AuthorHightower, Jim

I'm flying a flag these days. The Stars and Stripes, Old Glory, America's flag, OUR flag! I've strapped it to my 2011 made-in-the-USA Ford Fiesta, and I'm zipping around town as proudly as anyone else in the red, white, and blue Bubbaland of South Austin, like some modern-day Patrick Henry on wheels.

As with so many other Americans, I'm flying our flag out of an assertive, perhaps defiant pride. For I am proud, damned proud, to be an American citizen, and, in this time of true woe and deep national divide, I'll be damned to hell before I meekly sit by and allow this symbol of our nation's founding ideals of liberty and justice for all to be captured and defiled by reactionary autocrats, theocrats, xenophobic haters, warmongers, America-firsters, corporatists, militarists, fearmongers, political weasels, and other rank opportunists.

Our flag is no piece of sheeting for authoritarians to hide behind as they rend our hard-won liberties in the name of Trump. Nor is our flag some bloody rag to be waved by politicians hoping to turn our people's republic into a garrisoned state, armed to the teeth and mired in fear and hatred.

We Americans are not that blind. Our flag is the banner of freedom seekers, risk-takers, democracy builders, rebels, pioneers, mavericks, barn raisers, and hell-raisers. We are liberty-loving people who are naturally suspicious of authority and able to detect that the real threat to our land of the free comes not from afar, but from within.

Our flag is made of strong democratic cloth, artfully designed and painstakingly stitched together, liberty by individual liberty, people's movement by people's movement. Our flag embodies a democratic continuum that connects us today to the pamphleteers and Sons of Liberty, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, the abolitionists and the suffragists, Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass, the populists and the Wobblies, Mother Jones and Joe Hill, Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez.

Protest is the essence of American democracy, of America itself, and it is especially essential when a muddleheaded guy like Donald Trump sits in the President's chair. Under his watch, militarized police are taking the lives of more than 1,000 people every year, with Black Americans being disproportionately killed at the hands of police officers.

COVID-19 is ravaging our country while our leaders in Washington, D.C., refuse to lead. Our economy is crashing as corporate CEOs pay...

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