The stars and stripes have evolved into so many different iterations and incarnations that one can find them everywhere and on everything. The first flag surge I can recall is post-September 11, 2001. Flags began to pop up on cars and trucks, highway overpasses and on almost every house. Though it was a terrible event that happened at the Twin Towers, there was a true good that emerged from that awful day. There was a unity.

Now there are new flags. Flags that, on the surface may seem to be “American”, but their true goal is not to motivate people toward a common good. The goal of these flags is to divide. The first and most obvious example, is a flag that has come to represent patriotism and the American way of life to so many, but at its core nakedly represents the opposite. The Trump: Make America Great Again flag. It is a flag that represents a man and his family, not a country. I do not recall (because they never existed) the waving of MITT flags in 2012, nor could I ever imagine that John McCain would ever approve of anything other than the red, white, and blue.

Why has this happened? When did a certain section of the electorate abandon their loyalty to the ideals of democracy and attach themselves to the whims and the will of just one man. A man who says hateful things, and by his own admission flippantly hints that perhaps bending and or breaking a few laws here and there might not be the worst thing. At this point, it really doesn’t matter what he says, his followers don’t seem to care if his remarks and information are valid or not. At this stage of the game, those sort of inconsequential “facts and evidence-based conclusions” really don’t matter anymore. The creed has become to follow blindly and abide with unquestioning loyalty.

There is a second flag that has been utilized to divide. The Thin Blue Line Flag or Blue Lives Matter. This is a flag that commonly flies right alongside a Trump Flag and has since on its own become a flag of division. The first and most glaring argument for the flag comes whenever the idea of Black Lives Matter is introduced. For a Trump supporter, just saying the phrase “black lives matter” is almost always immediately greeted with either “blue lives matter” or “all lives matter”. So here is the dilemma as posed through this flag; you are either “for” blacks receiving equal treatment under the law OR “for” the cops. You’re either “with us” or “against us”. It is a false choice.

It appears that the Trump effect and or the Trump follower cannot consider two things to be true simultaneously. Most cops are good and follow the letter of the law, but why is bringing up the ones who don’t, sacrilege. A Trump supporter believes if you support Black Lives Matter you hate all police. A Trump supporter believes if you support anyone other than Trump you hate America. A Trump supporter believes that the entire world is out to get Trump, and that he himself is the cure for corruption. Again, a false choice. Anyone who pays attention can see that in fact, the opposite is true on all accounts.

There is only one flag that matters. The American flag. Regardless of what the Republicans might say, ALL Americans have the right to proudly wave that flag regardless of their political beliefs. Let us not allow Trump to steal our patriotism, because the issues that he and his followers scream about, day in and day out, aren’t as black and white as he makes them out to be. There is minutia and nuance that need to be considered, and the truth is that Trump doesn’t have the interest or intelligence to address the true needs of this country.

So when you proudly fly your flag, the message is clear. The real question is this: if the Trump era is over, where do all the flags go?

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