The American flag is supposed to be a symbol of what unites us.

But, unfortunately, the symbolism of Old Glory often gets muddled. When patriotism gets conflated with extreme nationalism, the flag becomes a symbol of xenophobia. When people fly the flag with pride while preaching of intolerance, our flag becomes a symbol of bigotry. When the banner itself is held higher in importance than the freedoms for which it stands, our flag becomes a false idol.

I've long believed patriotism doesn't belong only to those who define it by narrow, nationalistic standards. However, those are the folks who usually pop into my mind when I think of people who show their patriotism with a flag. And I'm not alone.

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