Recently we had to replace the American flag that hangs outside our front door. The old one, left by the previous owner of the house we bought last year, had one too many holes in it for me.
Though, I debated for a while whether to put up something different — say, the flag of our favorite sports team.
Before this year I have not had a U.S. flag adorning my house in all my lifetime. But it seemed odd to remove the one left for us. For one, the neighbors might think we changed our minds about patriotism. And second, most importantly, in this era of deep concern for democracy, I thought the symbol and the ideals represented by the flag need renewal, not replacement.
We live in a moment where so many neighbors, Georgians and U.S. residents believe lies. Especially the Big Lie that Trump actually won the election and was kept from a second term due to a nationwide conspiracy of electoral fraud. The blood of valor symbolized in the red stripes, the purity of the white stripes and the blue for justice are dishonored by those who believe this lie. This lie not only propelled the Jan. 6 insurrection but it will do more damage, if you let it.
Those who stormed the Capitol brought U.S. flags alongside their Trump flags. They were not tourists or merely caught up in a mob. While some have been arrested and rightly charged with crimes, some of our leaders downplayed that day and so dishonor the flag.
They also dishonor the flag when they push the Big Lie and give cover to those who would attack our most important democratic institutions. Election workers continue to receive death threats across the country. And GOP state legislators in Georgia and other states are using the lie of “election integrity” — when no one based in reality questions the integrity of the 2020 election — to punish them for merely doing their job.
We don’t need a new flag as a nation. We only need more people to honor it.
Matthew Neal Boedy