I am curious. What is it with businesses and flags?
There is some sense in a state capitol having a state flag out front, or the U.S. Capitol building having the Stars and Stripes waving out front. But why is it necessary for a business to have a U.S. flag, a state flag, and even a flag with the business’s name or logo on it? I ask this, in part, because government flags in front of buildings have become so ubiquitous that we barely notice them, and when we do we never ask why are they there.
I suppose most people would give a quick unthinking kind of answer, a kind of “isn’t it obvious?” answer. But stop for a moment and wonder if it really is so obvious, or should be so obvious.
What are flags anyway?
Flags are symbolic representations of something bigger. The Stars and Stripes “stand” for the United States of America, all that is good and all that is bad. That is why some people salute the U.S flag, yeah even get tears in there eyes at it presence, and others burn the flag, even get tears in their eyes as well, but for other reasons.
When a business flies a flag it is showing us a symbol for something that represents that company. So a U.S. flag, in this sense, stands not only for the country but for the business as well. The business is “claiming” the symbol as being meaningful to the business.
Personally I find flags interesting, but troubling as well, especially when the flag represents a state or government. People have fought and died for the Stars and Stripes. That’s a big deal for a lot of people. For that reason alone it seems almost demeaning to the flag (and those who have died) for any business – like a car dealership – to wave the flag outside as a means of advertising their business. On the other hand, I find it sad and problematic that anyone would willingly or unwillingly die for a state (in this sense a nation state). Flags are part of the ongoing problem we call humanity and what emerges from that humanity is sin (among other things). People get tribal, power hungry, territorial, and vain. People kill each other and even like doing so. Governments, such as the violent and all too self-righteous U.S. government, wave flags and create mythologies around those flags. Government flags are about power. The U.S. is a great country in many ways, but it is also a country of countless problems and even atrocities. For that reason it is also troubling to fly the flag in front of a business.
It is better to not fly the flag. There is no need to do so and probably several excellent reasons not to. Anyway, as I stated at the beginning, I am curious.