What is it with the POW-MIA flags?

When I left the United States in the late 1980s, the POW thingy was something that I associated with Chuck Norris movies and exploitive hucksters. But now whenever I go back to visit my family, I notice these things all over the place in front of courthouses, in parks, wherever.

It pisses me off, because it seems so saccharine-stupid, so full of fake patriotism. It reeks of those who still think we shouldn’t have stopped feeding the meat grinder known as the Vietnam War. After all, who are the POW’s from the wars after that? And what pisses me off even more is that no politician has the guts to state that the emperor has no clothes. So here my little rant, and my statement: the emperor has no clothes. The POW-MIA flag is an empty platitude, and has outworn its welcome that I never gave it.

As near as I can tell, it’s a family-BBQ-friendly, non-political way of declaring your 'Murican-ness. So bikers and grandmas, mostly. Pickup fondlers and other more radicalized types flew the Confederate Flag, though that has become so confrontational recently that it’s only the really hardcore dipshits who continue trying to make it a thing. The rest have traded the Confederate flag for the yellow Gadsden flag or a giant NRA (NASCAR branding is more opaquely coded) sticker. The Gadsden is still directly political but in a coded way, and isn’t blatantly racist. Like the POW-MIA flag, the Gadsden isn’t red-white-blue, but it’s still “national” and has roots directly in Bircherite insanity.

The POW-MIA flag is more like the British poppy, only as if they put it on a flag and flew it every day. It might be annoying, but there’s worse, more fascist ways of declaring that you are 'Murican. In rural areas, declaring for 'Murica is vital to being part of the community. Be gentle?

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Thank you for the reply, but it doesn’t really placate me. It just seems like something that crept up and took over, but then again I grew up in Iowa and New Hampshire, and went to Germany with the Army just in time to miss Newt Gingrich’s wackiness. I suppose the thing that irks me the most is the stench of profiteering that I get from the flag, and can’t shake the feeling that it exists thanks to con men exploiting the grief of those who lost someone in Vietnam. Fnord.

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Try not to ruminate on your distaste of it and waste your energy, but use that energy and your distaste and sense of profiteering to find a source of greater evil. Like “what made the war? who funded it? who paid for it or did it only result in inflation?”. Follow the money.

Sometimes when you smell a rat and get closer to the source of it, you can make a new reality for yourself.

When faced with realities that are too big for people to wrap their heads around or feel empowered towards, they tend to focus on what they feel they can change.

Even if you can wrap your head around things and feel empowered, there’s only so much you can do at a time. ‘Be gentle’ is excellent advice.

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How strange - I hardly ever see one, maybe every few years. Instead of speculating on what they mean to their owners, why not ask?

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