I remember watching a video of a 1963 March on Washington for racial equality—it was Peter, Paul and Mary singing “If I had a Hammer.” The song was playing as I was driving around Eugene today buying car parts for the U.S.S. Liberty (pictured above). I’d always heard the fourth verse as “I’ve got a banner…it’s a banner of justice, a banner of freedom.” Despite the malapropism, this is why we are reclaiming the flag for true patriots. As we shoot across the country like a red, white and blue bullet, we want to remind people not only of the U.S. Flag, we want to transform its ideal symbol—a banner of freedom, a banner of collective grit, a banner of prosperity for all Americans, not just a few. Like I’ve said elsewhere:
From where we sit, the Democratic Party has traditionally been—and continues to be—the party that sticks up for the freedom and opportunity guaranteed to every American Jane and Joe, Johnson and Rodriguez, Wong and O’Malley. We believe it’s time Democrats reclaim and redeploy that starry, striped symbol that has been so poorly used by multinational corporations, the Far Right and neocons who abuse our military and its might. We will toe our way up every step, knock on every door and have conversations with every person in Oregon if that’s what it takes.
Ten days till takeoff and the car is not in the greatest shape, but I am confident that if the American flagmobile has issues, America shall come to its rescue. Or rather, some of the good-hearted Americans we meet will give us pointers about how to save our Liberty (the car).
Let’s get ready to plunge into the doughy center of America’s bread basket.
–Steve Coatsworth, signing off.