This image, captured in a Macy’s Department Store, is a not-so-subtle appeal to American consumers’ national pride (read nationalism) and respect for the military in a nation in which mindless mantras such as “Celebrate the USA,” “United We Stand,” and “We’re Number One!” are commonplace. (Celebrate what, exactly? “United We Stand” against what, whom, and why? “We’re Number One!,” in what respects?, one is tempted to ask.) Perhaps nowhere in the world are national symbols — the flag, its colors and the bald eagle — more ubiquitous. The fawning over the military, the widespread use of the flag and various nationalistic rituals have catapulted the U.S. into a league of its own, especially in recent years.
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