Sunday, July 07, 2019

Flag Raising

An American flag appeared atop a house I can see from my kitchen and porch just in time for the 4th of July, just in time for the enactment of child concentration camps for legal asylum seekers to have become embedded policy.

I don’t know where this flag was the past five years we’ve both been residing here in a quieter part of Silver Lake, my refuge in the hills. Now this flag is an indelible part of the landscape of trees, hawks, city views to one side, park entrance to another at a point in my lifetime that feels unparalleled in chaos and cruelty, a time when women are beginning to be dragged off to prison for miscarrying, including when they are shot in the stomach in Alabama.

What prompted this sudden flag raising? What prompts people to take pride in a piece of fabric, but not protest when the same values that piece of fabric represents are under continuous assault?

Maybe they are protesting. Maybe the sudden appearance of this flag in a neighborhood within a city populated and held aloft by immigrants, like many cities of America, is a reclamation, a way of saying this country still belongs to us, the patriots who recognize and fight for real inclusive, democratic values.

Or maybe the us is white supremacists, those still touting the existence of "very fine people on both sides" and male superiority, the Trumps, authoritarians, colonizers, forced smilers who expect or even demand smiles of others, too, regardless of what those others may be enduring.

I wonder what these neighbors thought, if they did, the flag would convey to a DACA recipient within a district represented by an assembly member who fits that category. I have a feeling they, and many others, maybe even you reading this right now, would become angry and accuse me of being unpatriotic, or of being a snowflake, oversensitive, even paranoid, for posing these questions.

Asking questions is democratic, though. Showing sensitivity and questioning authority, as well as symbolic displays that may or may not be backed by the genuine American values they evoke, is also patriotic.

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