After 9/11, nearly every house on every block in America had the Stars and Stripes hanging next to their door. Today, there seem to be more about than usual as we’ve just concluded the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, but why do some Americans let others monopolize the USA image? Why can’t I love my country and be a stalwart environmentalist? Why can’t I fly the Stars and Stripes and be vehemently opposed to the Patriot Act? I say I can. That’s part of what it means to be an American after all. The flag makes a statement. It doesn’t have to be one of global imperialism. It could be a pledge of civic responsibility. I don’t care to give a louder voice to a few Americans I don’t agree with (from whichever position). After all, I’m still implicated by them. I’m still accountable. I want an equal share of voice. That’s the example I take from my good friends to the North. Holy smokes, do those people love their flag. Canadian flag beach chairs, Canadian flag backboards, red maple leaf pins everywhere. Have you ever been abroad? You might not know where everyone else is from, but you can spot a Canadian with their Canadian flag patch on their backpack from a mile away. Are they ethnocentric? Are they imperialists? Or do dissenters have a louder voice than do ours because they own their citizenship as much as their opposition, regardless of the hot topic issue or the party in power? I sing the Star Spangled Banner every time it’s played (and often when it’s not), I say the Pledge of Allegiance, and I have a little American flag in my living room. There are parts of the American legacy of which I am very ashamed, and parts of which I’m extremely proud. But it wouldn’t matter if it was all one or the other because I am still an American.