Flag Day and the Michael Jackson Verdict

Flag day came and went. In fact we displayed red, white, and blue lights. But why?

Yes, on the one hand that flag stands for a heritage of slaveocracy, genocide, and empire. If it reminds us of anything, it must remind us of these.

But there are also the “Philadelphia Freedoms” that Elton John sings about. And they are all tangled up in the very same heritage. If we’re talking about the whole picture, it is conflicted, contradictory, and irreducible to an essence.

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So for me Flag Day this year was all about the Michael Jackson jury. As one headline mentioned some official apology that was to come from DC regarding our bloodthirsty heritage of lyncherdom, I found in the Michael Jackson jury the profound sanity of the anti-mob.

On this point we are much divided. While some commentators see in the Michael Jackson acquittal evidence of wealth and celebrity, I see in the disappointment of those same commentators the legacy of the lynch mob.

Flag Day found me hoping that a vital space of respect had just been reopened. And it’s the flag of that space that I most proudly fly. Cheer for Michael Jackson if you will, but cheer for that jury first and the kind of flag that they worked to uphold.

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