Flag lapel pins should not be mandatory for US politicians. They should not be mandatory for anyone. They should not be the product of social pressure. They should not be understood to reflect on anyone's resolution to care more, or call upon the public to acknowledge how much more they appear to care. There is nothing wrong with a flag lapel pin, although I would not wear one regularly unless I were in the flag lapel pin manufacturing business. But we have got to make ourselves admit that the lapel pin is a tacky little thing that is only ennobled by the flag put on it, and that the more patriotic work you want the flag to do, the more the flag is actually diminished by its puny size and the cheapness of the tin it's pressed upon.
On the plus side, as refreshing as it would be to see politicians actually drape themselves in jewel-bestudded sashes of red, white, and blue, in only a few moments everyone would have one, patriotism would fuse with fashion, and instead of mandatory tacky little things we would swim in a creped-up sea of tacky enormous things. The best the lapel pin can say for itself is that so far it has shown no signs of slyly getting any larger. The worst it can say for itself, however, is what it so quickly has threatened to say for the wearer: "Rest assured, I'm just as American as I was before this fad made me have to metaphorically (but only metaphorically) prove it."
I'd personally prefer that our leaders wear shimmering coats of hummingbird feathers like the Aztecs.