Dear Liza,

The Star Trek flag…

There are lots of flags in Portland! A flag, being made of just fabric, is an inexpensive way of showing what you think about something. I have been thinking a lot about flags lately, and this morning it sort of all came together.

is just a few blocks from the Marine Corps flag

Visiting different neighborhoods around town, you can see the official view on things by the murals. Murals take permits, cooperation, and are viewed as permanent…that is, once it is up, you can’t cover or remove it without the permission of the artist. So murals tend to be less controversial.

Non-controversial mural

But a flag… it is more temporary, so it can be personal, whimsical, or controversial.

House flags from Hogwarts

Harry Potter or Star Trek flags show a certain geek camaraderie, which I like very much. These represent make believe worlds with heroes and values I respect.

US flag at Rose City Cemetery

The United States or Marine Corps flags are more complicated. I love my country, but don’t like how it is being run or what we have come to represent. I respect individual Marines but not the culture of the Corps.

The rainbow flag, showing acceptance and pride in the Gay community (and which I was told not to show in my classroom just ten years ago), is now everywhere, hanging from City Hall and yarn bombed on telephone poles.

Rainbow Yarn bomb!

Then, this morning, there was a story in the Portland Oregonian about the fans at Portland Timbers (our men’s soccer team) not being allowed to wave their anti-fascist flags at games. This is what it looks like : three arrows in a circle. The image was originally used in 1932 Germany to demonstrate resistance to the Nazi Party. It has become popular in Portland and other places as a sign of opposition to the way President Trump and his allies are running the country.

Iron Front Anti-Fascism flag at Timbers Game

So, if people are being forbidden by the Government to wave their flag which protests fascism, is the government itself Fascist? The government will tell you NO, but it seems to me that there is no middle ground on this one. Either you are against Fascism (your daddy can tell you about World War II when you are older) or you are for it.

I know I am probably over-simplifying but I am okay with that. Flags are a way to simplify issues, to support a cause you believe in with a piece of fabric. Flags are a powerful tool, like speech and art and writing, for good or evil. Fly your own flag, girl!


Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

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