Meeting a Monday's Moral Dilemma
It's 4th of July week, and in response to the multiple outrages that occurred the weeks prior while I was on a road trip across the country, I posted this image on Facebook, using it as my avatar for the week. With transiting Mercury -- planet of communication -- activating my natal Moon in Leo, which will sometimes encourage self-expression for emotional shock value, I felt rather pleased with my cleverness.
The US code, title 1, section 4, paragraph 8(a) states that "the flag should never be displayed with the union [blue field of stars] down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property." Now, usually my Capricorn Sun is more of a rule follower than a rule breaker, especially when the breaking can land you in jail.
Plus, I wasn't a flag burner in the 60s. I didn't see the point of that.
And my first real career job was as a civilian with the US Air Force, supporting, defending, explaining the military to local, state, national, and international communities. You could say my sword was the pen, or IBM Selectric as it was back in those days.
So I certainly have my own allegiance to the values symbolized by the flag, although I don't regard the cloth itself or an image of it as a sacred relic. It's a representation of an ideal and of a shared culture. For me, those things live in one's heart, mind, and actions, and don't need to be flying up on a flagpole. The map is not the territory, as Korzybski said.
But, if our country is not in dire distress right now, I don't know what else we could call the willful corruption and deliberate destruction by POTUS and his gang of swamp-dweller thieves we are experiencing right now. The upside down flag is an appropriate signal of protest, warning, and hope that the rest of the world will know not all US citizens agree with what is happening.
Sure enough, as is to be expected on social media, a Facebook friend had a different perspective about this image, and the courage to voice it publicly. It was a perspective I admittedly had not considered in my rush to make my pithy point.
The on its head image could, it was said, be hurtful to those to whom the flag is deeply meaningful and who have no part in our current political chaos. For many who fought and died to protect what the flag is supposed to symbolize, the inference I took was that the image could maybe feel like an insult, thereby putting me in the position of doing harm.
It was the morally responsible thing to do to stop and seriously consider this point.
Then, there was a gentle and respectful suggestion to think about how my message could be heard by these folks, or worse, distorted and used as more FauxNews ammunition against those they disagreed with.
I promised to ponder these points, as they were well-intentioned and from one I know to be in general agreement with my underlying political philosophy.
Sorting Through the Integrity Quagmire
The idea that I might even unintentionally cause discomfort or pain to others is always a pull on my empathy. To do so consciously is a violation of my sense of "be-the-medicine" moral principle. I go out of my way to avoid such aggressions, often putting myself at a significant disadvantage in the process. That is, I self-censor too much at times, to avoid conflict with, and hurt of, others.
Yet, such self-censoring does damage to me. It hides my authenticity. It stifles my voice. The silence that ensures can allow others to see me as complicit with their tolerance, or in agreement with their behaviors. It prevents others from knowing the real me.
For most of my life that was fine with me. The sacrifice of the Self's and Soul's truth in order to avoid conflict, was the higher emotional security priority. Except, you see, that priority becomes corrosive after decades of adherence.
I know I am not the only woman of my age group who has lived this way.
I know that to become fully myself, to walk the path of the spiritual warrior, the feelings of others, their needs for compassion and empathy -- especially those who aren't even in my life -- can't take priority over speaking to reality as I see it.
Still, I shall try to be gentle and respectful when interacting with individuals, as my Facebook friend has been with me today.
Where I Landed Across the Moral Dilemma
Since I am no longer a practicing therapist, I don't necessarily have the same obligation to fade into the woodwork in order to keep my personal feelings hidden. At this stage, I do have the obligation to use my voice and perspective, and the facts I can gather, for they are the only power tools I have in the fight against fascism currently before us.
Democracy itself, and the USA are in deep shit, have been for the last 18 years at least, and more of us -- in my not so humble CapScorpLeo opinion -- must speak out loud, clear, and often. It's time to call out for a new revolution, and what better week than this?
Revolutions don't work when everyone is trying to be too careful with everyone else's feelings. And I'm afraid that revolution is what we need right now because no branch of government as a whole is working the way it is supposed to, to safeguard the ideals guaranteed by the constitution.
So, that Leo Moon part of me will, on occasion, do things for purposeful shock value. I intend to shake people out of their complacency. I hope to reach those who need the verbal cold-water-in-the-face approach to open their eyes to reality.
It's my form of marching for truth, justice, liberty, and the real American way.