When I was canvassing in NH yesterday, I realized that every time I saw a house with an American flag flying out front, I assumed the residents were Trump supporters.
Indeed, the greater the number of flags in the yard, the greater my certainty that I and my Black canvassing partner were not welcome there. I found myself walking a little faster past the houses and hoping they didn’t also have dogs.
But thinking about it, it made me mad.
Why should Republicans get to own the flag and by extension patriotism?
To often, Democrats have let this go. Uncomfortable with what we see as chest thumping and jingoism, we have ceded the flag to Republicans.
And in the process, we let them define patriotism and what it means to be an American.
We were silent for too long in connecting our inclusive and tolerant vision of society to the flag and to what it means to be an American.
Thus, we found ourselves caught off guard when Trump declared that he wanted to make America great again. We belatedly said- it already is great. But you could feel the discomfort. Like we didn’t quite know how to say “America is great.”
Well, I want the flag back.
Tomorrow, when Hillary Clinton wins, it’s time for liberals to stand up and reclaim the flag.
Let’s proudly assert that women are equal and deserve respect, dignity and the right to sit in the oval office.
Let’s proudly declare that Black Lives Matter and that our police should protect and serve EVERYONE.
Let’s proudly proclaim that we are a nation of immigrants made richer by the diversity of our traditions and faiths.
Let’s proudly announce that love of all kinds trumps hate and that you are free to love who you love and be who you were meant to be.
Let’s proudly state that power can take the form of diplomacy and military restraint.
Let’s proudly insist that true leadership means protecting our environment.
Let’s proudly pronounce that a prosperous nation cares for the old, the young, the sick and the poor and that we are dedicated to becoming a more equal society.
And let’s do all of those things draped in the flag. Let’s honor our values as American values.
Because the more we do that- the more it will be true.
Let’s make it so that an American flag on a lawn is a sign of tolerance and a progressive vision of the world.
So, tomorrow- go out and vote. Wear your white pantsuit and buy an American flag.