Why should we change our state flags, or other symbols for that matter?

There are a number of reasons. These are probably the two most commonly cited reasons:

  1. Crappy designs
  2. Crappy symbolism

The first reason is commonly cited by vexillologists (people who study flags). The second reason is more commonly cited by ordinary citizens, often minorities or people who are politically aware.

Crappy Design ˆ

Most state flags range from mediocre (i.e. boring) to grotesquely amateurish and ugly. Roughly three dozen state flags should either be modified or replaced with entirely new designs.

One particular problem is a striking lack of distinctiveness. Many state flags consist of a state seal on a blue field (background). From a distance, they look pretty much the same.

Most state flags are also burdened with excessive details. Who can see all those tiny details in the state seals? And why would people puts words and dates on flags?

Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and some people will tell you they think their ugly state flag is beautiful. There’s a simple solution: adopt a new state flag and let all the rag fans hang vintage state flags in their living rooms, where they belong.

Crappy Symbolism ˆ

Many state symbols aren’t politically correct, though that probably isn’t the best term. Many state emblems are racist and/or sexist.

People who like their symbols just the way they are often dismiss such criticism as political correctness, “woke,” or “cancel culture.” I call it common decency.

The U.S. was founded on genocide and slavery. Women and black people had to wait a long time before they were allowed to vote. Though we still have a long ways to go, the U.S. has changed. Shouldn’t our symbols reflect that change?

There are, of course, many gray areas. For example, there have been calls to retire Maryland’s state flag because of its ties to the Confederacy. Other people counter that the flag represents conciliation, a view I support.

On the other hand, an arm and hand wielding a sword over a Native American on Massachusetts’ flag is a little over the top. Perhaps more amazing still is the slave owner depicted on Washington State’s ugly dollar-bill flag. That’s right, George Washington, who never visited the Pacific Northwest was a slave owner. What amazes me is the anti-Confederate symbols drones who make up excuses for Washington’s flag. Why was it OK for Washington to own slaves but not OK for Jefferson Davis?

Another interesting thing is the fact that people who rant about Confederate symbols seldom seem to have anything to say about war. The U.S. is a de facto terrorist state, and war is widely celebrated in our symbols. Tennessee even has an official sniper rifle!

If you are anti-war, you should be campaigning for new symbols that do not support the military-industrial complex.

Other Reasons ˆ

Some reasons are more philosophical. Let’s start with aesthetics, for example.

Some people cling to the most disgusting flags like flies swarming around garbage. God bless them! That’s their right as citizens living in a country that’s theoretically a democracy, even if being forced to choose between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton isn’t remotely democratic.

However, other people have a little more class. They don’t like their sidewalks covered with garbage and homeless people. They might like to dress reasonably nice. And some people even appreciate attractive flags.

Ironically, the greedy corporations that have done so much to swell the ranks of the homeless have some appreciation of class themselves. Can you imagine trying to sell a product wrapped in a box featuring a picture of some fucked-up flag representing Nebraska or one of the Dakotas? Sheez! On the other hand, a flag representing Alaska or Texas might lead consumers to think a particular product is of high quality.

In fact, flags sell states! Alaska and New Mexico have flags that easily sell tourism, while Iowa . . . well, there are no tourist attractions in Iowa, anyway, but you get the idea.

If we really want to get philosophical, we can turn the question around. Instead of asking why we should adopt new state flags, why not ask why we should accept the current flags?

I never had a say in choosing flags to represent my native South Dakota or Washington State, where I now live. Both states have flags so wretched, you couldn’t pay me to fly one in my yard.

People often accuse legislators who attempt to upgrade flags of being undemocratic. Again, how many existing state fags were selected in a public vote?

People who agitate for new flags are commonly called “socialist Democrats” or “woke.” If that’s the only alternative to right-wing fascists with their heads stuck up their butts, then I’ll side with the socialists. (I hate Democrats as much as I hate Republicans.)

In the meantime, the world is changing, a reminder that flags evolve over time as well. I prefer to take charge and help select my next flag, rather than let some fascist moron ram his design down my throat.