I had an interesting experience last week.
A friend who knows me pretty well but had never been to my home was dropping something off. She had the address, but wasn’t sure she had the right house.
Walking up the steps she saw the American flag hanging by the front door, and immediately thought: “This can’t be Mike’s house.” Then she saw a little terra cotta rabbit in the front garden, and said “This definitely isn’t Mike’s house!”
Putting aside the rabbit for a minute………….what is it about me that would cause a smart and sophisticated person to conclude that I would never have an American flag flying outside my home?
When she told me the story, I explained that as a liberal, I wasn’t willing to cede patriotism to conservatives, and that I didn’t think she should either. A rich and wonderful conversation ensued.
I am a proud liberal. I believe that government action can be a powerful tool to improve the lives of the poor, to advance the cause of civil rights for all Americans, to protect our food supply, to educate our children, even to provide our healthcare. I’m often frustrated by the pace of advancement, but never do I lose hope. I fly our flag as a symbol of my hope in America.
In my life I’ve seen enormous change, almost more than I can fathom. How can you consider the speed with which our armed forces have implemented the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and not see irrefutable evidence of our power as a nation to move forward quickly, together? I fly our flag as a symbol of my confidence in America.
My father, like most men of his generation, served in World War II as radio man in a bomber. My aunt was a nurse in the Pacific. Other uncles served also, in one of the monumental struggles of good against evil, where this country defended freedom for the entire world. I fly our flag in gratitude for their service to America.
Yet “flag waver” evokes in liberals a type of person that we’re too quick to diminish and dismiss. If we’re truly the advocates for progress and the holders of hope, then we should be waving the flag higher than anyone.
Oh, and the rabbit? My mother gave it to me, and it’s cute. Give me a break!