When I looked at TV coverage of election celebrations from Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia, and my city of Washington, DC, I saw liberals and Democrats waving the American flag. BIPOC, LGBTQ, people whose T-shirts and buttons proudly proclaimed who they were and what they valued, people who had been demeaned and insulted, bullied, and dismissed. People who looked like me, people who shared my views and my hopes.
For me, the American flag had been co-opted by right-wing America, the far-right-wing. The flag-wavers who I usually saw weren’t simply those who called themselves conservative, but people whose views of what America should be involved taking away their fellow Americans’ rights. They insulted, maligned, minimized, and marginalized anyone whose opinions, skin color, religious beliefs, or families differed from their own. They waved that flag with aggression and superiority. The symbols that represented them—especially the American flag—couldn’t represent me.
So, I noticed them… people I can identify with… as they raised and waved that flag, a symbol I had become doubtful would ever represent what I—and they—believed in.
The announcement that Joe Biden was president-elect and Kamala Harris was vice president-elect was met with shouts, cheers, horn honking, and … flag waving as people celebrated the end of four long years of hatred, lies, and national disgrace. They celebrated the election of a man of integrity who pronounced he would reclaim the soul of America, a man with vision, a leader for all Americans. They celebrated the first Black vice president and the first woman, and even the first second gentleman. They were joyful, smiling, dancing, high-fiving, and proudly waving our flag. I noticed. I felt the same way — a new lightness and relief at reclaiming America and the American flag as my symbol, a symbol of my country, a country that isn’t perfect, but one whose days ahead now seem hopeful.
We can make America great… it can live up to its ideals. The president-elect encapsulated America in one word: Possibilities.
13 Replies to “11/7/20: The date I reclaimed the American flag”
Powerfully said. I’m with you!
Thank you Tamara. Very well said
Yes yes yes!!!
I still remember my friends and I rejecting the flag when I was in 5th grade and I did not salute the flag, sing the National Anthem, or even wear red, white, and blue together until President Obama was elected. I still remember buying red, white, and blue scarves, tees and generally wearing the combination because I felt American and proud to be an American. Of course, that stopped with the election and ensuing presidency of 45, and although I feel a joy and deep desire to make a proclamation again, it still feels so tenuous for me. As always, I love a Tamara — Daughters of the Dream post.
Valarie, I feel the tenuousness too. I hope if we can get behind it fully, America will become what it was/is meant to be.
To our honor of what can remain our Red, White and Blue.
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Yes, much to my dismay, I, too, had started viewing the American flag as representative of the far-right wing. I could not bring myself to display my American flag even though I had 3 Biden-Harris signs in my yard until after November 7th. I felt very happy that the flag had been reclaimed for all Americans after that date and displayed it proudly,, particularly on Veterans Day.
I love that your post included LGBTQ people. I was also really happy that Ruth gave you the shoutout and recognition that you deserved at the WRAG annual meeting. You are an amazing person, and I’m grateful to know you. ❤️
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Thank you, Channing. I’d never leave out the LGBTQ community. I appreciated Ruth’s shoutout. My time at WRAG was very important to me. I hope you have a safe and festive Thanksgiving.
I too, felt the flag had been tainted. I kept seeing pickup trucks displaying the American flag along with trump signs, and I felt that the flag had begun to represent the trumpettes. I was thrilled to see the pure joy overflowing into the streets when Biden was elected. In two months, we will be celebrating the return of normalcy to the presidency. Excellent post, Tamara. Filled with hope and possibilities.
Well put Tamara! We look forward to welcoming America back. I have kept a few smaller flags around the home to symbolize the America I love to keep hope alive!