Flag waving

Again, for those of you not of FB

Ok, being brave here and trying to raise my consciousness.

Confession. Something I have noticed in myself and been troubled by in a way that I haven’t acknowledged in the past. There is a house in our neighborhood that now has 2 Trump signs and a Trump flag raised on a newly erected flagpole. I have met this man only briefly, occasionally, in the past. Now, I find myself filled with rash judgments about him… his attitudes, his aggression, his beliefs about … and I am repulsed. I don’t remember feeling this way during a political season before this. I would, of course, see the signs of the opposing candidates in my neighbors yards without this feeling of enmity, understanding that the other has a viewpoint about how this country should be governed or the direction he/she believed was correct, but I would not notice such dis-ease in me.

I wonder what to do with this awareness in me?

Have I become that which I say I abhor? Do I stereotype, with a sort of gut response of fear/hatred, a person with a Trump flag in his yard as persons might also stereotype a man in a hoodie? or a woman wearing a burka? etc. Could it be then that I exhibit Trumpism? Have I essentially made an ‘other’ of him? What does that say about me? That we all contain that which we say we despise?

I wonder about the ways that our brains are conditioned… images juxtaposed with stories about those images, so that in the end simply the image itself brings this instant visceral response, so that we can no longer respond to the actual image/person that is before us, in the moment as they stand before us, without those feelings that have been associated for us to them rushing forth.

But I also wonder, when is disgust an appropriate response?

I know there is something about the flag that elicits this reaction in me. In my gut perhaps I link that flag with white supremacy movements, with demagoguery, with Confederate flags or KKK sheets. It feels like a statement, not just of policy preference, but of I don’t know what. Aggression? Bullying? Perhaps I need to extricate that association somehow, but I wonder where do we draw the line? If my neighbor decides to raise Nazi flag,  as is protected by the First Amendment, is it then ok to view that as an intentional message? Do I then have the evidence to receive and to hold a certain understanding of his beliefs, ideals and assumptions? It feels like a slippery slope without a definite line.

I am trying to own these feelings in me, for now. Look at them. That is all. I wonder, how are you noticing these things in yourself?

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