Back in the days of living in Ohio, we had a neighbor that put up a flag pole to fly his American and Ohio State flags. When he told us he was having the pole installed, I immediately offered to replace all American flags for his pole once they became too weathered. Now don't get me wrong, we flew the Stars and Stripes from our portico, but nothing compared to a towering flag pole with lights fixed upon it for a round the clock presence. But our Florida home did not have a place to fly a flag and poles are non-existent on our street. The decision to install a supporting bracket to our house was made easier lately.
What could expedite the raising of our flag on our Florida home? Not long ago, a neighbor known for his conservative (and somewhat skewed societal views on race and same sex marriage), began posting a "Trump, Make America Great Again" campaign sign in his front yard. The problem? We are not allowed under our Home Owners Association Regulations to place signs larger than a note card in our front yard - and his Trump sign far exceeded the allowed limit.
But it was not just the placement of the Trump sign that caught my attention. It was the fact that while many on our community are more and more politically and socially divided, the placement of the sign became a symbol of that very division - with a dose of "in your face" along with it (his home is close to the security gates and is seen by every coming and going neighbor or visitor). Added to this matter is the fact that many residents along our street are retired teachers who did not and do not support Mr. Trump. That alone posed the presentation of the Trump sign as a measure of defiance to most of our neighbors. Yet, in response most simply blew the matter off as an indication of the defensiveness of the owner with "the sign." Kinda of an ignorant chant of "You lost, get over it" (without recognizing that Trump is unfit to serve, regardless of his election). After all, what exactly is there to be proud of when it comes to Trump (unless you count yourself as one of his supporting cult that put the man above the interests of all Americans)?
About a year ago, a same sex couple moved directly next door to us from Colorado. Both are kind and generous and wonderful additions to our street. I wondered how they felt when the "Trump" sign was put up considering Trump supporters' low regard for LGBTQ citizens? Coincidentally, the new couple had a bracket installed and now proudly fly the Stars and Stripes on their home. Was this a political response to the Trump supporter or was it just a coincidence? Not one to ignore the symbolism involved, I made it clear I too would have a bracket installed and will proudly fly the flag at my home. Now we have two homes next to each other with flags a-flying! With all of the ginned up controversy surrounding athletes kneeling during the National Anthem, I now find several reasons to proudly display the flag - as it represents our Country and the Constitution our liberties are based upon. So, by flying the flag, I show my respect for the Country, the Constitution and to all Americans without publicly picking and choosing one "tribe over another!"
Which is the point right? We cannot simply sustain the divisive rhetoric of the Right Wing. We cannot allow them to systematically hijack our Country's ideals for their own political gains founded on a starvation for power over others. We need to heal this nation and if flying the American Flag helps to bring us back together than I am all for it! Since the two flags have been flying, the Trump sign has no longer been displayed. Coincidence? Perhaps. But We the People was never intended to be "We the GOP and no one else!"
As one-time (and seemingly long ago) presidential candidate Mitt Romney once wrote; "Good Democrats love America. Good Republicans love America. We need a leader who understands not just the words of unity but the practice of building unity." Now if only Trump and his supporters would understand the division they seem to relish will never make America "great" but will deeply harm her instead. Have a great week!