23rd July 2024

Publishing word: This initially was posted on July 4, 2019.

I’m at all times intrigued by the psychological and cognitive points hidden within the information. The Nike Betsy Ross flag subject revealed quite a lot of fascinating issues. Cease to think about the broader context and historic nuance of the American flag as a protest and/or trend merchandise, and we study a factor or two.

Not too way back, sporting the American Flag as a trend merchandise was thought-about outrageous, disrespectful — and unlawful. In October 1968, Abbie Hoffman was arrested for sporting a shirt that resembled the design of an American flag. Political conservatives and the correct wing have been aghast anybody would dare disrespect the American flag by sporting it as clothes. Hoffman was prosecuted and when the choose discovered him responsible, he declared with tongue firmly in cheek, “I solely remorse that I’ve however one shirt to offer for my nation.”

Hoffman appealed, and received a reversal of the case on (apparent) First Modification grounds, amongst different points. Sporting the flag as an act of civil disobedience and protest turned rather more frequent, and far much less legally daring. Certainly, there are detailed guidelines as to the correct show of the celebs and stripes, together with what to not do with Outdated Glory, however they not carry the drive of regulation.

In case you might put on a flag as garments that finally would require disposal, then how distant was burning the flag as an emblem of political speech? The Supreme Court docket answered that subject within the 1989 case Texas v Johnson.

It was not too lengthy after that the clothes trade jumped in, commercializing the American flag as a trend accent. What was as soon as verboten abruptly turned de rigueur. Celebrities shortly jumped on board, sporting flags as costumes and outfits to all method of public occasions.

With that historic backdrop, contemplate how a lot issues have modified within the ensuing a long time. Nike’s choice to drag their Betsy Ross sneakers, after Colin Kaepernick objected to the flag on the sneakers prompted a ruckus among the many proper. Kaepernick is the previous NFL quarterback who started kneeling throughout the nationwide anthem to guard police violence towards African Individuals.


Put the entire above apart for a second, and contemplate why you consider what you do. The shift in sentiment and politics went from indignant protest to quiet disrespect to delight and patriotism in a single era. We regularly consider our personal concepts, emotions, and beliefs as ours, unique to us. However in case you cease for a second, you is likely to be astounded to think about how a lot they’re not ours, and really replicate the occasions, mores and societal preferences of the period you occur to dwell in.

How else are you able to clarify this shift from Hoffman to Kaepernick in just a few a long time:

Put on a flag? Unlawful! You need to go to jail!


Don’t make sneakers with a flag on them? Outrageous! Let’s boycott

Humorous how issues change proper earlier than our eyes, and the way we simple it’s to neglect we’re the merchandise of the period we dwell in.

Get pleasure from your Fourth of July.

A number of attention-grabbing photographs after the leap . . .

1968 Abbie Hoffman being arrested for sporting a flag-like shirt. 
Jail authorities could have given him Hepatitis by drawing blood with an unsanitized syringe

1969: Straightforward Rider
Starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson: By way of the open nation and desert lands, two bikers head from L.A to New Orleans, and alongside the best way, meet a person who bridges a counter-culture hole they’re unaware of.

Mary Lou Retton 1984 Olympic Champion
she received a gold medal within the particular person all-around competitors, in addition to two silver medals and two bronze medals. Her efficiency made her probably the most in style athletes in the US of America

Vanilla Ice American flag go well with, dwell efficiency, circa 1991
His hit track Ice, Ice, Child was the primary hip hop single to prime the Billboard Scorching 10

Bono Tremendous Bowl XXXVI efficiency in 2002
He revealed the American flag lined inside his jacket throughout U2’s efficiency

Child Rock Tour for the Troops 2009

Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers, Qualcomm Stadium on September 1, 2016 
He started kneeling on the sideline throughout the anthem to protest police killings of unarmed African Individuals, finally settling a lawsuit with the NFL for $10M and turning into the face of a brand new promoting marketing campaign by Nike.

Donald Trump at marketing campaign rally in 2017 on NFL anthem protesters: ‘Get that son of a bitch off the sphere’ 

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