(UNEDITED)I read once that a man had asked Americans to put away their flags, but I kept my flag flying anyway. Sometimes it is used to divide us and rally us to war. I resent the misappropriation, but I'll not put my flag away.
My father and my son have both been taken to their graves resting beneath our flag. At the time, I wasn't lost in reveries about the glory of military service, but of how their lives were woven into the fabric of America since they were boys. There's a lot of America sewn into our flag that is not imperialistic. Look hard and you'll see the threads of gratitude that represent our treasured differences.
America is full of paradox and because it is, it defeats fascism and bigotry every time. We cannot burn our flag without flying it higher. The flag resists misrepresentation by honoring the rights of those in opposition. Not all Americans align themselves with
that Spirit--but those who do are stronger than those who won't. Joe McCarthy had his own fall written into the script. This is true because the American spirit is not just a political entity It is the moral and thoughtful spirit embodied in men like
Emerson, Thoreau and Whitman. It is the reverent spirit of John Muir and Annie Dillard; the musical spirit of Aaron Copeland and Leonard Bernstein. It is a religious spirit--Amish, Quaker, Catholic, Hindu and Muslim. It is our poetry, our land and our
people. It is the outraged poor and the beneficent rich. It is the teacher in her classroom early and the union man on the picket line. It animates the protester and the righteous cop on his beat. There are principles in its fabric that will not allow
it to be reduced to a spirit of war and cultural exclusivity. I refuse to put my flag away and let conservatives claim it as their exclusive ensign. Labor Day is a liberal holiday. It's a good day to fly the broad and tolerant Spirit of America a little