MAGA doesn't own the flag

Jim Chrisinger flies the flag pictured here at his house, and not just on Flag Day.

The MAGA right doesn’t own the flag. The right doesn’t own patriotism. The right’s version of America isn’t even true to America’s founding, to its principles and values, or to the Constitution.  

America is a democracy, where every vote counts and every vote should be counted fairly. Gerrymandering, voter suppression, and election nullification have no place here.  

Democracy requires the rule of law, which means that the law applies equally to all of us. Donald Trump repeatedly broke the law or refused to enforce laws when it suited him. Most Republicans still refuse to hold him accountable, which shows their disdain for the rule of law. That’s not American. 

America welcomes the world’s “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” America doesn’t demonize immigrants. In this country everyone—not just “legacy Americans”—can aspire to their hopes and dreams. Every generation of immigrants has enriched America, including forebearers of most of us.  

The First Amendment commits us to a strong and independent press. Vilifying the press vilifies the First Amendment.  

All religions are welcome here. America was founded by those fleeing religious persecution. Our constitution separates church and state. Christians have no monopoly in this country, and certainly not the right to impose their religion on others.  

America is “where right matters,” as Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified at Trump’s first impeachment. No democracy can survive without facts and dialogue seeking truth, as best we can know it. Truth matters. 

America strives to be a force for progress, peace, and justice in the world. We don’t withdraw from the world; we marshal our fellow democracies to put bullies in their place, as we are doing for Ukraine now.  

And while we are imperfect, and have many times not lived up to our creed, America continually strives to be better, to create a more perfect union.  

So fly the flag. We are the patriots. We’re not the ones hating on America. We’re the ones actually making America great again.

Jim Chrisinger is a retired public servant living in Ankeny. He served in both Republican and Democratic administrations, in Iowa and elsewhere. 

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  • This post hits home.

    Back in the mid-Eighties, a staunch Democratic friend joked that I should stop using flag stamps on my mail because flags were a symbol of being Republican. I laughed and explained that the flags had been the only stamps available at the drug store. But I felt very uneasy. And then I began to see more and more signals that she really was right.

    Ten years ago, a sibling gave me a teeshirt that displayed a gentle joke about the Iowa caucuses. But by far the biggest thing visible on that shirt was an American flag. And shortly after receiving the shirt, I decided to only wear it around the house.

    Thank you, Jim Chrisinger, for your timely reminder that I should not just make assumptions when I see a flag displayed.

  • Amen, Jim!

    Amen, Jim! Well put!