I can see the Seattle Space Needle right out of my hotel window (pictures to come soon) and I notice that the big American flag atop it is flying at half-mast. I haven't checked the news, so maybe there's some big disaster that just happened, but I imagine it's the usual reason that some young man (or woman -- once in a Blue Moon, I guess) has died again today and that it's a perfunctory sign of mourning.
Will this sign of mourning become commonplace such that we don't notice it any more? Maybe we'll see the flag occasionally at "full mast" and think, "Are we not at war anymore? Did nobody die today? Is it finally over?" What does it mean when when mourning becomes the normal state? Like our lust for more and more violence and sexual explicitness, will be develop and appetite for more and more tragedy? Will that make us stronger than other nations in yet another way, in our ability to tolerate grief and sadness, our ever increasing tolerance and lack of need to stop and cry?
By the way, as they teach us in the Boy Scouts, flying the flag upside down is a call for help, an SOS, a declaration of emergency. Maybe they'll start using that soon, like in the logo of the show House of Cards with Kevin Spacey.
[PICTURE OF SPACE NEEDLE TO COME HERE -- STAY TUNED]