Display of Flag May Not Mean What You Think

Part of moving beyond isolation and fear and towards activism to oppose the coming war involves talking to our neighbors and hearing what they think, rather than making assumptions that “the mainstream” all favors war. The media is telling one story, but I’m beginning to think when you actually talk to people a lot of people aren’t being reflected in the polls and man-on-the-street interviews.

Walking around, even in Berkeley, one sees the American flag flying on numerous houses – more than I’ve ever seen before. Far more than on the 4th of July. And according to reports, the flag is up even more in the rest of the Country. Flags are sold out in stores across the Country. Even my normally left/liberal parents have hung out a flag.

Does this mean that all of these people are unquestioning Bush supporters or supporters of war? We must not assume this. I’ve been talking to people flying the flag, and at least around here, average people are really worried about the war being worse than the September 11 attack. While some of these people may want “justice” or some kind of surgical attack on whoever may be responsible (putting aside for a moment whether such surgery is possible with high explosives) most people don’t support a war. The realize that a war where there is no definable enemy is a disaster waiting to happen. At least for the moment, the flag can be merely a symbol of solidarity with people who have lost loved ones. I’m not saying we should all fly the flag, but we shouldn’t immediately assume al the flags means the mass of people in this country wants a disastrous, permanent war. They don’t.