Sunday, June 14, 2009

Happy Flag Day

June 14th is Flag Day here in the US. This year is the 232nd anniversary of the adoption of "The Stars and Stripes" as our national flag and it was in 1916 that President Woodrow Wilson established this day into national observance.
I am not a "flag waver" myself, nor do I go around with "my flag on my sleeve", so to speak. I speak out whole-heartedly against my government when I believe they've make a mistake. I give any sitting president "the razzberry" when he does something that I believe is unfitting his office. So maybe that makes me the truest kind of patriot to this particular flag. It's that flag that gives me the right to have an opposing opinion from the leaders in my government. It's that flag and the constitution it represents that gives me the right to think freely. That flag, that government which we established and run, is the best we as a species has come up with yet. There are lots of folks who abuse the freedoms this flag stand for. But it's theirs as well as it is mine. It's the freedoms that this flag gives them, that gives them latitude to abuse. And the freedoms it gives us to stop them. I like this flag. I salute this flag. Others salute her to, who I don't agree with, but this flag gives them as much right to do so as I have. If we can all just remember that it's not this tri-colored piece of cloth that is sovereign. This is an icon only. What it represents is something that is worth caring for and nurturing.
Today would have been Burl Ives' 100th birthday. Burl is the celebrity whom I am said to most resemble...
...but I'm not sure if I look like Ives more or Sam the Snowman.
Burl had a long and achievement filled career. He was one of the first folk singers to cross over into the mainstream and he was an Academy Award winning movie star. In later years he crossed into mainstream country music and sang one of my all-time favorite rhymes :
"Little White Duck, floating in the water,
Little White Duck, doing what he oughter"...
He crossed over into television drama ("The Bold Ones" 1969-72), he appeared in Disney films ("So Dear to My Heart" 1948) and in a James Dean film based on a John Steinbeck novel ("East of Eden" 1955).
In 1950 though, he got dirty.
He was said to have communist party ties by "the-house-on-un-American-activities-whodjawhatsis". You'll notice I didn't bother getting their name right or to capitalize it. Little Joey McCarthy and his witch hunt cronies are the type of people I mentioned above whom I don't agree with and am happy to belittle with every chance I get.
Ives was what that body called "co-operative" and in exchange for leaving him alone was said to have named others in his industry who he thought were connected to communist subversives.
Was he really trying to nail subversives? Was he just a working guy trying to not be black-balled and watch out for his own neck by misdirection? What would you do in his place? At any rate, his performance before the Senate caused a personal rift between himself and his fellow folk singers, most notably Pete Seeger whom he reportedly fingered.
Jimmy crack corn...and I don't care!
Joe McCarthy was a big sack of BS and his committee was a waste of American tax dollars and more importantly, a waste of human energy. None of the sh*t he stirred up was worth anything. But Burl Ives' music and the smiles it put on peoples faces has a worth that is immeasurable. The connection a creative person makes with even ONE other human that stirs any emotion is worth 10,000 tiny brained politicians.
41 years later Pete Seeger joined Burl Ives on stage to duet on "Blue Tailed Fly". Jimmy crack corn and Pete and Burl and I don't care. Happy birthday Burl.

And before I go for the day...a new semi regular feature:
If you see the weekly DB anywhere over the next week, give him/her a big "Douche-Bag" shout out. Remember, your flag says you can.

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