Flag frustrations đź’”

Since joining the Forum, I have had my country’s flag displayed next to my username, despite years of cumulative grievances and frustration about the behavior of our elected leaders and many of my fellow citizens.

My intent was–and I hope I have achieved it to some degree–to represent what I consider to be American values: hospitality, inclusiveness, and willingness to learn and grow in partnership with others.

Yet, after seeing the footage of violent insurrectionists swarming our Capitol building under the false guise of “patriotism” yesterday, waving the very flag they unwittingly sought to defile, my unease about associating myself with those nauseating images has exponentially increased.

What are your thoughts? Do you display your country flag here with similar reservations? Do you not display your flag here for a particular reason?

(Note: I realize that this topic touches on some sensitive issues; I welcome the mods to close the topic at any point if it begins to tear people apart instead of bringing us together.)


I don’t display a flag next to my username because I’m both American and Canadian. To just put the American flag up would be denying my Canadian side or vice versa. I actually like how some users have the European Union flag next to their username–I wish there was a North American equivalent.

I understand your reservations, but hopefully most people will understand that individuals aren’t proxies for entire countries. If people judge you immediately because of your nationality rather than your actual behavior, that says more about them than you.


This would be great! Even being able to display state/province flags, or multiple flags, would be pretty cool. :sunglasses:


The news from Wahington was extremely disturbing yesterday, I agree. And sadly, there is much finger pointing and malice in the headlines and comments of various media today.

I think we all struggle now and then with decisions our political leaders make or with something going on in our countries. And it makes me sad when people get pigeonholed - regardless of the cause. In the end, nobody chooses their place of birth or their nationality, and only few get to choose the country they live in. That’s why I prefer to look at the individual instead of “the Americans, the Russians, the whoever”.

Yes, some idiots have tried to storm the Capitol yesterday. We have idiots, too who tried to do the same in our parliament in summer.

When I was (a lot) younger I sometimes felt ashamed to be German because of our country’s inglorious past. And indeed, in our history there were periods you can only feel ashamed for. In the meantime I have come to the decision that I do not want to let that define me or my country. We must not forget about the failures in order to never repeat those mistakes; but I can show my flag and feel proud for what my country has achieved, for the values it stands for, for the community we make.

You cannot blame the sun that it shines both on idiots and normal people. You cannot blame the flag either.


I think most people know that not all people from a particular nation share the point of view of its leaders or loudest voices, and postcrossers more than most are open to this idea. There will always be a handful that make assumptions, but they would do that anyway.

I see the flags here primarily as a shorthand bit of information - it’s sometimes useful to know quickly where someone is (for swaps, for being aware of time zones). You can always click on the name card, or through to a profile, for this information, but it’s nice to have it right there. I don’t assume that by having your nation’s flag showing, you are shouting “USA! USA!”.

As a convenient bit of information, I prefer that people use the flags purely to indicate location, but as I write this, I keep getting further away from having a firm stance on this. There is no option for the Aboriginal flag, but I’m sure many indigenous Australians would prefer that to the Aussie flag, and I understand that completely.


It’s all quite difficult to swallow and comprehend. I agree that most people here seem to be understanding, luckily. I’m watching a recap of the more violent events of last year on TV right now and it’s hard to watch, so I can understand your hesitancy on the flag.

To end this on a bit of a happier note, though, I hope the rest of this year will bring more peace than chaos to everyone. I also hope that you find a way to sport your profile in a way that’s personally comfortable to you @PinkNoodle.


I debated about using a flag here. I decided to use it to indicate my location, though I realize that can be jarring/confusing since I am American.

Either way though, I consider it to be informational and that’s all. Nationality is an accident of birth if you’re American - I understand that other people might feel differently, but I have never felt any responsibility to represent any larger ideal of “American”.


Same here. I have the flag for geographical purposes only. Would like to have a half/half flag, but that’s not possible.


I post it literally just so people know where they’re sending the card. I don’t give any political or sociological importance to a person’s flag. I’m here for fun, not to discuss the world being on fire.

Update: “I’m here for fun, not to discuss the world being on fire.” was not a response to this specific post at all, just FYI. Just about politics in general. Your post brings up a genuine concern some people have.


Geography is a funny thing. If you compare two people from a large country, they could be several time zones apart. Or if you have two people from different countries that have a complicated system of enclaves and exclaves, they could literally be neighbors. It’s not immediately obvious which is which by just looking at flags. Maybe it’s more of a cultural signifier?

(Just as a clarification, when I say “cultural signifier”, I mean this in a sort of vague general sense of people having the knowledge of the customs of that country even if they might not necessarily do any of those customs themselves.)


to me the flag just comes in handy when someone mentions the weather or the price of a stamp in their country.
i would never look at the news and think that maybe @PinkNoodle is as awful as those people. or the other way around. you seem like a great person so why would i judge you on something other people do? that does not make any sense to me. though i do understand your worries, i would probably feel the same way.

the only time i associated someone with their country is when something bad has happened like a hurricane or fire or something and i truly worry if the person i’m sending a card to is okay.


