This brief passage was written by Charlotte Aldebron in 2002, when she was a 6th grader in Presque Island, Maine.
Her teacher, who evidently believes in Bush-style patriotism, told the twelve-year old that she was unpatriotic. Personally, I think the kid has a point.
WHAT THE AMERICAN FLAG STANDS FOR
"The American flag stands for the fact that cloth can be very important. It is against the law to let the flag touch the ground or to leave the flag flying while the weather is bad. The flag is to be treated with respect. You can tell just how important this cloth is because when you compare it to people, it gets much better treatment. Nobody cares if a homeless person touches the ground. A homeless person can lie on the ground all night long without anyone picking him up, folding him neatly and sheltering him from the rain.
School children have to pledge loyalty to this piece of cloth every morning. No one has to pledge justice and equality and human decency. No one has to promist that people will get a fair wage, or enough food to eat, or affordable medicine, or clean water, or air free of harmful chemicals. But we all have to promise to love a rectangle of red, white, and blue cloth. Betsy Ross would be quite surprised to see how successful her creation has become. But Thomas Jefferson would be disappointed to see how little of the flag's real meaning remains."