If I were a tyrant intent on taking over America, I would wrap myself in the flag. I would try to persuade people that they do not need to get involved in politics so long as they put flags on their houses and cars. I would teach them that all government is bad -even though, in a democracy, the people are the government. I would steer people away from learning anything negative about America’s history. Critical thinking about America’s role in the world would be treated as unpatriotic. I would teach people to hold America to a different standard from other nations, to see us as the exception always and the example never.
Most of all, I would make sure citizens did not feel the duty to take responsibility for their own citizenship. Instead, I would teach them to love parades, and patriotic songs, and most of all the flag. And then, I would take that flag and wave it over my own causes. I would claim that those who did not follow me were betraying the flag. I would say that any who questioned my warlike policies were attacking not me, but our brave troops. A cowardly and ill-informed populous would follow. They would destroy the very principles of their own liberty in the name of patriotism.