Happy 4th of July!
I used to love putting flags out from Flag Day until Labor Day. I used to love Americana themed decor, my Old Navy Flag tees, and my Mickey Mouse USA themed beach towels.
But around 2014, that all changed, because the flag — OUR flag — was co-opted by the far right wing here in this country. To be honest, it probably started in the days following 9/11/01, but as the years passed, the flag became more and more a part of right-wing America. And each year, incrementally, the flag — OUR flag — became used in more and more cringe-worthy ways.
I stopped decorating with it.
Just today, I saw a car absolutely bedecked in American flag merch: the license plate frame, window decals, and a “land of the free because of the brave” tire cover.
Ugh, right? In my head, I can imagine that person being brash and all about their own freedoms and everything that I don’t want our country to become. Yes, those assumptions are mine, and they could be incorrect. I’ll put that in bold so we all know it: those assumptions are mine, and they could be incorrect. That person could have been a pacifist and a Unitarian Universalist minister.
However, when you’ve lived in Trump’s America for the 2 years he ran, plus the 4 years he served, plus the one day that his sycophants stormed the Capitol in a treasonous and insurrectionist uprising to try and stop the election from being certified, you get a darn good idea of who has been wrapping themselves in the flag lately and using its image toward their own ends.
Likewise, you can easily look at me with my “Hate Has No Home Here” sign, my Dr Fauci cloth mask, and my RBG dissent necklace and make some judgements about me that would pretty much be spot on.
When the mask mandates changed, people said that they’d continue to wear a mask so that they wouldn’t be mistakenly seen as Republicans. I rolled my eyes. How silly is that? Do what’s right for you and for the greater good and don’t worry about what others think.
The same could be said about my little stockpile of Americana. I put it away because I didn’t want people to think I was racist/sexist/anti-choice/xenophobic/insert Trumpist rhetoric here. How silly is that?
I love this country, and I love living here. Much like you can love a relative who has effed up and needs work, I can love my country while knowing we all have to encourage it and each other to do better.
My name is Kim. And just like my country, I was born in Philadelphia. I am a progressive who believes everyone should be safe, loved, and warm. And I’m taking back my flag.
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