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Sen. Cotton blasts New York Times' Independence Day story saying the US flag is a 'divisive symbol'

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The New York Times posted a news story over the Independence Day weekend about the divisiveness of the United States flag, sharing stories of how displaying the flag has become a symbol of divisive political affiliation.

On "Fox & Friends" Monday, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) went after the paper for running a story with rhetoric that indoctrinates Americans to believe we should be ashamed of the symbols of "our heritage and our founding principles."

What did the Times say?

The Times story posted Saturday, "A Fourth of July Symbol of Unity That May No Longer Unite," told the stories people who perceived the flag is closely affiliated with Trump supporters and how that impacted their businesses, as well as their friendships and family relationships.

The flag, the Times said, has had several meanings over the last nearly 250 years.

"Raised at Iwo Jima, it was a symbol of victory," the paper noted. "Lit on fire, it became a searing image of the protests against the Vietnam War. Ribboned around the twin towers on commemorative Sept. 11 lapel pins, it is a reminder of the threats against a delicate democracy."

Though politicians have long wrapped themselves in the flag, there appears to be a change looming, the Times reported:

Today, flying the flag from the back of a pickup truck or over a lawn is increasingly seen as a clue, albeit an imperfect one, to a person's political affiliation in a deeply divided nation.

Supporters of former President Donald J. Trump have embraced the flag so fervently — at his rallies, across conservative media and even during the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol — that many liberals ... worry that the left has all but ceded the national emblem to the right.

What was once a unifying symbol — there is a star on it for each state, after all — is now alienating to some, its stripes now fault lines between people who kneel while “The Star-Spangled Banner" plays and those for whom not pledging allegiance is an affront.

The division, according to the Times, has made Independence Day celebrations "another cleft in a country that seems no longer quite so indivisible, under a flag threatening to fray."

What did Cotton say?

Monday morning, Sen. Cotton went after left-wing activism that we have allowed to "march through our cultural institutions" and "indoctrinate our kids," which is exactly what the Times story reflected.

"Over the weekend, you saw the New York Times running a long story about how the flag, for goodness sake, is now a divisive symbol for many Americans," Cotton said. "Look, we should be proud of our heritage and our founding principles."

"Two hundred and forty-five years ago this weekend, our Founding Fathers declared our independence not just because of local grievances over taxes or the quartering of soldiers, but because they wanted to found a new republic dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, as Abraham Lincoln said at the Gettysburg Address," he continued.

"Now, we haven't always achieved that practice, but our history has been one of continuingly struggling to realize those ideals," the senator said. "That's exactly what Dr. Martin Luther King said in his 'I Have a Dream' speech in which he explicitly and repeatedly invoked the declaration and said that our work is the full realization of America's founding principles. We should teach our children, whether it's in the schools or in our movies and television or our comic books, to be proud of and celebrate America's traditions."

(Relevant portion begins at 3:35 mark)

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