The Betsy Ross flag flap is just the latest salvo fired in the Left’s war on the Founding of the United States.
When the movement to wipe out all the flags, statues, street names, and the like of people and symbols associated with the late Confederate States of America began, some observers of cultural trends warned that this Taliban-like effort would eventually make its way to the Founding Fathers, and indeed, the Founding of the country.
That happened quickly, as protesters quickly moved on from Confederate icons such as Robert E. Lee to illustrious Founders such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
The surface argument was that Washington, Jefferson, and others such as James Madison were slaveowners, and because of that, these men should not be honored. The real target, however, all along, has been the Founding of the country, not just the Founders.
Colin Kaepernick, an admirer of the late communist dictator Fidel Castro, made that quite clear when he launched his kneeling protests before professional football games, arguing that he could not honor the flag of the United States, nor its National Anthem. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people,” he declared.
Kaepernick even made the astounding claim that the "Star-Spangled Banner" was a celebration of slavery, a notion that would certainly be news to the millions of Americans who have proudly sung our National Anthem, including patriotic African-Americans.
Perhaps the clearest argument that these protests are really more about our nation’s founding than about slavery and racism is the decision by Nike to remove the so-called Betsy Ross flag (with its 13 stars and 13 stripes) from its Air Max 1 USA shoe, bending to complaints by Kaepernick, a company spokesman.
“After images of the shoe were posted online, Kaepernick, a Nike endorser, reached out to company officials saying that he and others felt the Betsy Ross flag is an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery,” reported the Wall Street Journal.
Filmmaker Spike Lee even told Politico that racism was “sewn into the flag by Betsy Ross.”
Of course, this is all ludicrous. Betsy Ross was a member of the Quakers, among the first groups in colonial America to take a public stand against slavery. She never owned any slaves, and in fact, she resided in Philadelphia, where slavery was already illegal. It is a libelous comment to say that she sewed slavery into the flag, or into anything else.
Some argue that there is no historical proof that Betsy Ross stitched that first flag, but we do know that she made hundreds of flags for the U.S. government, including flags that were used during the War for Independence and the War of 1812. The uncle of her late husband — George Ross — was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. It would seem more likely than not that the traditional story has strong basis in historical fact.
Predictably, some of those whose goal it is to denigrate the founding of the country retreated to the lame argument that racists have co-opted the flag to symbolize white supremacy. As early as 2016, in an apparent effort to continue the search for covert racist symbols, the Grand Rapids, Michigan, chapter of the NAACP said the flag was co-opted by the “so-called ‘Patriot Movement’ and other militia groups who are responding to America’s increasing diversity with opposition and racial supremacy.”
As was the case with the Confederate Battle Flag, the argument is that the flag may not have been originally intended to convey racism, white supremacy, and support for slavery, but it has been appropriated by racist groups. Of course, under that line of reasoning, the Christian cross and the U.S. flag of today are racist symbols because racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan have used them in their movements.
So many accusations and arguments are used by the secular progressives of today that they sometimes contradict each other. It seems that the Left creates new causes and additional reasons to take offense about something so quickly, it is difficult not just for the average American to keep up, but it is even difficult for radical ideologues to keep up.
For example, among the trendy areas of complaint is what they call “cultural appropriation,” which they define as the adoption of elements of one culture by members of another culture. This they consider harmful, but the reality is that cultural appropriation has been going on since the first time one culture interacted with another culture. One would think it is a good thing for one culture to copy what they consider good from another culture.
While critical of this normal part of human history, they evidently are arguing, in the case of the Betsy Ross flag, that if someone somewhere misuses the flag, then it must no longer be used at all. Taken to an extreme, thousands of churches should remove the cross from its buildings if the KKK burns one on someone’s lawn.
On the other hand, liberals consider some cultural appropriation as perfectly acceptable, as when the word gay was appropriated to mean homosexual. Now the longer can the word be used to mean bright and cheerful.
Perhaps one of the most brazen examples of cultural appropriation was when the “gay pride” movement appropriated the rainbow as the symbol of their movement. For several centuries, the rainbow was a symbol of God’s covenant with the human race that He would never destroy the world again via a flood. Christians believe God Himself created the rainbow symbol, yet we hear nothing from the Left critical of the cultural appropriation of the rainbow symbol to now mean the LGBT movement instead. None express concern that they may have appropriated a Judeo-Christian symbol.
One strongly suspects that this cultural appropriation was a deliberate act.
America was not founded on slavery, but rather on the concept that our rights come from God, not from government. That belief is the ultimate target of the Left — not the Betsy Ross flag.