About a month ago, the powers that be at my school decided to fly the American flag in front of our school. I felt strange that my first thought was that we were once again being railroaded into something by our headstrong interim head of school. He is the kind of guy who likes to boast about how he pulled himself up from his boot straps. Does that make him a Republican? Maybe, maybe not, but I'd be surprised if he wasn't.
So the flag made me think that this was clearly a partisan statement. And that made me angry. But was it a partisan statement? Don't we live in the United States? Shouldn't we fly the flag?
I know that the flag means different things to different people. For some people, it represents supporting Bush. For some people, it represents the genocide of Native Americans, slavery, hundreds of years of racism, and generally not living up to the ideals that we say our country is founded on. For some people, it means taking pride in our country's ideals. For some people, it is merely our flag.
My most recent experience with the flag is seeing my grandfather's coffin draped in it and then later in the day watching a soldier who was fighting back tears hand it to my grandmother immediately after listening to an incredibly heartbreaking version of Taps played by another soldier. I assume that song always is heartbreaking but I had never really heard it at a funeral other than on TV and in the movies.
My grandfather was proud of this country. He knew it wasn't perfect but he loved it nonetheless. It is sad to me that we are at a point in this country's history that the mere display of the flag brings up such negative emotions for so many people. Five years ago, this wouldn't have been the case.
For more on this topic, check this post from Unwellness. She was very upset by the whole thing at first and has some interesting things to say about it. However, I'm still upset that she didn't take my idea that she should buy an American flag just to burn it in front of the school at 3 pm dismissal - just to make a point. That would have been amazing.