Friday, May 7, 2010

On Wearing the American Flag

Some are born to nonconformity, some achieve nonconformity, and some have nonconformity thrust upon them.

Malvolio didn't say that, but only because it didn't serve Bill Shakespeare's dialogue in the play.

I reflect on the sheer unexpectedness of this role. Obviously, some of us go out of our way to be different: by dressing differently, acting differently, releasing on-line our own sex videos, and doing other things that, as long as not too many other people also do it, makes them "different." And, yes, some of us are naturally different because they don't really have a clue as to how they are seen. The typical dork falls into this category. Now these are typically nice boys; but they don't understand how other people see their unusual dress or their strange interests. (In a word, this simply reflects that many people are intolerant judgmental bastards.) And there are some brave souls who are well aware of the intolerant consensus; but choose to defy it. These are truly what makes this country great.

But then there's the ones that have nonconformity fall in their laps. Case in point: five boys at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, California were suspended for wearing American flags on their clothing! To fill in the context, it was Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day. But last I've queried, California is still part of the United States.

My thought, on reading the story, was "They're being punished because they were pulling some old fuddy-dud's chain. Don't piss the principal off!"

By, upon further reflection, I thought, "Hey, this IS the You Ess of Ay! Wearing our flag is protected speech!" And I reflected vile oaths on that principal.

But then it dawned on me: Ol' Principal punished himself. He disobeyed the Eleventh Commandment of Administrators: Thou Shalt Not Look Ridiculous.

He did. As a matter of fact, he looked like a real dick.

As if to reinforce my epiphany, I read this news item:

"The five boys and their families met with a Morgan Hill Unified School District official Wednesday night. The district and the school do not see eye-to-eye on the incident and released the following statement:

The district does not concur with the Live Oak High School administration's interpretation of either board or district policy related to these actions."

The boys will not be suspended and were allowed to return to school Thursday. We spotted one of them when he got to campus -- and, yes, he was sporting an American flag T-shirt.

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