If I’m being honest
I don’t feel safe around anyone who proudly displays the United States flag because of what it’s come to represent.
It feels like a threat. It smells like white supremacy. Most times, it looks like hate depending on who’s waving it.
Ever since Trump’s presidency, and to some degree, the one under George W. Bush, the United States flag communicates the following from where I’m standing:
I love guns, and I’m not afraid to use them.
This is my country, not yours.
You should feel lucky to be here.
These are my American freedoms, and I’m proud to be American.
Some people who display it really do want to intimidate and instill fear. Some really are racist and are not afraid to show it.
You ever freeze up when you hear people chant, “USA! USA!”?
Yeah, me too.
The US flag has become a symbol of division over unity. Oppression over freedom.
Flaunting the US flag feels like an insult.
Our country is divided. Despite looking at the exact same thing, like an American flag, we could see entirely different pictures depending on our lens and perspective as colored by experience.
We’re going through it here in the United States.
People are activated, angry, nervous, scared, stressed, and burnt out.
This is what it feels like to live in the US right now.
The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last week, making abortion inaccessible to millions of people who depend on the procedure for health, safety, and well-being.
People’s access to healthcare, a basic human right, is being stripped away. Pregnancy, or a rapidly dividing clump of cells, can threaten your life and livelihood. Now our options to address it have tightened.
This country turns a profit off of healthcare, so it remains a privilege instead of a right.
Our collective consciousness still hasn’t digested mass shootings.
About a month ago, 21 people were murdered, 19 of which were children at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Two weeks before that, 10 people were murdered in a racist attack against Black people in Buffalo, New York.
Since then, many more have died from mass shootings.
I write this at the risk of sounding all doomy and gloomy, like a broken record.
If it feels oppressive, it is.
This country was founded on slavery and genocide.
Flaunting the US flag on July 4th this year, especially, feels like an insult.
An insult to those whose land was stolen. An insult to those whose ancestors were slaves. An insult to those whose kids were taken away due to a failure of gun control.
And now, an insult to womxn in the wake of a government that will force unwanted pregnancies. A government that fails to protect children and Black people against gun-based violence.
Both White and non-white people in my personal life proudly display the American flag, including those who voted for Trump, and the truth is:
We are not all that different.
Fundamentally, we want the same things.
Family, friends, belonging. A fair living wage. Honest, stable work; a job that doesn’t leave us depleted. Good health. Community. Something to believe in.
We’re all living the human experience, and not to sound all kumbaya, but the narrative, systems, and algorithms that profit from sowing division and hate only hurt — not help — the average American.
Sure, grieve and mourn. Feel sorry for your country. Tweet a thing or two about your outrage.
And when you’re done with that, do something.
Money made from this article will be donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds.
Thanks for reading!