Political Symbols 2: Flags and Patriotism

Flags

Part of the various demonstrations surrounding the Elian saga were many flags... primarily American and Cuban ones. At various events, Israeli and Brazilian flags would sometimes also appear.

Many Cuban-American demonstrators carried Cuban flags... on their cars, in their hands, on their clothing. Several Miami commentators denounced the Cuban-American demonstrators for a lack of patriotism, for not also displaying the American flag. In truth, I often saw American flags everywhere... usually in conjunction with the Cuban flag. However, they were often flown upside down, which is an international indication of distress.

I saw flags attached to crucifixes... symbolizing, perhaps, "G-d and Country"? Nowhere during the "Elian affair" did I ever see flags being burnt or defaced or trampled on.

Professions of Patriotism

Perhaps because so many people questioned their patriotism, Cuban-American demonstrators demonstrating on behalf of Elian Gonzalez went to great pains to proclaim it the world.

The demonstrators often pointed out their citizenship, reminding Clinton and Gore that they would vote in November based on their actions. They were not faceless Hispanic "aliens". They asked U.S. citizens, as fellow citizens, to join them in condemning Castro for destroying U.S. lives and property.

The signs and slogans of the demonstrators often showed that they were proud of the freedom and liberty they had found in the United States, but that they were ashamed by the behavior of the Clinton administration. The signs and slogans of the demonstrators attempted to attack the government for not living up to its ideals...