Danehy: The American flag is mine, too

On the morning of the Fourth of July, I went in the laundry room and retrieved our American flag. I had rolled it around its stick after I took it down in the late afternoon on Flag Day. I’ve been meaning to mount a permanent flag, high up on our garage with proper lighting at night.

I walked to the front of the house, unfurled the flag and placed it in its holder. As I was doing so, this guy from down the block drove by and slowed down. I recognized him. He lives by one of the main exits to our subdivision. He had a big Trump sign in his yard a couple years ago and he has the “Lets Go Brandon” — bad punctuation and all — sticker on his truck’s back bumper.

I’m sorry, but I can’t understand the TikTok-level dumbassery of the “Let’s Go Brandon” thing. If you have something to say, just say it.

He slowed almost to a stop, staring at me. Finally, I made a two-handed, palms up motion toward the flag, like an emcee saying, “Here they are…the stars and stripes!” He drove off.

It reminded me of something that happened a few years back. I used to do a Saturday radio show with the late Emil Franzi. We argued about politics for three hours and had a grand old time. One time, I went to the (much-hated) community mailboxes and a woman came up to me and sneered, “You’re that liberal, aren’t you?”

I said, “Naw, I’m just one of them. We’re everywhere!”

The thing is, we liberals are everywhere. And conservatives are everywhere and MAGA people (who are absolutely not conservatives) are everywhere. It shouldn’t be that big a deal.

Maybe I should tell that guy I’m just as much an American as he is. I love this country as much as he does. I respect the flag as much as he does. I certainly respect it more than the knuckleheads who bastardize it (change its colors, mess with its stripes) just to make a cheap political point.

Assuming he votes as often as I do — which is always — it’s almost a sure thing that we cancel each other’s votes. Big deal. My wife has probably canceled out my vote more than once over the decades. What’s important is that we vote.

Admittedly, there was a time when I was sorely bothered by the thought of someone who didn’t have a clue about issues or policies or history who was canceling out my vote. I mean, did this other person take the time to learn all 27 amendments to the Constitution? Heck, did he/she even know that there are 27 of those things?

But now I know that it’s not important. All I can do is be the best citizen I can be. I can hate all over the vile racist that he — for some reason — has chosen to revere, but I’m not going to hate on him. It’s like what I tell the girls on my basketball team about the kids on the other team. They’re our opponents; they’re not our enemy.

Unfortunately, it’s highly likely that he sees me as an enemy. He and I probably listen to the same vulgar right-wing crap on the radio. I do it for perverse entertainment; I want to see just how many lies the morning guy will tell in the time it takes me to get to the gym. The guy hears the same lies and accepts them as truths.

That gives me hope, that can change but it probably won’t happen anytime soon. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that more than two-thirds of all right-wing radio talk-show hosts are pushing the false narrative that the 2020 election was “stolen.” It absolutely wasn’t. You might try to claim that it was, but if you do, you’re either a nincompoop or a liar. There are no other options. Either you’re too stupid to understand how things work or you’re smart enough to know better but you’re just lying for fun and profit.

Joe Biden won the election by 7 million votes. Were those all stolen? And even going by the Electoral College (the dumbest system ever!), Biden still beat Trump by the exact same margin that Trump, in 2016, declared to be a landslide.

Of course, the ginned-up outrage focuses on two states — Georgia and Arizona — that used to vote Republican but didn’t this time. The outcomes were somewhat surprising, and the respective margins were close, but there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. However, this drives me crazy, what with all the math morons.

Even if the Democrats could snap their fingers — or give the finger — and tell the Trumpers that they can magically have the electoral votes from Georgia and Arizona. It would no longer be a landslide, but Biden would still win. So why can’t they just take that ass-whuppin’ and go home?

As I was putting the flag away that night, I figured that the next time I saw that guy, I might wave and say hello. It couldn’t hurt. I can’t hate on that guy. I don’t even know him — yet.

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