On My Wife, Buying A Flag

My wife and 16 year old daughter went to the mall this evening. On the way home they stopped at WalMart to buy an American flag. It was my wife's idea. Even though I'm a military veteran, we've never owned one. They were sold out.

My wife is an apolitical person. She was never caught up in the patriotism of the Gulf War, so it surprised me a bit. An hour or so later she mentioned a co-worker of hers; the co-worker has a half-dozen flags flying at home. The co-workers' husband is extremely patriotic, a police detective, and - according to my wife - an embarassing bigot.

Then she pulled out a computer printout of an old Canadian radio editorial, America: The Good Neighbor, the co-worker had given to her. I was familiar with it. It was all about how we Americans are great neighbors and how we've done so much for everyone. I understood where the sudden burst of patriotism came from.

I told her to go into the computer room and read the article up on the screen. It was, They can't see why they are hated1, an editorial from the English newspaper The Guardian. Then I had her read signed, confused in Wisconsin, a node I had written earlier in the day -- before I'd seen The Guardian piece.

She was angry. Not at me, but at the American news media. "Why don't they tell us these things?" She asked me. I told her it's worse than that, that virtually every country in south and central america has had a dictator or repressive government in the last 50 years that we've either put in place or supported. It's not just the muslims of the Middle East who hate us.

She wasn't very happy. She wasn't comfortable reading that material. Who can blame her? We'd much rather not know. I don't know what she'll say to her co-worker tomorrow, but I don't think she'll stop to buy a flag.