I remembered an old episode of "Cheers" before the holidays, where everyone in the bar was disgusted at yet ANOTHER showing of "It's A Wonderful Life". Oh, no, not THIS one again. Cynicism and disdain pour forth...until the scene when the entire town pours forth it's love for George Bailey, his little girl proclaiming the ascension to the ranks of the true angels, and the hard eyed and stony souled group melts, to their own chagrin, trying to cover up their weakness.
First, a man who has to be one of the most confused, yet torn human beings on the planet...the NYC Cop with an amazing tenor force, and a rendition of "God Bless Ameican. Think of it...5 months ago, this man probably was ribbed by his fellow officers for his abilities, which I'm sure he would display for the occasional special event. There could be no way he could have thought he would be singing at the winter games. A voice heard and hailed by millions the world over. A peak life experience.
And under it all, the thought that he would gladly have never done it, remained an obscure (if talented) cop, if it meant that day never had happened.
When they carried out "The Flag", torn, battered, and stained, too weak to be flown at the games, yet it had to be there. Not a sound was made as it was brought out.
Whatever else you can say about the Mormons, their choir is one of the best on the planet. They sung the anthem, which suddenly just dripped with painful relevance. Bombs bursting in air... and after the night, the flag was still there.
The last verse was repeated.
Symbols. I may intensely dis-like Bush, I may think that Rumsfield, Cheney, and Ashcroft are a bunch of tools pretending to be helpful, themselves bigger threats than the terrorists they claim as the enemy...but bigger threats to what? What are these symbols really representing, if not the current administration, or the fall of something thought to be an even bigger symbol by the terrorists?
Ultimately it may be the humanity of it all. Nationalism and chants for the "homeland" are not what that flag represents, at least not for me...what it represents is the refusal to be bowed by the pain, but to still acknowledge that a part of all of us was injured.
It's just a bunch of guys carrying a flag. And it's also a representation of the part of us closest to the divine, the place where all of us meet. The hard part is to realize that symbol is absolutely all inclusive, as we cry. It's easy to create an "other", to polarize an issue to the point we can ignore the pain that created the schism in the first place.
Even Satan is a part of God.