The 14 flags reflect the fury and despair over Donald Trump’s presidency, but with some glimmers of hope. Here are a few of my favorites.
In the 1982 television special “I Love Liberty,” Robin Williams channels the voice of the American flag.
While a minority of Americans are in a post-election meltdown over the browning of America, I feel compelled to admit that the part of America that is in a constant state of flux, always shifting, moving, changing, and accepting of the fact that the only things that unite Americans are a few ideas, is what I love about this place. To be American is to be dynamic, maybe even volatile, but never staid. Looking back, to borrow a Biblical allegory, is to turn into salt. I don’t think it’s an accident that the winning candidate’s slogan was “Forward” — that’s the direction we expect from America, even if we’re chronically disappointed. Sara Rahbar’s Flag series captures some of that desire to transform in a distinctly American way.
There is the American flag, and there is the painting “Flag” (1954–55) by Jasper Johns, which is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Flying over federal courthouses, churches, schools, post offices, lawns, construction sites and, in the months after 9/11, nearly ever taxi in New York, the American flag signifies nationalism and a set of ideals over which there has been increasingly rancorous debate. Each generation must wrestle with three basic questions: who is American, what does it mean to be an American and what is an American entitled to?