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A Flag for Trump’s America

A Flag for Trump's America | Harper's Magazine (Harper's magazine)
The power of strength
Jeff Sharlet in Harper’s Magazine. All annotations in context.

“The black above represents citizens,” he said, “and the black below represents criminals.” That those on the wrong side of the line are typically citizens themselves doesn’t bother Jacob, who has built a thriving business, Thin Blue Line USA

 

The Blue Lives Matter movement, which began after the December 20, 2014, slaying of two New York City police officers, soon adopted the Thin Blue Line flag. The murders were the catalyst for what quickly became a rebuttal to Black Lives Matter, its insistence that we pay more attention to killer cops than to cops killed in the line of duty.

 

The blue line poses the old question of organized labor—which side are you on?—as a loyalty test.

 

The Thin Blue Line runs less risk of alienating potential supporters; the American flag, filtered through a lens darkly, might send just the right message.

 

The scene could come right out of today’s Blue Lives Matter meme factory. Along with images of warriors, weapons, and German shepherds, pictures of children—often little blond girls—hugging cops infuse the movement with an ominous sentimentalism.

 

It’s this combination, the fetish for strength and the idealization of racially coded innocence, that has historically led authoritarian movements to subvert the rule of law in the name of order.

 

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