Monday, October 04, 2004


Flags & Ribbons

An interesting observation occurred to me over the weekend...

Even here in the Boston area (acknowledged by most to be a Democratic stronghold), I see plenty of cars and trucks with American flags, yellow-ribbon emblems in support of the troops, 9/11 "We Will Never Forget" decals, and so on.

But here's the thing -- with one technical exception, I have not yet seen any such decorations on a vehicle that also sported a "Kerry-Edwards" bumper sticker. (The exception is the Kerry bumper-sticker that itself incorporates a flag; I've seen those, certainly. But cars that have those don't have additional flag emblems either.)

Coincidence? Possibly, but I doubt it. After 9/11, I heard lots of sentiment (among my left-of-center friends, with whom I started to disagree more and more from that point on) about the American flag. People were reluctant to display it, for fear of being mistaken for, as they put it, those loud-mouthed "my country right or wrong" rednecks. (Some even resented their own self-censorship, saying things like "how dare those yahoos hijack the American flag! -- It's my flag too".

To which I can only respond: it certainly is your flag too... so show it, and make it mean what it means to you! Fly the Stars & Stripes from your house, for example, but also show a big Kerry/Edwards yard sign. Show the flag and a "NO to War in Iraq" bumper-sticker, side by side.

But strangely, I don't see anyone doing this. It's a pity -- the flag really does represent all Americans, and all Americans have a right to be proud of it and of what it represents. (And if some people are disappointed or ashamed of what the Bush Administration has done, so what? Presumably the flag had meaning for them before the 2000 Presidential election, didn't it?)

Of course, it's possible that some people have always harbored mild distaste for the flag, and are willing to put up with it now only when it's surgically attached to Kerry's name. I can certainly imagine people feeling that way... but I'm reluctant to ascribe such feelings to a broad group of people. Surely some Democrats will vote for Kerry with passion and fervor, and wave the flag with equal passion. Won't they?

Judging by the decorations of my fellow commuters, it doesn't seem so.


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