Most of the time this earth flag hangs outside my house. But on Saturdays between 1 pm and 2 pm, I take it to the 6th & Main Street vigil, which is now officially named “Longmont Leads with Love.”
Today I felt guilty because I did not make it to Denver for the People’s Climate March. The weather, cold and snowy, was too much for me. But I did send an email to Senator Cory Gardner, asking him to stand up for the designation of Bears Ears National Monument. I made a list of all my elected Federal and State Representatives and my next move will be to write to them as well. Then I went to the Longmont vigil with the earth flag, which was well received, as it always is.
The political crisis that we are in now is nothing new, but it has become more obvious and more acute. I look at Twitter compulsively several times a day, and find myself relieved to see that no nuclear bombs have been dropped … yet. Also horrified at the things that have happened, the non-nuclear but still devastating bombs that have been dropped, the proposals to do away with environmental protections, the attacks on undocumented people, racist Tweet storms, proposals to defund the last shreds of the safety net and funnel more money to the richest people from everyone else. It is hard to write about it because I feel paralyzed, helpless, inadequate. Which is why I have to keep trying to write, post the occasional photograph, attend the vigil, and wave the earth flag. The cure for depression is action and connection. The people who honk as they drive by can see that they are not alone. The people who rev their engines as they drive by to blow exhaust at the demonstrators can see that they are not all-powerful.
When I was about four years old, my cousins, who were a bit older than me, showed me a small United States flag. They told me that it was an American flag. Their tone of voice made it clear that it had power. They told me the flag was so important that it was illegal to let it touch the ground. I had never thought much about flags before that. I did not understand why it should be illegal to let a flag touch the ground. If I accidentally let it touch the ground, would the police show up and arrest me? The flag seemed a bit alarming after that. I suspected that it might be better to exercise caution around it and not even get too close to it unless I had to. But I did not say that to my patriotic cousins, or to anyone else. Even talking about the subject of flags seemed like treacherous territory.
I have decided that the earth flag does not mind touching the ground. The ground only makes it stronger.