Many in the rabid mob who stormed the US Capitol yesterday came armed with a portable and potent weapon: a flag. There were large election banners, battle colors from the American Civil War, neo-Nazi flare, Christian symbols, and a smattering of national and state flags. Seen as a whole, they serve as a twisted ideological quilt for those who believe that the US election was stolen from incumbent president Donald Trump.
Of the various flags paraded around the seat of the US legislative branch, the most incendiary was a battle pennant from the Confederate army. Widely appropriated by white supremacists as a hate symbol, the “Southern Cross” never has been paraded publicly inside the Capitol before, historians point out. “It’s an outright affront to the government in its entirety,” says Antaeus Edelsohn, a University of Richmond law student and vexillology enthusiast.