THE SYMBOL PEOPLE
Symbols are powerful. They move us to grief and joy, to peace of mind and fear, to love and hate. Symbols resonate with sanctity: A Holy Cross, a Scapula, the blessing of a Catholic Priest, Dominus Vobiscum. A Star of David, a Cantor’s holy voice in worship of the God cannot be named. The voice of a black robed Zen Buddhist monk chanting the Heart Sutra in a Colorado monastery—its Sanskrit/Japanese syllables fusing the mind in the luminescent silence of drifting snow and fragrant pine, a gibbous moon and winter stars, a sentient earth.
We are a symbol people, everyone: An indivisible American people wrought in fire, grief and joy, alloyed in a melting pot, and tempered to fine steel—or so once in ages past we were and long again to be. But if Americans are not one people, what are we? Must we fix our loyalty to a tribe? Must we give up an indivisible American identity? By what authority and command— and to what end?
What is the American Western Culture that used to be? What do we Americans claim to be our common birthright? What language do we speak, and what songs sing? What are the poems tell the passion of our American heart? What is the wellspring of our American joy; and what makes us weep? What do we hold sacred and what profane? What are the symbols that speak to every one of us?
Symbols breathe into life images of our American heritage. They keep, brace and celebrate America. Here are six young warriors, exhausted by war, the savage death of their brothers in arms. They are Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, John Bradley, Harion Block, Michael Strank, and Rene Gagnon. Together they raise the flag at Iwo Jima. My father’s voice is still with me. Let him say again the words he said to me: “The American flag was never more beautiful than on that day.”
But symbols also tell the boundaries of a rapacious human heart. The Soviet Union emblazoned upon its blood red flag the Hammer and Sickle symbol of class fusion, the welding of a triumphal proletariat and the farmer/peasants it would starve to death and slaughter by the tens of millions. The soviet socialist state collapsed in a pathetic spectacle of economic, moral, and ideological chaos. In a sterile, impoverished and miserable wasteland the last of the Russian predators prayed upon their surviving victims.
Even so, the Hammer and Sickle is still revered among Western European socialists, covens of schizophrenic American communists, Code Pinkies, Flat Earthers, the Greens, Democrats, the tingle-legged Chris Mathews, the lunatic Michael Moore and the New York Times.
Socialism, however, is detested in those Eastern European nations who for the better part of a century were able to compare their experience of a maniacal socialist nightmare with its transcendental promise of a materialist paradiso. The Hammer and Sickle recalls to the Polish people Stalin’s murder, (execution style, a bullet in the back of the head) of thousands upon thousands of young Polish soldiers discovered buried six to a grave in the Katyn forest. Although Stalin ordered their execution, the Western liberal press, enamored of socialism, Stalin, and tolerant of the brutal, inhuman efficiency of the communist state (one must after all break an egg to make an omelet) supported unconditionally Stalin’s lie that the Germans committed the Katyn Forest atrocity.
The Hammer and Sickle recalls to Eastern European nations the clank and grind of Russian tanks, the grim visages of marching Russian troops, the repeal of human freedom, justice, and the outrage of mass, human suppression.
In “…Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic the foreign ministers called for an EU-wide ban on communist symbols in 2010, urging the EU ‘to criminalize the approval, denial or belittling of communist crimes’ and stating that "the denial of such crimes should be treated the same way as the denial of the Holocaust and must be banned by law….’”
The swastika, once symbol of three gentle religions Hindu, Jain and Buddhist, when taken by the German National Socialist Party, became the symbol of a socialist ideology that would condemn to extinction six million Jews, a Third Reich and millions of German people. National Socialism would destroy the peaceful Germany its people strived to build upon the vengeful edicts of Versailles. If there is a perfect symbol of insatiate evil it is the swastika. Its display is outlawed in Germany. Socialism does not work; it is a destroyer of nations and their people.