This flag belongs to all Americans - except the Nazis and Confederates.
I went to Dollar Tree the other day and they had Fourth of July decorations on sale. I spent five dollars and decorated our golf cart with a dozen flags, bunting, ribbons, and other patriotic tchotchke. It was fun for the 4th to have a decorated "buggy" and I got a lot of waves and hellos from people.
Some folks assumed that since I was flying the America flag, I must be a Trump supporter. The weird thing was, the folks who thought this were either Trump supporters themselves, or people who hated Trump. It seems the far-right has attempted to hijack the American flag as a symbol of their own, and in some minds, has succeeded.
This is not right. This is our flag - America's flag. It belongs to all of us.
It is the flag that fought off the British to establish our economic freedom. Granted, it was not a perfect freedom - but it was the 18th century and we were the first country to declare Democracy in the modern era - and probably the oldest Democracy as a result (the Isle of Man and Iceland notwithstanding). Sure, things are better in some European countries - they don't have an archaic electoral college. But it always makes me laugh when someone from Germany runs down America as undemocratic. Say there, Fritz, who installed your current democratic government, and what came before that? Yea, that. But I digress.
This was the flag that fought against slavery - and tried to make our union more perfect. Today, we have slavery apologists trying to use the American flag as a symbol of their far-right racist views. Sorry, no sale. The American flag stood against those values - in 1865 and today.
The American flag was the flag of the army that fought the Nazis back in 1945. Yet today, neo-Nazis are trying to use the American flag as a symbol of their own. Nice try, Nazi-boy. But you got the wrong flag! This here is my flag, not yours! You wanna be a Nazi? Go fuck yourself!
Sadly, we have let the far-right co-opt the American flag as their symbol - and went along with it. I run into people who are leftists who claim the American flag is a symbol of oppression. But it is also a symbol of freedom, progression, and enlightenment. Just because the other side wins once in a while doesn't mean we should give up - or let them define what our country is all about.
The far-right is often clumsy in their use of the American flag. Trump was famous for his over-the-top flag displays - so many flags crowding the stage or the Oval Office that it looked like a curtain of flags. Sort of like Putin and is comically over-sized conference tables. Overcompensating, perhaps?
Trump also made a fetish of hugging and kissing the American flag - again to overcompensate for his utter lack of real patriotism or love of the real values of this country. This is the guy who dodged the draft - more than once - claiming to be a super-patriot.
We need to take back the American flag as a flag for everyone - well everyone who really loves this country and our democracy. People who want to celebrate "rebel pride" or think Hitler wasn't so bad - they can't have our flag as a symbol of their hate. The American flag is only a symbol of oppression if we let it be.
So fly the American flag. We should make sure it is present at all protests and rallies and whatnot - the ones advocating for real freedom, not dictatorship or insurrection. If we can claw back our flag, it is a start.
Because if we let the crazy people lay claim to the American flag, then they lay claim to America.
And we can't let that happen!