A couple of months back, new people moved into a nearby house.
They parked their cars.
They unloaded their stuff.
They hung a Blue Lives Matter flag.
This did not sit well with me. My first reaction was, “What the fuck?” My second reaction was, “What the fuck?” My third reaction was to rant on Facebook. So I ranted on Facebook.
A day later, another neighbor (one I consider a friend and kind soul) gently criticized my post. He said it wasn’t particularly neighborly, and caused me to think about whether a Blue Lives Matter flag—and a Blue Lives Matter flag alone—is enough to presume someone’s character.
Answer: I’m not sure.
Over the past few weeks I’ve had casual chats with the flag bearers as they’ve passed my house, and they seem warm, friendly, engaged, inviting. For all I know they’re law enforcement vets simply trying to support their profession. For all I know they’re Biden voters who believe one can be pro-law enforcement and Democrats. For all I know they hate Trump, and have always hated Trump.
But … in the current climate, with the aspiring lunatic dictator doing his best Wanna-Be Stalin, my hopes seem unlikely. The Blue Lives Matter flag has come to symbolize something; something ugly and unwelcoming and decidedly threatening to African-Americans and the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s a flag seen too often at #MAGA rallies; a flag seen positioned at roadside Trump booths alongside red ball caps and MAKE AMERICA GREAT T-shirts. It feels like a big middle finger. A FUCK YOU to members of the anti-MAGA crowd.
And yet, here’s the thing: In 2020, when we’re all positioned in front of our computers, ranting and raving and Tweeting and Facebooking, what I should do—and likely will do—is steel my nerves and go old fashioned.
Be human, and just ask them.