It’s Time for Republicans to Surrender the Flag

6 mins read

I’m not much of a flag guy.

I mean I like our flag OK. Betsy Ross did a nice job with it, but I bet she could have never pictured all those stars getting jammed into a little box like that. The box could stand to be a bit bigger.

Colors are nice — though red, white and blue are a little overdone in the flag department, if you ask me.

I do like seeing it wave on a brilliantly sunny day with a deep blue sky as a backdrop. Beautiful. I’d rather people didn’t burn it — seems kind of extreme — but hell, some points are worth making no matter what, I guess.

My point here is, it’s just a flag. Worse than burning it, to me, is using it as a political tool. If you love your flag a whole lot, according to too many these days, you love your country a whole lot. Whoever loves their flag more, loves their country more.

This is completely ridiculous of course, but a lot of folks believe that. I believe it is simply easier for them to love their flag than it is to truly love their country. That is clearly the case with Trump who has been known to apparently suffocate and abuse the thing one minute while mocking a war hero like John McCain the next …

And, hey, if you are taking any issue with me here: a) I don’t care; and b) I proudly served my country. As a boatswain mate and assault boat coxswain, on occasion, I ran the thing up the mast at sunrise and took it down at sunset. Sounds easy, but you try doing that without it touching the deck while it is blowing a gale and the ship is tipping port to starboard at about 15 degrees each way.

And the thing never looks better than when making a bold red, white and blue impression leading a NATO task force. Now those folks look up to our flag. Used to anyway …

Thing is, I like the flag OK, but I love my country a lot.

Lately I have been giving this whole flag thing renewed thought.

I mean if anybody deserves to have the flag representing them it’s the Democrats. There can be no question about this.

So I think I’d like to take it back and safeguard it until the Republicans start acting like real Americans, and not mean, hateful bigots who want to beat up our earth and animals and anybody who doesn’t look like them. The notion that Trump represents America’s ideals is patently absurd. The notion that his supporters represent America’s ideals is equally absurd.

Can you imagine what Ronald Reagan would have thought watching one of these Trump hate rallies adorned with all those flags? We know what McCain thought.

No, they don’t deserve the American flag, just scorn.

I was protesting a few months ago. As an aside, God I love protesting. Best thing to happen to me since Nov. 8, 2016. Misery loves company, I guess, but it sure is nice to get outside with like-minded folks who believe pretty much in what you do — love and equality for starters.

Anyway, there were some bad dudes in town carrying semi-automatics. They were white supremacists making some kind of fucked up point on behalf of Republicans. Well, there were about 100 of them and a few thousand of us. They had the guns but we had all the power. They also had American flags — I mean a mess of ’em. We didn’t have many on our side. Just a bunch of pink hats, clever signs, and righteousness.

I can tell you who represented the true ideals of America, though. And if the flag represents us and those ideals, we need to take it back. We don’t need to have the thing to use it as a political tool, but simply because it deserves better.

A woman said as much to me at that one-sided rally. She said: “Why have they claimed the flag? Why should they fly it? They’re mean. We’re nice.”

I said: “Huh.”

That was all I said till now.

So from now on, the American flag will represent Democrats. We’ll be glad to share it, just as soon as Republicans start acting like Americans.

This article originally appeared in Earl’s blog, Enough Already, and has been edited for DemCast publication.

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D. Earl Stephens is a published author and finished up a 30-year career in journalism as the Managing Editor of Stars and Stripes

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