I just spent some time off, which included a good deal of driving around the U.S.
My obvious observation is how ludicrously big this country is, and how breathtakingly beautiful. It defies hyperbole.
(There is also tremendous amount of monoculture agriculture, or at least that’s what you see from the highways.)
The one thing I found most surprising, though, was the American flag. Very often we’d see it from the road, often on all the posts of one big farm or another.
And every single time, the farms that displayed that flag also displayed a strong, right-wing message of some sort: either about Trump and the “stolen” election, or something really clever like “Biden Sucks” or “Let’s Go Brandon.”
I hate the fact that when I see the American flag now, I increasingly expect to see, next to it, a statement or sentiment that I find profoundly anti-American. A statement that, to me, rings of intolerance and aggression and hatred.
And I can’t help but wonder what the people who feel strongly about the things I think that flag represents—tolerance, women’s rights, welcoming the stranger, openness to new ideas, and seeing difference as the bedrock of what makes this country great—can do to reclaim that flag.
Perhaps most important of all, we need to again be a nation in which the flag is embraced by everyone, a nation that is unified in our patriotism even though we might be divided on our views and the policies we embrace.
2 thoughts on “The Flag”
Sasha – It goes without saying how much I respect you. I have no doubt that your extraordinary intellect, heart and curiosity will bring you to the place where the sincere sentiments behind these flags also becomes apparent. It’s a long long journey toward understanding, but I can promise that it’s worth it. And you might be surprised to learn, as I have, that the needed reclamation resides here too.
Eric, I totally hear you. And I don’t mean to say that I don’t have miles of ground to cover in my own reflection and introspection – to discover where I am part of the problem and where I’m seeing the things that I want to see. I’m struggling with a sense that there are some absolute indicators of right and wrong that transcend all of us….