IFBD 2010


Every year I exhort people to listen to the stirring inspirational lyrics penned by Dr. Paul of the Troublemakers for their famous anthem. But many people never do. So this year, I thought I’d transcribe them. I don’t believe these were available anywhere on the internet — until now. Maybe this will help people get the message.

We might get arrested we might get spit on
So here is a song to explain our point of view
We’ll explain why it so thrills us to see
All those colorful flags being set on fire

On the fourth of July we declare our independence
Independence from the greatest evil around
That is the evil of nationalism
It separates us and crushes us down

Flag-Burning Day, Flag-Burning Day
Burning the scourge of nationalism away
Flag-Burning Day, Flag-Burning Day
Happy International Flag-Burning Day

We burn the stars and the stripes and the map’ leaf
The Palestinian and Israeli flags
The hammer and the sickle and the lone star of Texas
We love to dance around those smoldering rags

Flag-Burning Day, Flag-Burning Day
Burning those hateful borders away
Flag-Burning Day, Flag-Burning Day
Happy International Flag-Burning Day

We declare that we are citizens of the whole world
Don’t pay no respect to no borders or armies
Because patriotism is the flip side of racism
Why we any better just because of where we’re born

Listen, then buy. This might be a good time to review your IFBD tips. Any questions?

Photo by Todd Ehlers. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Three on the Fourth

We used to purchase thousands of flags for International Flag-Burning Day [anthem] and build huge bonfires. It was so thrilling to watch the colors of every nation go up in flames. But who can afford that in today’s economy? Besides which, we realized we were subsidizing the flag industry. That’s no way to end to the scourge of nationalism! So we decided to boycott International Flag-Burning Day, to stay true to our principles.

Instead, we filled up the kiddie pool, fired up the grill, cranked up the tunes, and enjoyed what I suppose is a pretty traditional celebration of the fourth of July. It felt like a day at the beach. We had a blast, and it dawned on me that we have rarely taken time to play together as a family, all three of us. Usually one of us is minding the child while the other is cleaning or cooking or doing some work. There’s a lot of play at our house, but the girl is usually playing with Mom or with Dad, not both at the same time. Playing together, all three of us, was a whole different vibe. I relate to Xy in one way, to Persephone in another, so this felt like two modalities intersecting. It felt like two worlds colliding — but in a good way. Life felt suddenly much richer.

When darkness fell we watched the fireworks over the Mississippi from our front porch.


It’s come to my attention that, in their zeal to celebrate International Flag-Burning Day, some folks may actually be running out and buying flags to burn.

This kind of defeats the spirit of the holiday. By purchasing new flags, you’re only supporting the flag industry. That’s not going to help “burn the scourge of nationalism away”!

Much better to simply gather up any flags you happen to have lying around the house and burn those. Of course, this means that next year you’ll have nothing to burn. But that’s OK. If you have no flags to burn, you can simply listen to this fine anthem by the Troublemakers. [Buy their CD; it’s fantastic.] Listening to this music simulates the fun of burning real flags, and it’s much safer.

If you do burn some flags, try to make sure you have more than one country represented. It’s International Flag-Burning Day after all. If people see you burning the flag of any one particular country, they might get the wrong idea — specially if that one particular country is this country.

Also, many flags these days are made of plastic and will emit toxic fumes if burned, so please exercise caution.

PS: Speaking of the Troublemakers, we just got a letter from Dr. Paul. He’s alive and living in Pasadena and seems to be doing much better. I’m going to write him a letter today.