Take back the flag

Dr. Mark Lorenzato is an on-call doctor for Northstate emergency rooms.

The political left and middle path have allowed the stealthy abduction of the American flag by the political right to pass without resistance. The flag is a powerful symbol, and symbols are a powerful part of the thought and emotional base of each of us. Few strategic goals are as obvious and without hazard as a campaign to take back the flag. We all deserve to own it as our symbol.

My goal today is to impress on you the need for the political left and middle path to take back the flag of the United States from the conservative right. To each individual, the flag and other symbols of faith, security, power and belonging have unique interpretations that define part of his or her personality and beliefs. Drama, justice, love and loyalty are tempered and governed by faith and conviction and are malleable by symbols.

The Bush administration instills paranoia in the populace and offers symbolic illusions of security, faith and belonging. The administration waves the flag with the message: “Feel belonging, faith and security in the flag.” And “We (the administration) represent the flag.”

America has great benevolent and destructive power. For power to maintain itself, it must be a blend of material power and power founded in responsible materialism in harmony with ecological and economic forces and spiritual buoyancy. Capitalism as modified by the advertising and entertainment industries creates powerful forces maintaining narcissistic traits in individuals and society. Individuals with strong narcissistic traits are more likely to be lacking in compassion, to be irresponsible materialists, jealous, controlling, rigid and emotionally insecure in their feeling of belonging to our nation. They cannot effectively use intellectualization tempered by judgment in decision-making. They can be very vulnerable to symbolic manipulation. The power of the flag can catalyze their emotional support, influencing public opinion and the outcome of elections.

Unless the left and middle paths move to identify with the flag, the administration of George Bush will maintain the illusion that he does represent the flag. Despite his position in our democracy, the president and his administration represent the American flag no more then I do myself.

Together, my friends, we can offer a new sense of belonging to those individuals who in the past have been disinclined to fly the flag because it is a symbol of the political right. Fly it because it is a symbol of the political left and middle pathway. Then, when the flag is flown by the right, its symbolic interpretation will be our own.

The end result is to neutralize a tactic of the right by taking back the flag. Can we afford not to do this?