In the little town that is next to my little town, there is a small, unassuming car wash business that flies a magnificent American flag.

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Quite often, I have passed the business, and the dancing of the flag has caught my eye. Everything about the fag’s pageantry defies the norm. To be perfectly honest, the flag is too big for its location, but the banner’s odd placement somehow adds to its display. One might say that the flag is a big fish in a little pond, but it is a fish that is not defined by the size of its pond. When the wind is right, the car wash’s American flag flips and flutters as brilliantly as any in the land. Something about this scenario gives me hope.

I have no idea how big the car wash’s American flag actually is, but I’d guess that it is at least 30′ or 40′ wide. If the flag were taken down from its pole, it would probably stretch across the wall of a large auditorium or a gymnasium, and it would still be impressive, but without the action of the wind, the spectacle would not be the same. American flags need to be free. They need to unfettered, and untangled, and they also need the air that ripples past them. Allowed the freedom, the wind, and the opportunity, the stars and bars can unfurl  ceremoniously and the fanfare can begin. But if any of these ingredients is missing, the flag will not fly.

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For many years, America was plagued by the fact that some people enslaved others. It took a while, but America launched several initiatives to try to help the people who had been victimized by slavery. Technically speaking, the slaves were freed shortly after the Civil War, but in many cases, they were not unfettered. For many, many years, lack of education and birth station prevented most of the slaves from achieving, but those who had been enslaved were also victims of emotional bondage.

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In the South, Jim Crow laws continued long after slavery had actually ended, and in all of the land, those who had been enslaved were demoralized.  A demoralized human being is like a flag without the wind. Other former slaves believed that they had the right to flourish, but because they believed themselves unworthy, they still did not thrive. Saying that a person is free and helping a person to prosper are two different things.

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Something about the Trump administration rings of Jim Crow to me. At one time, the French gave the American people the Statue of Liberty, and we proudly displayed the words:

““Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” – Emma Lazarus

Something is rotten in America now. We no longer have a golden door. We don’t even have a lamp. That makes me sad. I challenge everyone to watch the video that I found. It is a montage of vintage photos cascading along the words and music of Neil Diamond’s Coming to America. Even if you are skeptical, allow yourself to watch the video and then ask yourself: “Is America Still the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?”

Everywhere around the world
They’re coming to America
Every time that flag’s unfurled
They’re coming to America
Got a dream to take them there
They’re coming to America – Neil Diamond Song

©Jacki Kellum August 17, 2017
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