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Barack Obama got in hot water last week for discarding his American flag lapel pin.

There’s only one problem. This is not news. This is rhetorical fodder, dumbing down the level of discourse on American politics. But the internet has enough little cracks and crevices to foster the seeds of intelligible debate. Take this Bill Neikirk blog from the Baltimore Sun. The article is o.k. in itself, but the comments are gems. Aside from the occasional GFY (go f*ck yourself), some valid points are made by readers. One such point is the Flag Code.

The Flag Code is actually Title 4 of the U.S. Code, making it federal law. It states, “The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding or drapery.” Can’t be much clearer than that. If anything, the Flag Code is more newsworthy than Barack Obama’s personal statement on lapel pins. Jim Brossard clearly knows the code.

Although nativism is not truly news either. It is more a social current than news, but the fact remains that Mexican flags flying above Old Glory is worth talking about more than how unpatriotic Barack Obama is because he will not follow the herd. Mindless fodder for mindless people.

Pandering behind a facade of patriotism is being a fake soldier. Even worse is being a media pundit that tees off on someone for something that is not worth talking about. It obfuscates real debate. But maybe the plan all along has been to anesthetize the American public, to stifle critical thinking. At least some thought is brewing, occasionally bubbling up online.

Real freedom is questioning the motivation and intent of your government, not chattering about some crazy quote from Ann Coulter.

An easily mollified populace is one that does not think about the how or the why. Until people engage in real conversation, rather than gab about Dina and Michael Lohan’s divorce proceedings, America will continue to stagnate. So read a book, have a discussion with a co-worker that has differing political beliefs. Do anything you can to get past the gruel put out by journalists today.

Although, to be honest, I’d love to party with Ms. Lohan………


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