America of 51 flags

July 6, 2009

Somewhere, someone wrote about Europe of a thousand flags. Cannot, for the life of me, track down where such a phrase came from. The point is immaterial, the reason I bring it up is in reference to D’s last post. The phrase refers to the past, when local dukedoms, free towns, monarchies, democratic villages, and city-states were the general tone of Europe. Before the monarchies and (later) republics began to amalgamate such self-ruling localities into dependent provinces.

In response to D’s exit question: so long as the populace is complacent in accepting the “glitz and glam” of D.C. and ignoring the “pettiness” of their state government (to say nothing of their county and city), then no, such Senators are immune. If, however, we can revive that wonderful and peculiar love of a specific place (e.g. your neighborhood), then perhaps such senators would be under a popular recall so fast, they would get whiplash from the plane trip home.

Perhaps the way forward is rekindle the pride and love of local places. Our European ancestors often took surnames based on their ancestral village. Our American forefathers were adamant about being first Virginians and only then Americans. The reason is because Virginia, or better yet, Richmond, is real. That is, a man can look around and build up Virginia, if only by building up his home, his business or trade, his neighborhood, and city. If a horde of West Virginians were to suddenly march against Richmond (a la Napoleon of Notting Hill), Richmond is defensible. America is a castle in the sky.

America, in this regards, is a hazy abstraction and a collection. Until we realize that what is real in our everyday lives (keeping our eyes, for the moment, on the immanent side of things) is that which we can touch, see, and effect. America, as such, is well represented by the fireworks many of us witnessed this weekend. It is a grand show: written across the sky in brilliant colors and thunderous claps. But what is real is the people we witness the pyrotechnics with, the field in which we sit, the family and friends we love, and the city (be it a village of 100 or a city of 100,000) around us.

America is a hypothesis. It is a grand experiment, for sure, and I do not denigrate it as such. What I mean to point out is, quite simply what matters in our everyday lives is the local scene where we spend 95% of our time. In that regards, why do not we as a citizenry begin to demand our local government (primarily the State, as cities and counties derive their authority from there) to take up responsibility and shrug off the behemoth of the national government, except where it is needed? In that same light, when do we as a citizenry (emphatically NOT consumers) begin to support our local businesses over and above the corpulent corporations?

California is real. If it accepts a federal bail-out, then it will lose any remaining truth and pretense of being governed by Californians. It will fall to the degraded status as a mere province of D.C.

I entitled this post America of 51 flags (Porto Rico- run!). Perhaps what I really meant was America of 3192 flags.

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One Response to “America of 51 flags”

  1. […] by ‘drewbiedoo’, when in reality, Christopher wrote “And yet…“, “America of 51 Flags“, “Intelligence and Multiple Intelligences” and “Family“ Posted […]

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