I think we should not spend much time discussing who said what, but rather keep discussing the issues related to this thread, so I'll leave it to the more interested to investigate for themselves by reading the earlier postings.
I should though, clarify one point: Lodesman, you say: "You likened the US gov't to Nazis and the KKK." This is just what I try to avoid. I try to keep my opinions related to specific actions or attitudes, not a whole country, government, or so in general. What I have said is that certain practices and attitudes of the US officials remind of "institutions one would not like to be compared with...." I have also said that certain developments indicate that there is a drift in the US system towards the more authoritative (and could add this time, if we were discussing a personality, one might say the change contains some psychopathic elements), which of course also would compare with not so nice entities. Trying to clarify and influence such changes seems like an intent this thread could realistically target.
On a more general note, (the rest of this posting
is another departure from the thread topic) I have the impression that in big nations, not only the US, more than in small ones like Norway
, many seem more "sore" on the national pride stuff. If I were to burn or intentionally soil an American flag, (which I of course have no intent of ever doing) that would be highly dangerous in the US. It would most likely be seen as a personal attack on any citizen and probably I'd rapidly become target of rage and violence.
In Norway, that's totally different. Of course some may react the same way, but the definitely normal reaction would be a slight curiosity of why I was destroying my flag which seemed to be quite usable still. Most would think I must be some nut case or fanatic. One could compare this to the christian practice when the priest says something about "This is the flesh of Jesus and this is the blood of Jesus." (Don't remember the exact wording.) One is expected to feel that this is actually true. It seems like people in big nations are more prone to follow this kind of thought, if transponded into the national feeling context, and live into it, while in smaller nations, like Norway, we are more relaxed on this and quite aware that we're served dry biscuits and sour wine, and that the flag is actually a piece of cloth. Any owner of that cloth may dispose of it any way he pleases.
What is the better attitude, I cannot say. Both have pros and cons, but at least the latter is easier to deal with. I'm definitely proud of Norway and being Norwegian, but have no problem noticing that there are plenty of reason for criticism, and will not at all feel offended if such points are made by foreigners (unless they are Swedes :-). But if I think they are not correct, I'll probably discuss the content of the criticism. Pride is a very nice thing, but may also become too influential.