According to a report from Politico, the American flag is making a comeback after the defeat of Donald Trump, with foes of the president embracing the symbol of freedom and democracy that they feel he and his fans have defiled.
In interviews with voters, many said they had become ashamed of the flag that was used as a prop by the president at the same time he was embracing foreign dictators overseas. With the president scheduled to exit the Oval Office on January 20th, flags that were put away during his presidency are being dusted off and displayed again.
According to 72-year-old veteran Curtis Woodall, he ordered a new flag a month before the election anticipating a presidential victory by former Vice President Joe Biden. He said he had been dismayed by Trump fans waving their flags from trucks, saying, "They’ve always got a Trump flag and the American flag. And I said, ‘That’s bull. That is desecrating the flag that I served over 20 years with.’”
Woodall is not alone.
"Across the country, in their cautious euphoria after the election, foes of Trump have been embracing the flag in similar ways: unfurling it in front of their homes, waving it in the streets, or simply looking at it differently," Politico's Joanna Weiss reports. "The day Biden gave his victory speech, Nancy La Vigne, executive director of the Council on Criminal Justice’s Task Force on Policing, took out the flag she always flies on holidays and hung it outside her home in liberal Bethesda, Maryland. La Vigne meant the act as 'an expression of pride in how the system of democracy actually works.' But as the hours went by and she noticed more and more flags around her neighborhood, she realized she was seeing something broader: A spontaneous reclaiming of a symbol that, in the Trump years, had come to represent only one side."
The report notes that fans of the president tended to mix their American flags with flags celebrating the Confederacy as well as Nazi flags, and that has not gone unnoticed by Americans.
"La Vigne once saw a tweet that showed a Confederate flag, a Nazi flag and the American flag, with text suggesting that they all had the same meaning. More commonly, people shied away from what they feared would be an association with the wrong side," the report states. "To people who grew up steeped in old-school displays of patriotism, this divisiveness over the flag has been cause for dismay.
According to Tom LaRussa, 67, a retiree in Somers, Connecticut, "It’s been branded as a sign of the Trump supporters. And it’s taken away from what I grew up with, like the Pledge of Allegiance, the flag code, all that stuff. They raised the flag on Iwo Jima and it meant freedom.”
LaRussa admitted he was overjoyed when Biden won and the flag was prominently displayed during his acceptance speech.
“People were out in the streets. They were waving the American flag,” he explained. “And I said to my daughter, ‘It looks like the American flags are back.’”
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