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FLAG DEBATE IGNORES REAL PROBLEMS

How many people have you seen recently burning or otherwise abusing the American flag?

This continuing flap over flag desecration is nothing short of obscene, considering all the real and serious problems of survival we in the United States ought to be addressing.

The most basic function of any country -- education of its citizens -- is at an all-time low. Consequently, we face increasing damage -- perhaps destruction -- of our environment as result of overpopulation and pollution. Medical costs and coverage are out of control; thousands of our citizens are jobless, hungry and homeless. Lack of skill and ethics cripple our leadership; government and big business propaganda are all too readily dished out, then gobbled up by an unconscious public. There is economic piracy at all levels.

Worst of all is the weakened concept of democracy that has left great numbers of people with a feeling of hopelessness, powerlessness and indifference, concluding that we have no choice but to leave the fate of this country to inept and dishonest politicians who wrap themselves in the red, white and blue, knowing full well that false patriotism is a sure way to get re-elected. Those who refuse to resort to this nonsense will be considered by thoughtless people to be somehow un-American.

Those who remember the 1950s -- the "McCarthy era" -- will surely recognize the similarities between the House Un-American Activities Committee's persecutions (one of the most shameful periods in our history) and the current attempt to brand any citizen not in favor of an anti-flag-desecration amendment to the Constitution a non-patriot.

The American flag is to most of us a beloved reminder of our country -- NOT the living, breathing, flesh-and-blood that is America.

MARY E. SNETHEN
Springville

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