Re “Our flag represents our ideals” (Opinions, March 11) exemplifies an ignorant brand of patriotism that encourages willful historical blindness.
Yes, the U.S. was born in an anticolonial rebellion that its leaders justified in terms of ideals of equality and rights. But let’s consider some other truths. Those same leaders – white male elites – consciously marginalized the voices of women, blacks, indigenous Americans and those without property. By 1791, the U.S. was sending arms to an embattled French government seeking to retain control over the colony that soon became the Republic of Haiti. After aiding Cuba and the Philippines to escape Spanish colonial rule in 1898, the U.S. immediately curtailed Cuban sovereignty through the Platt Amendment and forcibly reduced the Philippines to a half century of colonial status. And one would have to sleep deeply through history class or be willfully blind to U.S. imperialism to miss the Vietnam debacle.
Therefore, while the U.S. flag represents noble ideals to many, it represents to many others unattractive realities and questionable applications of U.S. power. In the light of history, neither view can simply be labeled “wrong.”
I’m troubled that a would-be opinion-maker has, let alone attempts to spread, such a simplistic view. Wake up!
Bret Carroll, Turlock