I sat down with for an exclusive interview with the American Flag to discuss its thoughts on today’s current events. You won’t find this anywhere else, you saw it here first people. The Flag trusts me.
Kay: I was reading this story where two high school football referees walked off the field when four high school players–two Black–knelt during the national anthem. One of the referees said he wouldn’t even take disrespect towards the flag from a baby. At that moment it hit me that the most important voice we are missing in the debate of (im)proper “flag protest” is yours. What do you make us this?
Flag: A baby? Well to begin, us flags are the recognized symbol of our home country—the nation we represent. It’s imagery. You can find me on military bases to the bikini section in Macy’s to a Pinterest desserts board.
Kay: Yes. You’re at the White House but you’re also seen in homes, window frames, bumper stickers, clothing, cakes, dashboards, hats. The lists can go on. How did you adjust when you expanded past the borders of government grounds?
Flag: Can’t beat em’, join em’. But I get it. If I mean that much to you, it’s understandable that you would want to show a piece of me for yourself.
Kay: I want to get into the controversy sparked by Colin Kaepernick when the media first ran the story he was kneeling during the national anthem at games? What were your thoughts when you were at the game and saw Colin was kneeling.
Flag: Sometimes I watch the games, sometimes I’m just flapping in the wind.
Kay: Do you think people are intentionally interchanging you with the national anthem in counterarguments?
Flag: Not necessarily. Going back as far as the late 19th century and early 20th century, all Americans had wall pride in being American. As time evolved there’s discovery, colonization, civilization, war and as times goes on there’s less unity. The flag starts to represent different things for different people. I understand the point-of-view of those who believe in me or oppose me as a symbol of liberty, justice, and humanity.
Kay: That makes a lot of sense, there is obviously a disconnect.
Flag: Absolutely. But it’s practically innate for you to connect the flag to the Star Bangled Banner even with three decades of separation between us. Today, there’s no me without the song and no song without me. That also goes for the Pledge of Allegiance too.
Kay: Do you think Colin is taking it too far with kneeling during games?
Flag: I think Colin is doing what he feels is right. At some point what I represent contradicts the America he knows today. You can’t discredit emotions because emotions can be instinctive to why someone feels the way they feel.
Kay: Are those who kneel during the national anthem disrespecting you (even if it’s a baby)? Is that a right way to protest social injustice?
Flag: I mean let’s be real—babies are not coming out the wound saluting. But what is the right way to protest anything? There’s no perfect way to express opposition. Why would you not use the exact idea you oppose to rally against the message? Would you protest handcuffs or law enforcement to bring awareness to police brutality? Would you protests the Affordable Health Care Act or Hobby Lobby to bring awareness to for-profit corporations that don’t offer their employees emergency contraceptives? Do you protest Vietnam or the U.S. involvement in Vietnam? I am an idea. Are people protesting me as a literal flag or a symbol?
Kay: Do you agree football players, well athletes overall, should be fired for kneeling during the anthem?
Flag: Well, is kneeling unlawful? What we’re seeing today is a violation of social norms and mores. It is socially acceptable to stand in silence during the national anthem, to not do so is morally unethical. These cultural constructs are so deeply ingrained in us it isn’t up for debate whether you stand or not, you just do. But in the ruling of Texas vs Johnson, any form of flag protest is a freedom of speech. I much rather see people kneel then burn me. Are people who kneel during the national anthem morally unethical if they’re protesting inequality in their country? If we start enforcing harsh punishments for deconstructing social structure, what will differentiate us from nations that do? But it’s bigger than Colin or sports. At the end of the day, this kneeling gesture sparked some emotion to get people talking about what’s going on.
Kay: I don’t even think you have to be visible for people to kneel.
Flag: I don’t. It’s not a me thing, it’s an us thing. Are people protesting me, the song, or both? If you place your hand over your heart every time you see me then okay. But saying veterans fought and died for us to honor the flag makes every single war we’ve ever fought just about a flag. Nobody wants the liberty and justice for all more than me and if we all listen to each and open our hearts it can happen, it will happen.
Kay: Flag, you’re a real one. Thanks for giving me your first ever interview.
Flag: Anytime. Don’t be fooled by impostors.