Monday, February 27, 2006

This is America?

We’ve all seen little kids crying and then someone says something to them that makes them sort of smile in the midst of their tears. Well that’s what New Orleans looked like to me this weekend as they smiled during Mardi Gras. The celebration was happy and sad at the same time. They had to have Mardi Gras to keep some sort of sanity in their lives and to remind them of better days. Sadly when the celebration is over the tears will remain.

I have lived on this street for a lot of years. The gentleman at the end of the street had a tall flagpole, and all these many years he has flown the American flag proudly from the top of that flagpole. The pole endured hurricanes Frances, Rita and most recently Wilma. As soon as was possible after each hurricane the American flag was raised. That flagpole seemed to stand in defiance of nature’s strength. It seems it was as strong as the country represented by its flag.

Yesterday during gusts of wind and rain something happened. The flagpole fell. It still lays there and the flag is now withered and tired as it quietly mixes with grass and shrubs. While the pole appeared to stand strong and tall,, at the base it was rusting and losing its strength. There were weaknesses that were only visible with close inspection.

The gentleman who lives there is too frail to move the flagpole, so I don’t know when the flag will be removed and the pole taken away. That flagpole will never bear another flag.

Just like that flagpole, our country has endured many a storm and strife. We have survived everything hurled at us over this short history of ours. No matter what trials and tribulations, we have always endured. Most of us expect we always will. But just as nothing more than moderate winds toppled that tired old flagpole yesterday, I fear that there may be some weaknesses in our country that make us susceptible to total failure.

When we see the ruin and disaster in New Orleans so many months after Katrina I can’t help but wonder if we’re seeing another symbol of our country that is now in sad disrepair. Just as the flagpole looked strong to the casual viewer, it had growing weaknesses below the surface. It would seem that New Orleans and other areas of the Gulf Coast are glaringly exposing the growing weaknesses of our country.

That old flagpole will probably remain where it now lies for weeks to come. It may never be replaced. If something isn’t done quickly the same thing may be said of many areas of New Orleans and many parts of the Gulf Coast. Unlike that flagpole, the damage and deterioration of our country is plainly visible. We can see where failure exists and without repair, the rust that eats away and is allowed to erode the Gulf Coast area could spread as this next hurricane season approaches.


Blogger Chancelucky said...

what a great metaphor both for Katrina and what our flag is supposed to symbolize. Very nicely written.

February 27, 2006 9:20 AM  
Blogger pissed off patricia said...

Thank you, chancelucky. Thank you so much

February 27, 2006 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Peacechick Mary said...

Well written and true, so true.

February 27, 2006 12:45 PM  
Blogger poopie said...

It makes me sad beyond words. There is no thrill in seeing the die-hards finally realize that they were wrong...only sorrow that the damage to our country has been so devastating.

February 28, 2006 10:21 AM  
Anonymous ds said...

POP, my grandfather built a flag pole in our front yard decades ago. He flew the American flag every day -- put it up at dawn, took it down at dusk. Had he lived past 9/11, he would have had no respect for the people who suddenly found patriotism and bought magnetic flags for their cars and cheap flags on sticks that were treated without the honor he felt the flag deserved.

Is there someone in your neighborhood who can help that man rebuild his flagpole or at least clean it up so as not to be dishonoring the flag by leaving it on the ground every day? It sounds as if he has a true respect in the patriotic beliefs for which the flag stands. He's probably horrified that he's too frail to take care of it.

February 28, 2006 11:05 AM  

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