Flag tatoos. Flags on your mom's car. Flag pins on the label of your boss' jacket. People who took their poodles for a patriotic haircut. An entire industry was created around the sudden demand for flags. Companies jumped on the bandwagon with thickly patriotic-sounding promotions and products.(Jeep branded it's new car Liberty, for instance; it was originally going to replace the Cherokee. Internally, before 9/11, it was called the "KJ platform.")

But why? Why were the majority of us thickly sarcastic of our government, our country, and patriotism in general on 9/10/2003, and then on 9/12/2003, we turned into a bunch of flag-waving head-nodders?

Fear.n Fear is the reason.

Everyone was afraid of the next House Un-American Activities Committee like we had in 1977. No one wanted to be accused either socially or legally of being a potential terrorist. Critics nation-wide suddenly felt fearful that their neighbors would turn on them. Innocent people were rounded up and put into a concentration camp (ala Camp X-Ray/Camp Delta). (The are still there, by the way, after over two years of being wrongly imprisoned.) We freely let the freedoms that we claim to hold dear be violated and walked all over, the freedoms this country was founded on, the freedoms that just over 200 years ago men fought to gain, because we were afraid. We The People bent over and took it up the ass.

So now things are quieting down. We can come back out and start looking at the government objectively again. We don't have to stand "shoulder-to-shoulder." The shock of this "unprecedented" event (which had been preceded by other events, throughout our nation's history) has finally worn off.

And another thing that has been worn off by time and nature are all the little flags that had been mass-purchased. Surprise, that 5 dollar flag didn't hold up very long. Actually, it probably held out longer than the purchaser's feigned patriotism.

So now there's a new, more-patriotic-than-thou movement. People dug out and blew the dust off the US Flag Code, and are now angry at all the worn and torn flags everywhere, pointing the "Look! He's not really patriotic!" finger at any person who hasn't replaced his flag. Now either:

A. Holy shit, they are still scared of HUAC returning from the dead.

B. They really are that anal and patriotic.

C. These people really need to get a life.

D. All of the above.

I mean, they are missing the whole point. All of those flag wavers were never patriotic in the first place. If they were, they would have had the flag on their SUV BEFORE they felt that having it was a necessity in order to fit in with all their yuppie golf buddies.

There are a few misconceptions that I'd like to discuss about the flag code. It's not a law. It's a code of etiquette, just like keeping your elbows off the table. Its proper manners to fold the flag in triangles, but if you fold it up like a beach towel and keep it in your garage until the next Independence Day, then who cares, really?

But these people care--because there IS such a thing as a flag code, and they have nothing better to do than try to police it.

Let's talk about flags.

A flag is a symbol. A flag is not the thing it represents.

Just like my signature does not represent me. If you burn something with my signature on it, or tear it up, or stomp on it, I will still be here the next day. (And I'd probably laugh at you, actually.)

It's the same thing with a flag. It's a piece of cloth.

This is the problem with symbols; people start valuing the symbol more than the symbol's meaning.

The most patriotic thing that we can do is keep our government in check. If anyone actually took the time to READ the Declaration of Independence, or any other parts of the US Constitution beyond the Bill of Rights, you'd know that's exactly what we are supposed to do. We aren't supposed to ask the government how we should act, we should be telling them how we want to be governed.

Sigh.... VOTE... VOTE... VOTE!!!

EVERY SINGLE LIBERAL IN THIS COUNTRY WHO IS OF VOTING AGE BETTER GET THEIR ASS TO THE VOTING BOOTH THIS YEAR AND GET THIS ASSHOLE OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE. Going out and raging in the streets after the election results didn't go the way you had hoped because you were sitting on your hands November 2nd doesn't do one lick of good.

You want activism? Why? Because you like the sound of looting and raging against cops? You want to take direct action, you get your ass to that goddamn voting booth and do something that actually matters, because to the guys in the limos who you are shouting at, you are just riff raff who's opinion doesn't really matter. Because you didn't vote.

The conservatives have us beat, because they view it like a fucking mission from god to go hit those switches. Well, now you have a fucking mission. I'm not asking you to Rock the Vote or some MTV bullshit.

Get educated about it, make the wise decision. I don't care if you decide the best judge in your area ISN'T the guy who's waving the donkey flag. Just get in there and vote. Vote with wisdom, vote with caution, and goddamn it, encourage other people to do the same. You don't have to get into politics and CONVINCE anyone WHO to vote for. But you should certainly convince people TO vote, and moreover, make an EDUCATED vote.

And you should start right fucking now. By Mark Milley

With the approaching election, and a completely polarized nation, now might be a good time to take a trip down memory lane….

Let's go back to…uh…9/11: Everyone and their cousin were anxious to out do each other with the flag waving.

They were everywhere.