I really feel for you. Hope everything will resolve soon.

I can tell you for sure that most of us are not judging you or your compatriots, and I’m sure many people don’t even follow international politics. I do have to admit that I’d also feel uneasy if I were you, so I definitely see why you feel that way. But I really think (hope!) that nobody will ever hold what that president has done, against you or other Postcrossers.

Regarding regional or state flags, most non-Americans are unfamiliar with American state flags, so people would have no clue about where you’re from. And if they don’t know where your flag is from, then I don’t think that’s much different from not having a flag altogether.


whilst this may be true for most of the world, america is in the news here literally every day. i think almost everyone knows who the president is of america (and even the one before, and before) but cannot name the president of, let’s say, italy.

what happened yesterday in america is really hard to miss around the world. what has happened the last few years concerning trump was also really hard to miss. police brutality, i think we all know about it.
i don’t think we should pretend it’s not happening but we should not blame every american person for it.


I keep it simple with the flags on this forum. I consider them useful for all those games here. It helps to see where the other person is located, at least in most cases. That’s why I don’t like using the EU flag here or when people use the flag of the country where someone was born, connect most to or else. But of course everyone can do as he/she likes. It’s just my opinion… In short: showing the flag over here for me is just a handy way of showing my location. Not more, not less.

(was it about identification etc I would never ever show the German flag… despite of football or other sports events Germans don’t show their flag… it’s not a thing over here)


That’s a bit similar to why I’ve chosen to fly the German flag - even though Germany is mostly a respected country nowadays, I think there are still certain reservations and fears, especially considering our role in Europe (the whole “Germany is using the EU to dominate Europe again” narrative). Although I think it’s cool that we can choose the European flag as well, I’ve decided to accept the challenge of “representing” Germany and I hope I’ll be able to contribute to a better image of my country.

@manuchka already mentioned the similar scenes in front of our parliament last year - interestingly, the most prominent flags present that day were imperial flags (black-white-red) which are popular in the overlapping movements of our version of “sovereign citizens” (so called “Reichsbürger”, they believe the FRG doesn’t exist but the 2nd (or 3rd) Reich still does) and antirepublican far-right extremists. So by associating myself with the republican colours of black-red-gold I even get the opportunity to distance myself a bit from these people.


Yes I agree with the sentiment expressed by @saintursula and @sannah82, I too use it as a geographical signifier rather than an expression of pride. I am also of different nationalities but in UK and very unhappy about Brexit, etc but decided that I would use the British flag. I certainly am not proud or supportive of my government (in so many ways) and yes in a way it’s rather embarrassing… I know I could indeed use the European flag (or any other) but then that would be a political statement which I was trying to avoid. Just the fact that we can’t use two flags on our profiles would reinforce the idea it’s meant to be taken geographical rather than anything else.


Using a flag here, for me, is an indication of my location and the language I speak (since it is not spoken widely) so that a potential sender/receiver will save 5-10 seconds of looking up my location etc. Also to give a brief idea of my background when in a conversation. Although I would love to use the EU flag (I slightly still believe in this constitution!) I feel it is just making it harder for everybody to understand where Im speaking from.

I would never judge a person here based on a flag (and a country or events in that country) but I might be more comfortable asking a person about it in private if I knew they actually are there… ie if there was an earthquake in greece and i was in a conversation that mention it, it would be easier for others to see Im here and maybe act accordingly (asking about it, avoid mentioning something offensive etc)

all in all, our flag is not our beliefs and our ethics. sometimes they coincide, but that is all.


I chose the flag of the European Union for too many Nazis and other idiots run around with the German flag, which is my national flag. Furthermore I live straight at the border to Belgium and to the Netherlands and want to support the idea of the European Union to unite the nations instead of making war. So, for me, my flag is a political statement, but I do not judge others by their flag.


I only found out how to add the flag last night and spent quite a while debating whether to have the British flag (the Union Jack), or the England flag (St George’s flag). I chose the British flag to represent unity for our Kingdom in these trying times, especially after the embarrassing mess of Brexit. There have also been connections between the St George’s flag and the EDL (English Defence League). The EDL are a racist, anti-religion organisation primarily made from football hooligans who use the St George’s flag during their rallies.
It makes me sad to know we have to consider these things :frowning:


As many people mentioned already, I too only use the flag for location purposes. I am not Australian at all. :laughing:
I dare to assume it applies to most postcrossers.
That’s also the way I look at other flags “Oh, that person lives in the USA.” And that’s it.

No one should be ashamed of being American, Brittish, German,… or whatever. You don’t choose this. :hugs:

If you storm the Capitol, yes, then you should be ashamed. Or if you send ugly postcards. :laughing: