When I looked up the origins of the expression “Rally ‘Round The Flag”, boy, was I stunned. Conceived by John Mueller, a political scientist in 1970, the concept—referred to as a syndrome—reduces criticism of governmental policies and increased short-run popular support of the President of the United States. And here I thought is was a song about freedom and boys, not to mention a film with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.
Yesterday, I attended the United Voices Rally hosted by United Talent Agency in Los Angeles. Instead of its traditional Academy Awards congratulatory party, the agency held a rally to express the creative community’s support of free speech, artistic expression, and to stand against policies of exclusion and division. More than a thousand attendees gathered to enjoy free food & music, kicked off by DJ Cassidy’s energetic set to warm up the crowd. The mood was peaceful and loving, despite the pro-Trump flag wavers who started pushing the guy next me in an effort to cause trouble, only to be thwarted by a tall, calm man that refused to allow the energy of the moment to shift toward violence. It was an amazing exchange to watch.
The speakers at the United Voices Rally were brief and impactful, starting with my favorite next candidate for POTUS, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom along with Hector Villagra of the ACLU and David Miliband of International Rescue Committee. Additional speakers like Jodi Foster claimed, “This is our time to resist” joined UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer, Wilmer Valderrama, Michael J Fox, Reza Aslan, Keegan-Michael Key and Aisha Tyler whose words reminded us that America is still the greatest country, in spite of the insanity that plagues our airwaves as daily reports from the White House scare the shit out of me.
UTA has donated over $300,000 to support the crucial work of the ACLU and IRC.
Moved to tears at the Women’s March, I have subsequently thrown myself into political action, having helped to start the Gays Against Guns - LA Chapter in response to the Orlando Massacre in June. After the election, I joined an Action Group dedicated to combatting Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia, whose mission is to develop a Stand-In Solidarity campaign. Our message to ALL minorities is that “we are all in this together.” We must fight back against the rhetoric coming from this new “regime”—a term I use, wisely.
As a child of Holocaust survivors, I will NOT “bear witness” to the rising tide of hate speak and the deplorable actions being aggressed towards minorities. Not while I have a breath left in my body. I’m doing this to honor and memorialize my parents, who came to America to live in peace, having barely lived through the concentration camps. They would be horrified to see what’s happening in our country. And it’s because of their grace that I refuse to “Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys”. I do, however, support what the American flag stands for, “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL!”