One of the things I miss most about America was how people used to believe certain topics shouldn’t be discussed in public.
Religion was one. So was politics. You didn’t ask people what they weighed or how much money they earned. We kept those things to ourselves, and it was deemed impolite to quiz people about it.
Those days are over. Now everyone is an amateur newspaper columnist, spouting off 24/7: constantly on social media, with bumper stickers and full-sleeve tattoos, Yelp reviews, you name it.
Then there’s the lady who lives in north Phoenix up around 56th Street along Bell Road. Not content to stop at Facebook trolling or boring the hell out of people at a Memorial Day barbecue, this anonymous soul has hoisted a massive black flag up her backyard flagpole for thousands of drivers-by and neighborhood school kids to glimpse daily.
Her flag uses expletives to describe Biden and those who voted for him.
“Yes, it might be a little vulgar to some and offensive to some, but everybody’s entitled to their opinion,” Ms. Profane Flag Lady told reporter Jason Barry with Arizona’s Family. “If those kids can figure out what that sign said, then those kids have already heard that kind of language and vulgarity either from their homes, on TV, in movies or in school.”
Furthermore: “It’s a sign,” said the woman, who refused to be identified out of fear for her safety. “Get over it. If it hurts your feelings, sorry.”
My standard policy when it comes to people who are striving to be offensive is to refuse to be offended. Instead, like with this lady, I just feel sorry for them.
How miserable does your life have to be that you would go to the trouble of ordering such a flag, much less taking the time to raise it to offend strangers? Can you imagine sipping your morning coffee as the sun rises over the neighborhood, sitting in your backyard and enjoying the occasional honked horn or screamed profanity from a Prius driver tooling up Bell? Boy, talk about living.
Get a life.
That same sentiment occurs to me when I play golf on a course that winds through homes amid backyards. I can attest that Profane Flag Lady is not alone. From Mesa to Glendale, Avondale to chi chi Scottsdale, many of us still feel compelled to lash out at Donald Trump with the same class this Bell Road idiot has displayed.
Trust me, for every gentle soul mortally wounded by your cheap piece of polyester, there’s a hundred of us who simply shake our heads at the statement you’ve chosen for all the world to see.
Put another way, there are more than 60,000 flags for sale today on Amazon. There’s innumerable Stars and Stripes. There’s Arizona flags galore. ASU, NAU, UA, they all have flags. Your alma mater has a few dozen. There’s the Jolly Roger, if you’re into pirates. For 10 bucks, you can get a flag adorned with Marlon Brando in full Don Corleone mode from “The Godfather.” There are POW/MIA flags, yellow smiley face flags, “Beware of Pugs” flags and an “I love Hot Moms” flag.
The best flags seem to speak about what we love, not who we hate. If you can’t manage that, there’s always no flag at all. Back in the day, we used to keep quiet about a lot of controversial things, which added some mystery to life.
The guy next door or the lady beside you in line at the bank might be an absolute jerk. Fortunately, those people rarely opened their mouths to prove it to everyone.
David Leibowitz has called the Valley home since 1995. Contact email@example.com.