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02/16/2006 Archived Entry: "Mandating a symbol of freedom"

This article from the Arizona Republic: Bill would put flags in all classrooms by 2007. "The state House Committee on Universities, Community Colleges and Technology has approved a bill requiring public schools and universities around Arizona to hang an American flag in every classroom by July 1, 2007. The bill would also mandate that all public and charter schools as well as community colleges and universities buy American-made flags that are at least 2 by 3 feet. The sponsor of the bill, Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said this was being done in an effort to raise the level of patriotism that has been steadily declining over the years. 'We live in a time when we need to recognize our heritage,' he said Tuesday during the committee hearing. 'The flag is a symbol of freedom, and we need to protect that'."

Does no one else see the gut-wrenching irony of legally mandating a symbol of freedom? Or of punishing those who do not 'honor' that symbol of freedom in the legally required manner....that is, those who do not buy from an American company and or do not hang it according to government specifications (at least 2 by 3 feet and in every room)? Without intending to do so, the article got one thing right. The presence of the flag may raise the level of patriotism but it will do so at the cost of genuine freedom. That 'trade-off' is a predictable outcome of patriotism.

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