Red, White and Blue Belongs To Me And You

Why is it that Trump supporters–at least for now–have almost fully co-opted the American flag? Why has the preferred outfit of the anti-Trumper become black clothing? Why has much of the resistance now adopted the color scheme of ISIS? Brave people out resisting couldn’t be doing a better job–at least visually–of playing into Trump’s narrative. And the people protestors are trying to reach are watching like they never have before. But if they see, in the protestors, an America they do not recognize, they will not be stirred. So how about let’s flip that narrative? How? By showing up with stars and stripes on both sides.

Trump does not own the American flag. Neither does Fox News. We fully believe many Trump supporters view themselves as Patriots, and that’s fine. But wouldn’t it be great if the protestors matched them flag-for-flag, and reclaimed the American flag as a symbol of Progressive Patriotism and solidarity?

We are well aware that there are philosophical reasons to be “anti-flag”: on the grounds it stands for war, and fascism and racism (and at various times in history, a lot of other things). And if you hold that belief deeply, that’s fine too. But if you stand up for the national anthem at a baseball game, then it would not be hypocritical for you to reclaim the American flag for the resistance: because you have as much of a right to it as any other American, and it really does stand for a lot more of what you believe in than what you’re against: bringing together and taking care of the people.

Waving an American flag doesn’t make you complicit, doesn’t make you a bigot, doesn’t make you a jingoist. Because the stars and stripes represent the history and struggle of all kinds of people who worked and suffered to lift up their neighbors. To make this country beautiful and amazing. Flawed, but hardly a nation of “carnage.”

The American flag commemorates our strength, and those who have sacrificed to make this country better. At very least, it communicates that we’re better than this. Much better than this.

(This story originally appeared in The Chaos Report Newsletter: