Patriotism is red, white & blue, not blue vs. red.

I’m takin’ the USA flag back.

For years, the “Grand Old Party” has been wrapping itself in Old Glory as if it has a stronger claim to patriotism, with the flag as its symbol, than anyone else.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, many non-Republican citizens of the USA have come to accept that, if not believe it. And somehow, somewhere along the way, people started equating those misguided perceptions with the idea that support for active-duty military personnel and veterans is wrapped up in the same narrative.

I’ve had more than enough of the suggestion that the flag serves or represents one party or ideology or citizen any more than any other party or ideology or citizen.

Truth – Every citizen of the USA has equal claim to The Stars and Stripes.

So I’m takin’ the flag back.

They’ve Done Studies

A study by psychology professors from the University of Chicago, Cornell University and Hebrew University found that “A Single Exposure to the American Flag Shifts Support Toward Republicanism up to 8 Months Later.”

In the abstract of their study, published in Psychological Science in 2011, the authors wrote:

“… a brief exposure to the American flag led to a shift toward Republican beliefs, attitudes, and voting behavior among both Republican and Democratic participants, despite their overwhelming belief that exposure to the flag would not influence their behavior….”

In the “popular” press, you’ll still find stories with headlines like this –

Author at The People's March in Fargo, N.D.
My wife, my mother-in-law and me at The People’s March in 2017.

What is this all about?

Why is it that whenever I used to drive by a house displaying the flag year-round, not just on holidays, my inadvertent thought was, “Oh, a Republican must live there.”

Why do people associate The Red, White and Blue with being a red?

No doubt there are deep, consequential and historical reasons.

But I think when you get right down to the nuts and bolts of identifying with the flag, the GOP’s hold on it is the result of liberals and progressives standing by and letting it happen.

I Am a Patriotic Citizen of the USA

I wrote about being a patriotic citizen of the USA and what I believe allows me to make the claim on Independence Day.

If you’re a law-abiding USA citizen, it doesn’t matter how you feel or what you think of our national symbol. One of the many beauties our nation is that we’re all correct; one citizen does not have the right to define what patriotism or Old Glory should mean to any other citizen.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a conservative, liberal, Progressive, Constitutionalist, Democrat, Democratic Socialist, Green, Libertarian, Modern Whig or a member of any other party – we all can be as patriotic as anyone else. And per the Constitution, we have the right to express that patriotism in nearly any way we choose, as long as we don’t harm anyone else.

The USA Flag and the USA Military

And it’s not just about The Red, White and Blue. It’s about camo, too.

Somehow the Republican party, in comparison to the Democrats, has become known as the party that supports USA military personnel and veterans more.

What a bunch of hooey.

Image of people rallying during March for Democracy, Fargo, N.D.
North Dakota citizens rally for the passage of North Dakota Measure #1 during the March for Democracy in Fargo, N.D. on 11/4/18. Martin Fredricks is waving the USA flag.

The likelihood of a person supporting active military personnel or veterans has nothing to do with party affiliation. Obviously, Democrats and people with a plethora of affiliations and beliefs have served, honorably, in our armed forces.

I’ve never served, but my father and grandfather did. I honor their service, as I do that of any other veteran. I also wholeheartedly support our active-duty military personnel. I have utmost respect for anyone who puts on a USA uniform, defends our nation and is willing to lay down their life for it if necessary.

Contrary to what some people would have you believe, it is not disingenuous to feel that way and still question military spending, weapons buildups and attacks on other nations.


Fellow Progressives, as well as liberals, Democrats and members of other parties, I ask you:

What’s wrong with us? Why do we passively relinquish to the GOP our rightful claim to our flag, patriotism and the perception of support for our brothers and sisters who serve in the military?

Let’s not do it, anymore.

Picture of Martin C. Fredricks IV holding a USA flag.
Martin C. Fredricks IV holding a USA flag during a political rally on Nov. 1, 2018

Our gatherings, protests and rallies should be awash in USA flags, too.

That’s why, since I began rabble-rousing about this a couple of years ago, I’ve made a point of carrying theflag to events.

In 2017 it was The People’s March. I demonstrated for science and the absolute need for immediate action on climate change, waving the flag along the way. I was the only one. Yesterday I attended a political rally for a candidate and held Old Glory proudly over my head. Again, I was the only one.

Shouldn’t be that way.

The flag is a symbol of USA individuality, strength and power to overcome. Not all that long ago it symbolized national unity, too. It’s mine, it’s yours, it’s ours.

So get out there. Gather, protest, speak up and – for the sake of all that is good about the United States of America – take Old Glory with you.

I’m takin’ the USA flag back. Who’s with me?

Why do I call it the “USA flag” rather than the “American flag”? I’m showing deference to other American nations. The American continents, north and south, comprise many nations, like Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador and many more. The people in those nations are Americans just as much as people in the USA are. In fact, “USA” itself is a white colonialist view; the United States of Mexico are also the a set of United States in America. Our white-dominated nation does not have sole claim to “United States of America.” But one step at a time…

Graphic - Copyright 2018 Martin C. Fredricks IV

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Martin C. Fredricks IV

Martin C. “Red” Fredricks IV here. I’m husband to an amazing woman who is also my best friend, dad to three outstanding kids, Fargoan (North Dakota, that is), proud introvert, veteran messaging strategist/copywriter, and big-time reader. As they say, if you're gonna write good stuff, you have to read good stuff. A ginger, too - ergo the "Red" - although some of it's going white. Cinnamon-Sugar, I call it. Tattooed to boot; seven so far. At age 54, I'm stilling crankin' AC/DC & Metallica, but now and again I spin some Eric Church and Black Uhuru, too. I love hanging out with my (much) better half, spending time with our kids, writing, hiking, riding my mountain bike and reading.


Harry · November 13, 2018 at 10:44 pm

The reason why is pretty simple. Conservatives are not for burning the flag.

    Martin C. Fredricks IV · November 14, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Thanks for your comment, Harry. As I wrote in an earlier post, “I Am a Patriotic American”, I honor the American flag and what it symbolizes. And because I do, I’ll fight for every U.S. citizen’s right to drape themselves in it, wear it on caps and T-shirts, put it on pottery and, in the extreme, burn it in protest if they feel they must.

"No Hate, No KKK, No Fascism in the USA!" - IV Words - The Progressive Perspective · April 12, 2021 at 11:10 am

[…] “I’m Takin’ Our Flag Back. Who’s With Me?” […]

#TakingBackOurFlag - March for Democracy - IV Words · November 5, 2018 at 10:40 am

[…] North Dakota citizens rally for the passage of North Dakota Measure #1, the Anti-Corruption Amendment, during the March for Democracy in Fargo, N.D. on 11/4/18. The measure was placed on the ballot by North Dakotans for Public Integrity. Martin C. Fredricks IV is waving the American Flag. (Check out the previous post on Taking Back the Flag.) […]

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