As you may know, July 4th in the U.S. is Independence Day. There are flags everywhere! On buildings, on t-shirts, on banners, on floats; rows of them–mini and full-sized–stuck into lawns edging the streets, even on bottles of bubbly and bags of chips! It’s like the entire country has been spray-painted with the Stars and Stripes.
Plus, it’s also World Cup season. Even if you’re not a soccer (um, football) fan, you probably haven’t been escaped the news stories. Reports I’ve heard say that there are more U.S. fans watching the World Cup this year than in 1994 when it was hosted here!
If you’ve seen any images of the World cup, you know that, again, flags are everywhere! People are draping themselves in flags, painting their faces or (in the case of men) their bodies with flags, wearings hats or wigs representing their country’s flag… it’s amazing to watch.
Incidentally, in my house, we decided not to watch the U.S. vs. Belguim quarterfinals game. My husband–Belgian by nationality and French by upbringing–announced the final score and the elimination of “my” team. Whatever: I always root for France, because that’s where I played most of my soccer. We all watched France go down to Germany on the 4th. My 8-year-old daughter cried. We tried to tell her it was only a game, but she’s a huge fan of both soccer and France, so her little heart broke.
Have you stoppted to consider what all these flags everywhere mean? As a Ph.D. trained in literary (and thus cultural) analysis, I’ll tell you. When you fly (or wear) a flag, you’re stating your identity for all to see. Flying a _____________ flag means “I’m a ____________: a proud member of that tribe.”
Tribal identity is all about the first chakra: having a sense of belonging, security, safety. It’s about shared values. And it’s showing all over the place for the World Cup and for the July 4th holiday. American nationalism is at an all-time high, for better or for worse. Team sports are all about first chakra posturing: “My country/state/city/university is better than yours, and we’ll show you by kicking your asses on the field.” Even though some athletes are injured in the games, it’s actually better than killing on a battlefield, which is what team sports are a substitute for.
Have you been flying a flag? It doesn’t have to be a literal one. When I went to Aewsomeness Fest last year, I got an Afest t-shirt. When I wear it, I’m flying that flag: I’m announcing to all that see it that I’m a part of that tribe.
Just for fun, on the 4th as my French team was trying to get past the “concrete wall” of the German goalie (my god, he was like a robot, deflecting powerful kicks with one hand, never breaking a sweat, always in the right place… never seen anything like it!), I put together for the holiday an American flad made out of crystals from my Crystal Crush collection: Kyanite for the blue field, Selenite for the white stripes and Red Tiger Eye for the others.
In retrospect, I think I’m flying the flag of the Crystal Lovers more than anything else…
Blowing Kisses to You + Your Brilliance,
P.S.: Leave a comment below telling me what flag you’re flying these days. I really do want to know.