Since when did it become divisive to fly an American flag?
I recently purchased a 1999 Jeep Wrangler TJ to bump around in the desert, do some rock climbing (hopefully without the roll), and boonie stomping. My son is all about the accessories and was flipping through a Jeep catalog as I was making dinner last night. When he told me about a flag holder mount that I could attach, I casually dissuaded him, saying I didn’t want to be a target in a parking lot or when I was driving alone somewhere.
Wait . . . what??
Am I actually concerned about flying our nation’s flag as I tool around town in Las Vegas? Well, yeah, now that I think about it, I am. Why? Because I’ve watched hours of videos of fellow American citizens burning the flag, stomping on it, attacking people for being on the “wrong side,” burning down businesses in their own neighborhoods, and shooting police.
They’ve also toppled historical statues, recommended taking the Washington monument down in Washington D.C., and believe the very country which gave them the freedom to protest is bad because we aren’t perfect and, like all nations, have a checkered past.
In our quest to lay low during these pandemic riots of 2020, we’ve made a few changes the past several months that are embarrassingly cowardly, as I think back. My son drives a police auction vehicle, so he pulls it into our garage at night rather than leaving it on the street to be vandalized. I haven’t put up any political signs in my yard as I normally would because several of my friends have experienced vandalism when they did so, here as well as in other parts of the country.
I’m sure that in less divided states like Oklahoma and South Dakota, people are emboldened to fly the flag and put Trump-Pence signs in their yards and don’t worry about who might torch it or break your windows or key your car or worse. One of my friends gave me a Keep America Great magnet for my car, but he warned me to take it off my vehicle when I leave it in a parking lot.
In states that are divided—like Nevada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Virginia and others—people began to worry, sometime after the riots began, which neighbors might target them. We acknowledge each other’s similar political stances by quiet looks between customers wearing American Flag facemasks and me wearing my “Thanks China” face mask in Walmart (true story). We smile when we see the slightest acknowledgment of patriotism because we love to find someone who we can probably trust not to scream in our faces that we are racists.
Now that I have recognized I was trying to avoid a perceived danger by not exercising my freedom of expression, I realize that I’m letting the rioting criminals control my voice. My complicity in their terroristic schemes is not something I can be proud of. I’m not helping the situation by avoiding it. I’m emboldening the Left by not standing up to be counted. I’m making things worse.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating goading anyone to violence. I won’t be screaming in anyone’s face about their politics. I don’t want to cause any trouble or make anyone feel uneasy around me, but my wearing a MAGA hat or flying the United States flag or installing a Trump-Pence 2020 sign on my own property shouldn’t bother anyone. It’s my political opinion and others don’t have to like it, but I’m done being silent.
It may not make any difference in the upcoming election or even in my neighborhood elections, but it makes a difference to me, my friends, and my family who know that I will stand up for what I believe in.