As far back as I can remember, I have loved seeing those huge parade flags streaming over a new car dealership, flapping in the wind. I liked hearing the clink of the chains and ropes that tethered the giant stars and stripes to the miles-high flagpole. I even remember feeling pride. However, I also remember that long ago I wished for a world without borders, without nationalism or xenophobia. As a Jew born in the midst of the Holocaust, I saw those attitudes as evil—as contributors to genocide and suffering.
When I think of Matthew 12:25, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand“, I think about a global community fighting climate change, discrimination, slavery, and greed (as well as COVID-19).
However, in this post-Trump America, I also see a need to unite under the flag. Not in some MAGA malevolent hyper-patriotic way, but in a way that claims this country as ours, all of ours. I understand the reasons for taking a knee in protest against actions and policies that use the flag to divide rather than unite us, and I am not speaking against that kind of demonstration. What I am suggesting is that each and every one of us flies the flag; we must rescue it from the white supremacists, the xenophobes, and the isolationists and give it back to all Americans.
The government should distribute flags to every family counted in the 2020 census. Let’s not wait till the Fourth of July. Let’s not let the flag become a symbol of intimidation, disunity, and hate. When the flag once again becomes a symbol of hope and promise for all, it will really become a symbol of America.