Why We Fly our Flag Upside Down

How Flying the American Flag Upside Down Became a Bipartisan Act of Rebellion

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by Virginia Chamlee, People.com, August 11, 2022

Hanging the stars and stripes upside down is seen as a symbol of a nation in distress — and it's increasingly being used by those on both sides of the political aisle.

According to the U.S. Flag Code, flying the American flag upside down is only meant to be done "as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property." But lately, hanging the stars and stripes upside down is seen more of a symbol — a symbol increasingly used by those on both sides of the political aisle.

Progressive activists have used the symbol in recent months, particularly in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to overturn landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade.

In more recent days — amid fury over the FBI's search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence on Monday — it's become a symbol used by the former president's most loyal allies.

Earlier this week, controversial Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted an upside-down American flag with no words, sandwiched by posts comparing the "rogue" United States to a communist country and calling to "DEFUND THE FBI!"

Greene's use of the upside-down flag is one of a string of instances in which pro-Trump Republicans have described the country in decidedly un-American terms.

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Phrases like "banana republic" and "tyranny" have been used to characterize the state of the U.S. following news that the FBI executed of a federal search warrant at Trump's home.

Talk of a looming "civil war" has also cropped up on Trump message boards (and by Greene herself, who took to Twitter to say she was "leaning into" talk of a "civil war" within the Republican Party and hinted that present-day events reflect a country at war with itself).

"I've talked a lot about the civil war in the GOP and I lean into it because America needs fearless & effective Republicans to finally put America First," Greene wrote on Tuesday. "Last night's tyrannical FBI raid at [Mar-a-Lago] is unifying us in ways I haven't seen. In January, we take on the enemy within."

The use of an upside-down flag to protest the search of Mar-a-Lago is particularly interesting for a staunch ally of Trump, considering the former president has cast himself as something of a protector of the stars and stripes.

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He's been previously photographed theatrically embracing and kissing American flags at events, and previously tweeted that those who burn the flag should have their citizenship revoked or spend time in jail.

With both sides currently embracing a rotation of the flag in times of frustration, upside-down U.S. flags will require some context clues to determine the message they're sending. But whether it's expressing fear that human rights are being stripped away, or expressing distrust in a governmental process, it's safe to assume that some form of distress is involved.


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Source: People.com
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