As we celebrate the Fourth of July holiday here in the United States, I am reminded of the emotional power flags have. A flag can become powerful visual hammer for a country, company, idea or movement.
In the United States, flags will be waving this weekend as we celebrate our independence from British rule.
Some other flags have been in the news recently as well. Most notably the Confederate flag and the gay pride flag.
The gay pride flag first flew during the Gay Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco in 1978. It has become a widely recognized visual hammer for gay rights and more recently marriage equality for gays and lesbians. The rainbow of colors symbolize the inclusion of all groups.
The Confederate flag was the flag of Confederate States from 1861-1865. That is a very brief amount of time, only four years, 150 years ago. Most flags would have been long forgotten. But many have continued to fly the Confederate flag.
Is it just a flag? No, like it or not, it has become associated with the support of racial discrimination. If you think you are just proud of your southern heritage, you may be. And you may not be a racists. However, you need to be aware that to many, especially the black community, the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism. So every Southerner needs to ask themselves, Why in the world would we want to fly a flag that might do that?
The Confederate flag reminds people of our past, of the horrible treatment of blacks in our country which is why most people have come to demand the flag be in a museum not proudly flown.
The gay pride flag represents our future to be a country that gives equal freedoms including marriage to all citizens. Gay pride flags were once only flown by gays, but today they are being celebrated by all that support the marriage equality act held up by the Supreme Court.
No matter what your political or social beliefs you can’t argue with the emotional power that these flags have in society. Something to think about.