Colin Kaepernick kicked up a massive dust storm by complaining when Nike put the Betsy Ross flag on the heel of a shoe. You’d have thought by the hue and cry from the regressive left that they had used the Nazi swastika.
Nike means “Victory” in Greek. It is supposed to symbolize masculine strength, a determination to conquer against all odds and to take on the biggest, baddest bully on the block without flinching. But Nike, forgetting all about the spirit that won our freedom from the British, collapsed like a cheap Bedouin tent in a stiff desert breeze.
Michael Eric Dyson, a regressive professor at Georgetown, actually did compare the Betsy Ross flag to the swastika and made the flag virtually a symbol of the KKK by comparing it to burning crosses.
This “racist” flag, by the way, has been flying proudly in San Francisco, that hotbed of bigotry, since 1964, right outside city hall, apparently without once tripping the hair-trigger sensitivities of Bay Area liberals. It was featured prominently at the second inauguration of that noted racial bigot, Barack Obama, again without triggering anyone.
Here’s what regressives do not want you to know about the Betsy Ross flag. They do not want you to know that Betsy Ross, as a Quaker from Philadelphia, was a committed abolitionist who never owned a single slave, not ever.
They do not want you to know that the 13 original stars in a circle symbolized our national oneness. We were no longer 13 separate, detached states, but a union, a single political entity united under the banner of liberty. The United States was a “new constellation” in the universe of nations. That’s all the Betsy Ross flag, adopted as our first national flag in 1777, was about. As writer Jane Hampton Cook says, “The first flag of the United States was not about slavery. It was about unity.”
Regressives also really, really, really do not want you to know that African Americans fought for this flag from the first battle of the war for independence, at Bunker Hill, to the last battle at Yorktown.
Peter Salem, a free African-American, took out the British major who fired the first shots of the war at Bunker Hill. Salem went on to fight the British for another four years. Eventually Africans comprised about four percent of the Continental Army. The Betsy Ross flag was their flag too. And it still is.
Our final victory at Yorktown was made possible by an African slave by the name of James Armistead. He was a servant to Britain’s Lord Cornwallis, and his intelligence as an American
spy alerted General Lafayette that taking Yorktown was possible. (Armistead became a free man after the war, and changed his name to James Lafayette.)
The only changes made to the Betsy Ross flag since 1777 have been the addition of stars to represent the admission of new states to the union. We saw no need to alter the basic design of the Betsy Ross flag after the Civil War because slavery was outlawed under that flag. It was the under the newest version of that flag that Union soldiers fought and won the Civil War to bring to an end the abomination of slavery, our nation’s original sin.
In other words, we are still living under the Betsy Ross flag. And it stands, just as it always has, for “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Long may she wave.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the Northwest Connection).