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My First Flag

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From the website MyFirstFlag.org:

Hello, Democrat, smiling and happy, blinking like a newborn in the new light. Good morning, African Americans, groggy from celebrating a well deserved victory. A shout out to the Youth Demographic, and a big hello to you Radicals (anarchists, communists, enviro-socialists, queer activists etc.) who we haven't seen in a long time, but you cast your ballot this year despite the fact that voting is an arm of the System that you have distrusted since you donned your first black turtleneck. Welcome, disenchanted moderate Republicans. Please come in, relax, it's going to be just fine.

So, we've all been living it up for a few weeks now. President elect Barack Obama has been swept into office, and those of us who have always loved our country, but have often disagreed with much of what it has done in the past eight years, are ready to celebrate Inauguration Day on January 20th is a time of change and hope and possibility. We've indulged in smug I Told You So smiles and momentary swagger but now we know it's time to drop our glee. Our man Obama has said that this is a new day, of unity and coalition for our country. And we believe him. We want that too. We know it's time to look ahead to a bright future and not behind at our bickering past. We're going to simultaneously celebrate the new course the United States of America will take and reach across the aisle, or apartment building, or railroad track, or unincorporated road, or pew.

"And so it's time to hang out the American flag.

True, most of us have long eschewed the American flag. For years now it has not been a symbol of unity, but an unwilling pawn in a battle of partisan ideas. It's been wielded against us, as an accusation of our unpatriotic ways, and we've been guilty too, assuming that anyone who flies it belongs to a certain, narrow set of beliefs that we abhor. As grubby hands from all political sides tried to grab it (or burn it) to highlight their values, most of us forsook it, in order to avoid being falsely represented. We didn't buy flag beach towels, or the tiny flag cufflinks or any stickers for our cars. We refused those ubiquitous American flag stamps even though they came in handy rolls (taking the oversentimental Love stamps instead). Hanging a flag meant supporting wars we didn't believe in, or a strange confluence of religion and politics that we couldn't risk. September 11th 2001 was a tragedy that could not be assuaged by flag waving, so we eschewed it then too. For many of us, the flag came to represent something that we weren't terribly proud or it lost its power all together. In the end, we loved our country but we had no specific symbol by which to express our patriotism.

Our goal at Myfirstflag.org is to have all of us fly an American flag with pride on Inauguration Day, January 20th 2009. That means those of us who have never had a flag and those of us who have always kept one at the ready. We want to give Old Glory new meaning. Once again it will represent the basic values of freedom, solidarity, hope, and equality. The American flag should return as a unifying symbol of what is best about our country, and with your help it will. Our vision at MyFirstFlag.org is simple. We're proud to be American on January 20th, and we're proud to say we haven't always been proud. But on this the first day of our new president Barack Obama, we unite behind our most powerful symbol. Put up your first flag. We want millions and millions of them across the country to wave proudly from lawns and windows, snapping and flapping in unison, reverberating as our national heartbeat.