I wanted to find a symbol that might depict for all people the feeling of people of color in America surrounding the unjustified shootings and violence and discrimination and institutional racism which is recently being spoken against in our public arenas and in the streets. I wanted that perfect image of what the state of justice and civil rights and equality in our country are.
So at first I thought of the obvious image of the American flag used to signal distress by being flown upside down. Here is what the Law of the United States says about it.
THE UNITED STATES FLAG CODE
Title 4, Chapter 1
- 8(a)The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
Here is an example of how to effectively display the flag in distress by an active member of the military.
The statement he wrote on the upside down flag reads “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people”
Then I thought we need an image that is truly current and represents the mood of the oppressed so I looked and found the flag of protest pictured here.
A group of protesters demonstrating together against police violence and brutality on blacks marching in the streets. The flag depicting the names of those shot and killed.
As I continued my search I thought I would play with the idea of designing a NEW AMERICAN FLAG. After all Betsy Ross had her chance so I would take mine. I envisioned a flag much like ours but in black and white instead of red, white and blue. Black and White to show the huge divide between Black and White perspectives of the world in America. But my design needed something to drive home the horrendous nature of the violence we have seen between blacks and police of late. So I thought to put one RED STRIPE across my new flag to show in stark relief the image I wanted to invoke in people the current state of things. Here is my first design:
Unfortunately someone else already created it. This is a flag you can buy today from Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Thin-Red-Line-Flag-Firefighters/dp/B01A97O0KE/ref=pd_bxgy_86_img_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=476NFKNN1NGQDG6RCCN5
Here is what the listing at Amazon says “The Thin Red Line is a symbol used to recognize Firefighters for their unwavering courage. Between harm’s way and innocent citizens stands a thin red line of committed firefighters and EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians.) These brave men and women, first responders, put their lives second to those that they protect.”
You may know that “The Thin Red Line” is a film from 1998 about war focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War. Here is an excerpt:
Private Edward P. Train: [narration] This great evil, where’s it come from? How’d it steal into the world? What seed, what root did it grow from? Who’s doing this? Who’s killing us, robbing us of life and light, mocking us with the sight of what we might’ve known? Does our ruin benefit the earth, does it help the grass to grow, the sun to shine? Is this darkness in you, too? Have you passed through this night?
Wow! That is kind of spooky as to how this seemingly random dialog from a movie by the same name as this flag speaks to what is happening in the streets of America today. Maybe the designers didn’t know about this movie when naming this flag design. So I was even more confused and unsure about my design ideas but it did remind me of another Black White and Red flag design.
The flag of the German Empire during World War 1. Once again seems like knowing a little history could serve us well when trying to decide on a new American symbol. I was learning this flag designing stuff was hard.
I was undeterred however and would not give up. I wanted to continue my search but not before I came across this flag as well
You’ll never guess what this one is for…
The Amazon listing explains it this way. “The Thin Blue Line is a symbol recognizing Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) for their courage while keeping the peace. One black bar below represents the criminal element in society. One black bar above represents the innocent citizens. What stands in the middle is a thin blue line of committed Police. Display this flag to support the brave men and women that serve and protect.”
You may know that “The Thin Blue Line” is a movie from 1988. Synopsis from IMDB “A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas.”
Maybe the flag designers didn’t know about this. Hmm.
If these designers are so far off how can I expect to do better? I plunged forward in my search for the perfect new American flag symbol. But wait, then THIS! From Cornell University Law School:
18 U.S. Code § 700 – Desecration of the flag of the United States; penalties
(a)(1) Whoever knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
(2) This subsection does not prohibit any conduct consisting of the disposal of a flag when it has become worn or soiled.
Wait a minute. I wanted to design a new flag but just realized that almost every picture of the flag, both present and future, I have shown hear could be breaking the law. If I continue I could be fined and jailed for a year!? Oh well I say, “WORTH IT!” Moving on.
But since so many others seem to be acting criminally with there use of the flag and flag designs I thought Hey you better be smart about this. Know the history of the symbolism of your own flag before you start. So I did some research. Ultimately there is NO OFFICIAL SYMBOLISM for our flags colors of symbols. The exception being the number of stars and each one representing a state. The history of the red white and blue are simply our new nation coopting the colors from mother England’s Union Jack. Ok so we like red, white and blue. I can work with that. So I think finally I have my design. I present to you for the first time anywhere the new symbol of American. Please rise and salute the flag of the United States of America.
Or maybe this one. Maybe more than any other design this embodies America. Sex, Female Exploitation, Skin, Women’s bodies, did I mention SEX
Wait how did that get in here? To my wife “Honey look away. This was just a momentary distraction.” To the fella’s, “Whose with me on this design. So many front thighs on Linda Carter?”
This could work… right? Kaepernick symbolizes “Colin-izaton” and the upside down flag represents our distress?
Now here is a new flag design with the flag in distress… or maybe not. Did I mention nothing says America better than SEX and the Exploitation of Women’s Bodies? But seriously fella’s am I right? Americans next official symbol? I could rock shorts like that!
It’s so hard to decide with all these great designs. I know, here is one that says America better than all the others. I heard the Trump campaign officially approved it. Hey at least it’s red, white and blue…
With that in mind we could just do this
Maybe if we all stand up and cover our heart, salute and sing while seeing Black Lives Matter people will actually start to believe it.
So did I succeed in finding the new symbol of America? Maybe. Maybe not. What I think we can all agree is there are many images which represent who America is and who we as Americans are today. Some of those images we can be proud of and some others not so much. PEACE