When it comes to flags, George Carlin said it best:
“I see them as symbols, and I leave them to the symbol-minded.”
Yet, those who fanatically oppose particular flags are just as symbol/simple-minded as those who wave them.
For example, the recent Jacobin surge to purge every Confederate flag flying over American soil represents the latest march of the symbol-minded. After all, what could be more simple-minded than the notion that imposing the removal of a particular color pattern is a victory for the cause of justice?
The symbol-minded #TakeItDown crowd insist that the Confederate flag is, and can only be, a standard of state-empowered bigotry. In support of this, they cite the historical use of it by defenders of Jim Crow against the Civil Rights Movement.
Individuals can appropriate symbols to communicate any message they choose. To presume bigotry in the use of any particular symbol can itself be bigotry.
Yet, even more problematic is the waste of energy on symbols that could have been expended on substance instead. Instead of needlessly antagonizing individuals who might (and might not) support bigoted policies over the symbols they display, activists would do far better to focus on opposing the bigoted policies themselves.