Ah…. Fourth of July in New England. On the surface it is a throwback in time: simple, nostalgic, romantic, and uncontroversial.

Red, white, and blue everywhere. Flags and flag facsimiles everywhere.

The town parade in Castine, Maine, had no bands, firetrucks, or floats. It was simple: families with balloons, flags and bicycles marching through town. (It also had little diversity.)

Following the parade, sack-races, tug-of-war, pie-eating contest, and other retro games were played out in the town square. The food was hot dogs, watermelon, and cotton candy. Later in the day, the town band played a concert and at night the region had fireworks everywhere.

American flags are now ubiquitous. Campers and campsites display flags, even in the wilderness. Cars, pickup trucks, and semis are adorned with either flag graphics or actual flags flying. Of course, businesses extensively utilize the flag, sometimes in curious ways.

The American flag itself is also taking on more and more cause modifications. In addition to the red lines, blue lines, pink lines — and many other “thin” lines — some American flags now have college team logos and other symbols mixed in.

So the Americana picture at the moment is complex. There is this old-fashioned patriotic yearning for national identity and pride. At the same time, there is a competition to own the brand of Americana and patriotism that is now freighted with ideology, identity-politics, and divide.

One thought on “Americana

  1. Power of symbolism and cooptation…

    Tonya Edmond, PhD (pronouns: she/her/hers) Interim Co-Dean Professor of Social Work Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis MSC 1196-0257-02, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130 [w] 314-935-6693 [e] Brown School | Washington University in St. Louis

    If you are a Washington University employee or student whose physical presence is required on campus to perform essential services, you are required to self-screen daily for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to campus. COVID-19 restrictions and screening for campus access


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