What comes to mind when you see this ’76 flag (on my house)?
What values do you associate with this flag?
After putting this flag up, a good neighbor of mine text my wife much dismay with the flag pictured above. Because I was so surprised by my neighbor’s understanding of the ’76 flag, I am posting it here because I think that me and my neighbor share the same values; however, our interpretation of American symbols are very, very different. I will signify my neighbor’s comment with “N”, my wife’s comments with “W” and my comments with “JR.” This conversation started with my neighbor texting my wife:
N: Yup. Nothing like hanging a flag reminiscent of a time when women had absolutely had no rights. Cool. Nothing like looking back instead of forward. No worries, though, I don’t care what his politics are but when [my kid] asked about the funny flag I let [my kid] know what it would mean to [my kid] personally.
W: Sorry I have no control over what flies at our house or what school we side with on my license plate. 🙂 John says it stands for republicanism (equality over authoritarianism). We got him started now. He’s not happy with the interpretation
N: There was absolutely no equality for women until at least 1920. If you purposely display something that evokes strong sentimentality on your part better be prepared for everyone on the other side. He can explain to Ava [JR’s kid] how equal it is for women to not have have rights. Good luck with that.
JR: (John here) 1776 signifies the overthrow of domination by one against the other. The times were unequal, and the founders were far from perfect, but 76 symbolizes the idea of freedom from domination. To equate the time period with the message is to conflate the two
N: Freedom for white men, John, not freedom for all, that wasn’t a consideration for decades later, centuries in many cases and is still an issue globally. The fact that the human race did not consider “equality” to mean anything beyond the narrow scope of white man (in this instance) is an embarrassment to the species. That couple hundred year era, in particular, saw much of theost barassing [sic] [the most embarrassing] treatments of the anything-but-the homogenous-male by the “civilized” in the history of human kind. It is what it is. You can feel proud to fly your flag for your reasons and I can recognize what it also stands for for mine. Truly, no worries, different ideologies.
JR: Not different ideologies. If you are all about “nondomination” between races, gender, ethnicity. Then “76” is that flag…same ideology of the equal sign for gay rights. Just sayin. 76 fyi, is not the same as 1787 (constitution) which did code inequality etc. that’s why Abe Lincoln and others when they talk about equal rights specifically refer to 76…. You know I specialize in this conversation 😉
My neighbor didn’t respond to that, I assume, because we wouldn’t get anywhere (me writing my dissertation in poli-sci on a similar topic)–since my neighbor didn’t say; “Oh, I guess I conflated the two. There probably were people fighting, under the ideals of the Declaration of Independence (i.e., 1776) for the same freedoms we enjoy today–probably because of people, like you, who were [are] faithful to ’76…I’m glad you are flying it.” I assume my neighbor still looks at the ’76 flag and thinks about discrimination and inequality, etc.
I’m glad my neighbor started this conversation because I never would have guessed that someone would see the ’76 flag and associate it with the times and not the people holding the flag–those people fighting for freedom. In the end, I hope my neighbor considers my viewpoint–that we share the same values; only our interpretation of the symbols are different.
If so, I’m sure the neighborhood will become a stronger community. If not, I honestly think you risk teaching your child false doctrines, which will hinder your child’s educational growth and development. If your messages are sincere, I’m worried your hatred for inequality causes you to misunderstand and misinterpret American symbols.
I think this post is important as Memorial Day comes–as I remember all the troops from 1776 to the present who fought for freedom. Thanks for reading. Comments welcome below.
fyi: the license plate is Michigan State (go Green!).