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Black Lives Matter Utah opened a hornet’s nest on social media when its founder, Lex Scott, recently claimed the American flag was a symbol of hatred because right-wing and white supremacist groups marched with the flag or used it as a rallying symbol.

We asked our readers if they viewed the American flag as a symbol of division. Over 500 people responded to our non-scientific survey.

The answers were almost evenly divided.

Fifty-two percent of those who responded said stars and stripes are not divisive, while 48% said they are.

We also asked what types of flags readers display, whether at home, at work, or elsewhere. A majority of those who responded said either the American flag or the pride flag.

Flags celebrating the University of Utah or Brigham Young University are also displayed, but mainly on game days.

A few people said they were displaying a Black Lives Matter banner. Scattered among the responses were a few flags representing other countries (Canada, Finland, Russia, Brazil, Welsh), and even the Soviet battle flag.

One of our readers detailed a wicked sense of humor, telling us that the Jolly Roger is the flag of choice on Pioneer Day.

One respondent told us he was using flags to make a political statement, but not as one would expect.

“I fly the flag of any nation courageous enough to resist the domination of the American Empire: Bolivia, Cuba, Vietnam, Palestine and many others. I support any flag that honors the struggle of the oppressed peoples against imperialism. More than any other, I see the interests of the working people, the oppressed and the poor of the United States (the majority) and the world represented by a red flag – for socialism, ”they wrote.

The meaning of the flag

We also asked readers what the American flag means to them. The most frequent answers were “freedom” or “freedom”. But a few offered other perspectives.

“I became more and more hesitant to pilot it because of the growing association with the far right and hate groups,” wrote one reader.

“It’s the symbol of our country, on fabric. It is a construction. I especially love my country, but some things need to improve, and soon, ”said another.

More answers

“I would like to take it back to mean that it belongs to everyone in this country. I wish he represented the United States of America, not the divided states that Trump and all the other right-wing people seem to want him to represent.

“Before, it was inspiring for me. However, as I learned more about our history, it came to represent both a lot of good and a lot of bad for me. Also, the nationalism associated with the flag is problematic, in my opinion. “

“The right for people like Lex Scott to make a fool of themselves.”

“To me, the American flag represents the unity of the American people and the shared hope that we, as a nation, can live up to our highest ideals. At the top of this list is the proposition that “all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights, which include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It saddens me to see the American flag become a partisan and divisive symbol. “

“As an LDS missionary, I have lived in a country that does not share our same freedoms, including the freedom of expression that is guaranteed to us. This is what I think of when I see my flag in the yard every day. “

“I only fly the flag on public holidays. It is a symbol of my respect for those who died for our freedoms. I sport a service issued flag and much prefer the yellow fringe because the fringe is offensive to many right-wing freaks. “

“So many people in our history have sacrificed so much so that we can ALL live in an incredible country where everyone is free to express their views. The American flag is the EXACT symbol that represents freedom.

“Right now, when I see the flag, I see bigotry, hypocrisy and oppression.”

“It represents the ideals of freedom and justice that we succeed most of the time, but fail all too often. “

“The flag represents the unity we CAN achieve if we try. Trump and his lower supporters have taken the flag and given it the stain of lies, hatred and mistrust. They soiled it with the idea that they can steal freedom and that they can somehow represent as many of us as possible who are ready to move on, to accept our follies, to do amends and learn from our mistakes to make a better and more perfect union. “

“The flag has changed over the years. He represents the Constitution and the US government. Things that have never been perfect but that we as people can change to make them better. To say that the American flag is a symbol of racism and hatred will only turn people away from those ideologies, the boy who cried wolf is now the group that cried racism. Getting people to choose sides is how conflict begins, not understanding.

“I think the American flag is a symbol of our best angels of freedom and equality, but it has been usurped by far-right groups in excruciating ways. It sometimes feels like the American flag has replaced the Confederate flag by these groups and everyone should be appalled by that.

“Freedom, liberty and justice for all, without distinction of race, political opinion, religion, etc. I can see how some can see it as a source of division. But if all the protesters, and not just the right-wing lunatics, used it, it wouldn’t create division. The flag only divides if people choose to see it that way. “

“It is a symbol of democracy and the values ​​of the Enlightenment. What makes it particularly compelling is that it tells not only a story of our history (in all its complexity), but the direction in which we are heading. The flag, like any American citizen, is full of potential despite some glaring inconsistencies and, in some cases, contradictions. “

“The flag signifies that we love America and all the rights and freedoms we ALL enjoy in America. The flag is our symbol of justice and opportunity. People should recognize that we have greater lives and opportunities than any other place on earth. If you wish to make any changes, you are FREE to go through the appropriate channels and make those changes. “