Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. ~ Katherine Mansfield

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It's my flag, too

In honor of the recent Fourth of July barbecue frenzy weekend, I am doing something drastic. Today I am reclaiming the flag. Granted, it's a Pinterest-inspired project made from an oh-so-trendy pallet and cast-off spray paint, but I'm doing it. And for me, it's a big deal.

Over the last few years I have come to associate the American flag -- be it on a porch, a bumper sticker or a t-shirt -- with the following ideologies:
  • Republicanism
  • Christianity
  • The far right
  • Pro-gun activists
  • Anti-choice activists
  • Conservatives
  • Fox News
  • Bullies
  • The Tea Party
  • Climate change deniers 
  • Creationists
  • Southern traditionalists
  • Haters in general

Because of this, I have given up the flag as something that doesn't represent me. My ideals. My beliefs. My way of life. And I did this willingly, blindly, and stupidly. Because the flag, and what it stands for, is bigger than just me.

The American flag does, in fact, encompass a set of ideals I would never claim as my own. But as this is still the land of the free and the home of the (not-always-but-we-try-to-be) brave, then it also stands for:
  • Democracy
  • The Green Party
  • Hinduism
  • Judaism 
  • No religion-ism
  • Pro-choice activists
  • Gay rights activists
  • Community activists
  • Pacifists
  • Slow Food movements
  • Ecologists
  • Scientists
  • Dreamers
  • Bronies
The flag represents the freedom to believe - or not believe - in whatever we choose. By its very definition, it stands for all of us. And that's the point.

No party or group owns it. Rush Limbaugh does not have more of a connection to the American flag than Jon Stewart does. Republicans can't exclusively claim it; Progressives don't automatically forsake it. Our country, as these fifty united states, houses thousands of ideals and nationalities and belief systems. Together. As one nation (that until 1954 wasn't required to be "under God"), indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. And that utopian message, an ideal to aim for and struggle to achieve, I can get behind.

There is room here for all of us; for all of our beliefs. Beliefs that we are legally allowed to voice without fear of pain or imprisonment. (Really, how freaking lucky are we?!) Beliefs that make us stronger even when they don't bring us together. I can have Obama - or Hillary! - and you can still have Romney. Or Palin. And while that last option makes me want to throw up in my mouth and pass out condoms at churches, she has her place in America too.

So yes I am taking back the flag, and in doing so realize that I should never have let it go. As much as it is yours, and hers and his, so too it is mine.


Troy Coleman said...

Rock on!

Carolyn Hudek said...

Way to say it Danielle. And the craft portion of it is great....I'm going to try to make me one too.

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