a way of encouraging cultural inclusion.  The blurb was fairly vague, and after reading it I was still not really sure of why and how this was happening.  And even though I'm far from being an "America can do no wrong" patriot, I was perplexed by the decision to remove the flag.  The flag is flown at all public institutions including schools that are funded by the government.  It's a law!  A student government vote couldn't change that, could it?!?!
Clicking beyond my homepage's newsfeed, what had actually happened became a little clearer.  In fact, the students legislative body voted to pass a resolution (written by one student) to remove the flags from their student government offices, not from the campus.   The resolution stated that the flag, having been flown on occasion as an act of imperialism, was not a sign of welcome to all students, and that removing it from their offices would be a symbol of becoming more inclusive of the student body.   Executive Cabinet still had to approve it, which they reportedly had no intention of doing.
This all took place on Friday.  By Saturday the story had spread across the country, and that's when the sh*! hit the fan.  The "news" outlets reported the story and posted it on their websites and social media...and cue the vile and hateful response.  Threats were and are being made to the University and the students involved in voting for the resolution, angry protests have been staged, and the comment sections on the stories are filled with all sorts of outrage.  And as I digest it all, it frustrates me.  Whether one agrees with their proposed resolution or not (and for the record this bleeding heart liberal didn't agree with the proposed resolution), the students' actions (free speech, voting on an issue, wanting to embrace all ethnicities) are the very actions the US flag is supposed to symbolize.  Threatening violence towards a group of students who are questioning the system (college students are supposed to do that) is disgusting.
And now, the state of California's legislative powers are proposing a constitutional amendment that will put a ban on banning the flag at public school.  Hmmmm, if I remember correctly, there's already a federal law requiring it to be flown at public schools, so adding this amendment will be putting our tax dollars to great (read redundant) use!
This country's biggest downfall is that we are reactive rather than proactive.  It so often seems we have blinders on to the overarching issues that are broken and/or outdated while focusing on small, knee jerk reactions.  I find it appalling that this is what outrages folks.  Where is the outrage over our mental health care (or lack thereof) in this country?  Where is the outrage over the reported yet not prosecuted violent crimes against women on college campuses?  Where is the outrage over hundreds of school teachers who were laid off this week due to budget cuts?  Where is the outrage over equal pay for equal work?  Flying a flag or not flying a flag has no bearing on the success or failure as a country.  The flag is a symbol of that success - whatever we make that out to be.
This flag ban at UC Irvine should have been a non-issue.  It was going to resolve itself.  Turning it into one took valuable time and effort away from many other more pressing matters.  Which is unfortunate.

8 comments:

  1. I think your comment on being reactive rather than proactive hits the nail right on the head. Who do I blame for this? I place a lot of the blame on the media and the need to fill the airwaves 24/7. Sure, there are times something needs to be snapped up and shared with the rest of the world, but so much is just "filler" and of no real merit. Also, too much of our "news" is given in sound bites which people run with, never bothering to get the full story (as you did by following the link to learn more). And, as with so many other "news stories", there will be e-mails about this circulating for months (or possibly years), full of misinformation. *sigh*

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    1. I do agree with you. While there are still some respectable news reports out there, they aren't the norm anymore. Our attention spans are waning and they are reporting to the lowest common denominator I'm afraid, and often they're even the ones doing the reporting anymore. Misinformation and the utter lack of caring about the truth along with being run by people who have a horse in the race are the downfall of our news (and quite possibly our society.)

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  2. I think for someone outside the US this one is both vastly easier and incomparably harder to address.
    I can see what it is and why it is, the factual bits. The ones I miss are the emotional ones.
    But I do get the nutters. I do understand why they are so quick on the draw, and I do get just how easy it is to push their buttons by the media. And frankly this one is a case of never allowing the truth to get in the way of a good story.
    The one I found lately far more difficult was where the baby was being hammocked by her father in the flag and the photographer was outright attacked over it. Oh, both the photographer and the kids dad were Navy. http://ktla.com/2015/03/12/navy-veterans-photo-of-newborn-baby-being-held-in-american-flag-prompts-criticism-support/

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    1. (Shakes head)
      The only thing worse than the state of our news, is social media. People are vicious when protected by their computer screen. The fact that there's even a FB page called, "So You Call Yourself a Photographer" just proves how hateful people can be. It makes me want to start one called, "You call yourself a person"!!!
      It would be a good sociological study to see if the "jerk" behavior is a product of social media or were those people always jerks and now they have a platform for it. Ironically, social media is making people less social in real life and creating an inconsiderate society.
      Grrrrr! It makes me upset to read stuff like this.

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  3. So glad I missed it all!
    Parent conferences, picking up my husband during my lunch since the ride share program was not available, CKA Committee meeting, taxes....it was so crazy I never got online.

    Have a great brand new week....stay cool...I hear it has been "summer" already!

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    1. Yah, it was an air conditioner day today. I think it's official...socal no longer has winter as a season. It's been two, maybe three, years since we've had any semblance of one.
      I'd probably be a much happier person if I were more less concerned about current events, but I'm too curious. ;)
      We have conferences starting Friday into next week and then...spring break! Woot! Woot!

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  4. It is ridiculous how much time people waste on stupid things like these... all the protesting and anger wasted... when there are so many far more important matters out there that could use some of that energy.

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    1. Yep! I agree. "Our" priorities are out of whack!

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