Now that the elections are over we're seeing some interesting responses to the outcome. There is discussion about the role social media played in the election. Certainly there were posts announcing some pretty outlandish things prior to the election and given the accuracy of many of the posts I'm familiar with, anyone who gets their information from these sources should take things with a grain of salt.
Shortly after the election we saw pictures on social media of people burning the flag as a protest. One person on social media commented that he felt anyone burning the flag should be asked to leave the country. A response to the comment mentioned that it was a protest against the elected president because he was a racist and that is what people should do.
It struck me a little bit odd that people feel that any one man represents the U.S. Certainly the election selected a person to serve as president, but trying to imply that we should burn the symbol of our nation because you don't agree with one person seems rather narrow minded to me.
While the president of the U.S. is certainly a visible symbol; one should not automatically assign the representation of a nation to that one person – especially a republic like ours.
The flag represents much more than a president. It was used to rally troops to fight for independence before we ever had a republic. At that time various symbols were used to show folks why they were fighting. Over the period of our republic we've had a number of crises which required many people to step up to the plate. These are emergency workers responding to the call for help, policemen and women protecting the citizens, doctors volunteering to help others less fortunate, farmers and ranchers helping an unfortunate neighbor. Of course all of these together help represent what is best for each other and our nation.
In a republic, there will always be those elected who we don't agree with. In an election people get emotionally invested in the outcomes and focus too much on one person or a few people and forget their neighbors, their friends and those we don't even know. What all of these people represent is what our flag represents. When discussing why we needed government, one of our founding fathers said that if men were angels, we wouldn't need government. However, we are not, so we elect people to represent us and generally we don't find angels looking for the job. We will elect people who we disagree with, sometimes vehemently, but that doesn't mean we should ascribe a symbol of our country to that individual.
When you have the urge to do that, think about your neighbors, your friends, many of whom probably don't agree totally with you, and those folks who have stepped up to the plate to do what is needed. Those are who we should think of when we see the flag. Those are who we should aspire to live up to and honor with our respect rather than picking a person we disagree with and ascribing that disagreement to the flag which represents all of us.
By Ken Hamilton, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President