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An Immodest Proposal

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The United States Flag (otherwise and also known as Old Glory or The Stars and Stripes or The Star-Spangled Banner or That Damned Rag) should be flown at half-mast at all times on all federal and state buildings indefinitely for the reasons stated below:

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1. There is no foreseeable end to tragic events involving firearms such as mass killings on school campuses and in other supposedly safe public gathering places as long as the NRA controls the means to impact and/or affect the outcomes of these aforementioned tragic circumstances.

2. Famous and honorable people (like all people) must eventually die, and will always continue to do so whether they are honored by a half-mast flag or not.

3. The cost and effort of constantly raising and lowering the flag from half- to full-mast is placing an undue burden on citizens and flag raisers.

4. A flag flying below the summit on a pole (which in many countries is seen as a symbol of respect, mourning, distress, or, in some cases, a salute) is possibly the emptiest gesture on the planet, and therefore by flying the flag at half-mast at all times the countrywomen and stateswomen and loyal jingoistic patriots and carpenters and Fuller-brush salesman and your ordinary headline skimmers and/or well-informed denizens and other un-united workers of the world alike will not be lost searching for meaning in the tragedies that have befallen the country on an almost daily basis, and can go back to distracting themselves with what they want to hear and think about the country that they live in, believing that resigning oneself to a continual state of mourning the dead is better than having to ponder over what specific tragedy has unfolded on that particular day.

5. It is widely held that aesthetically all flags look better at half-mast.

6. People have stopped caring about the common ground they hold with others, the sadness and devastation they all might share if they were not constantly bickering with each other about politics and other nonsensical matters; and so the fact of signifying some calamitous event’s occurrence for all the nation’s people to respectfully mourn together with a symbol has been made obsolete and somewhat lame.

7. An app has been created to display an image of the US flag at half-mast on people’s phones at any time they feel it is suitable, or it can be set to display only when authorized by an executive order (or presidential tweet) if the user so wishes. It is called Halfsty, and can be downloaded for free at the iTunes store.

8. The design of the original US flag was stolen from the British East India Company, who were not exactly the greatest group of guys ever; and the first designer of the stars-and-stripes version of the flag was only paid a “Quarter Cask of the Public Wine” to do so. And so; from The Union Jack to Hopkinson’s six-pointer constellation to Betsy Ross’s circle to The Fort Sumter Diamond to The Wagon Wheel, and all the myriad variants on the way up from 13 to 50 stars; really there’s no great reason to have so much respect for whatever’s currently being done with that red-white-and-blue banner in the first place.

9. The answer to the question, “If a flag is flown at half-mast and nobody notices does it really matter if that flag is flown at half-mast all the time, and does that flag then exist, and if it does not, or if it matters not whether it does nor does not, then there really is no flag at all, and nobody cares, right?” has been made irrelevant by whatever the latest addictive and fashionable technological trend happens to be.

10. Interest has waned in public displays of grief.

11. The whole country is already in a constant state of mourning as it is over the complete usurpation of its moral values, its ethics, its leadership, its standing in the world as a bastion of freedom by some cheap-shit hucksters who wish nothing except to make money for themselves (which has become The American Way, as it were, by the way, anyway) and care not for the people whom they are supposed to be representing. And if this con job of politics is really going to be let to run its course, well, then a constant state of mourning seems at once appropriate and unavoidable.

12. It’s been too long a time since I’ve had a decent scotch.

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