It’s a pretty typical sight on suburban highways, even here in liberal Massachusetts. Sometimes you even see them intrude on the streets of Boston. An oversized, shiny, clean pickup, the soft-hands kind of truck, not the sort that’s ever done a day’s work in its life, its spotless bed sporting only two things, side-by-side American flags set to wave in the breeze as they head out to haul a heavy load of nothing. And something dawned on me the last time i saw one, something that kinda curdled in my brain and bugged me; when i see this type of thing, the first thing i think is, “That man* is my enemy.”
Which is a pretty awful thing to think, for a couple of reasons:
First, let’s consider the fact that it’s gotten to the point where someone that disagrees with me qualifies as an enemy.
Secondly, let’s think about how much it sucks that the flag of my own country has been stolen from me to the point where i’m stirred to anger by people that wave it.
It’s a pretty depressing thing, but this is the place that we are in. It works kinda like this. Anyone in 2018 so moved to ostentatiously fly the American flag is overwhelmingly likely to be a Republican. From 2001 on, the Republican Party and its followers deftly moved to equate their views on everything from counterterrorism to taking healthcare from kids, to taking kids from their parents, to rooting for the Yankees with patriotism, and with the flag. You show the flag**, you’re on their side, almost by definition. And in 2001, we certainly weren’t going to upgrade disagreement to enmity, but by 2003, you could at least understand how we might someday get there. In 2018, i’m pretty comfortable saying that Republicans are my enemy, in that to the extent that they are fighting for their side, i believe they are fighting for evil, full stop.
So it surprised me not when one of those trucks roared down a city street after the Womens March and shouted slurs at us. It’s merely a more overt way of saying what they’ve stolen the flag and made it say. They took my flag and made it say that it hates gays, that immigrants aren’t Americans, that poor people should go uncared for, and that the wealthy should have dominion over us all.
It’s going to say that until we take it back, and we’re only going to take it back by defeating… that’s right, our enemies.