I have been deeply immersed in the language, meaning and creation of brand identity, brand imagery and brand positioning for almost 40 years. Yet every time I drive past this bizarre display of free speech, I am utterly dumbfounded by its message.
It’s confounding because one of these things is definitely NOT like the others. But there they are—three flags all hanging together as if they are one.
Let’s take them one at a time. First there’s the flag of the UNITED STATES of America—It represents a country built on the bedrock of LIBERTY FOR ALL.
Then there’s the flag of the UNITED STATES Marines Corps. It represents the few, the proud, the brave — those who are first into the fray when LIBERTY is threatened. UNITED STATES Marines are courageous, they’re tough as hell and they’re relentless in their fight for FREEDOM. Thousands upon thousands of them have given their lives to this noble, human cause.
Then there’s a Confederate flag. It represents a treasonous confederation of slave states controlled by greedy landowners, who placed no value on freedom or human dignity. They ripped families apart, and they raped and whipped their workforce into submission. They were defeated in the Civil War.
So what is a person who hangs these three symbols together trying to say?
I’ve given this a lot of thought over the past couple of weeks, and this is what I think they’re trying to communicate: “Hey, it’s a free country, and freedom is worth fighting and dying for, because freedom is what gives me the right to hate whoever I want, and say whatever I believe.”
Or to put it more simply: “I’m deeply disturbed.”