IMAGE CREDIT: Reuters/AP
2016 will be remembered as the year Democrats captured the flag.
The face of the Grand Old Party is now Donald Trump, so many thoughtful Republicans are simply refusing to pay attention to the man behind the curtain. They are joining forces with rational independents and reasonable Democrats, all of whom are liberated this year to be fiscally conservative, socially liberal and deeply devoted to democracy together.
Pride in America and core values of honor and duty have been reclaimed by the masses. No longer is patriotism the exclusive province of the Republican Party.
The election this year is often described as divisive, and it is in many respects. But not everything is being split open. When it comes to being political, a new entity is forming. It’s a coalition with many different ingredients that, mixed together, are quite good. Like an extra-large doughnut hole — the middle of a big glazed chocolate one, for example, separated from a very thin outer ring.
Moderates are that doughnut hole, or maybe they just share a common enemy. Even people who disagree all the time about everything agree that as president, Trump would be a disaster.
In politics this year the middle is untethered from the pull of what used to be Republican virtues because Trump is the antithesis. He’s not conservative, and he’s not even trying to be like Ronald Reagan. Businesspeople like Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg and Meg Whitman are running away from Donald Trump in horror. It’s like escaping from a burning building, coughing and gagging, but happy to be alive as the structure collapses and turns to rubble.
Buffett, Whitman, Bloomberg and all those who want to be like them are running to the Democrats because over there, at least, it appears the adults are in charge. The Democrats’ big tent is open, the lights are on and the flag is blowing in the wind. They look like a diverse group with the same blood type: rational and red.
To support the Democratic candidate for president this year is the American thing to do. It’s an easy choice when political choices are impossible too often. Who isn’t pro-life?
Issues get framed in a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t kind of way, but not everything is binary or black and white.
There is gray, and most things — ideology, intelligence, gender — exist on a spectrum. Most people are both pro-life and pro-choice. They want to reduce discriminatory policing and protect police. Why not immigration reform and secure borders? A robust economy and a thriving environment?
Most people want the absence of war and the unquestionable ability to win all wars. Most recognize the Second Amendment and need for gun safety laws.
Most American are deeply passionate about what makes this country great, and it’s the Democrats who own the flag this year.
Now the flag is a symbol of the collective mass that makes America great right now, not the ultra-right conservative wing of the Republican party who want to take us backward. The flag isn’t for white people only. It belongs to everyone now.
While Hillary Clinton rejoices in what’s good about our country — its military strength, Yankee ingenuity, diversity, grit and moral high ground — Trump spits at Uncle Sam and wipes his feet on Old Glory. For Democrats long saddened by their banishment from the ideological homeland of patriotism, the return feels good. Flag pins for all. Pocket-sized Constitutions in every purse.
The American flag has being wrestled from the hands of white nationalists by Americans of all stripes. This banner of equality, opportunity and freedom is being passed to all kinds of people who believe in its future promise and who are willing to pass it on to the next relay runner looking to find the American dream.
Voters who harbor racial prejudice can’t look for people with flags this election to identify cohorts because the flag has been liberated. It belongs to all who make America great right now.
The flag belongs to Humayun Khan, an Army captain gave his life in service, and his Muslim-American parents. The flag belongs to the mothers fighting for criminal justice reform and an end to gun violence. The flag belongs to the rich and poor, young and old, the sick and the weary.
This election in sound bites is easy. It’s the flags against the guns. Believers in democracy versus skeptics. Eggheads versus pinheads. Those who like babies versus those who don’t.
The election in prose is even simple. It’s “a government of the people, by the people and for the people” or “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”