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San Francisco quietly takes down ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag from outside City Hall following Alito controversy

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San Francisco recently removed the “Appeal to Heaven” flag from outside City Hall due to its association with anti-democratic groups, following reports of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito flying the Pine Tree flag at his New Jersey vacation home last year. The flag was originally flown from George Washington’s ships during the Revolutionary War, symbolizing the quest for American independence. However, it has since been adopted by conservative movements and was seen at the U.S. Capitol riots on Jan. 6, 2021, prompting the city to remove it after 60 years in the Civic Center Plaza.

The city parks officials stated that the “Appeal to Heaven” flag no longer represents San Francisco’s values, as it has been appropriated by a different group with conflicting ideologies. Critics have defended Justice Alito, claiming that the flag is a historic American symbol and attempting to link him to the Jan. 6 insurrection is unfounded. The flag draws its meaning from John Locke and represents the concept of appealing to a higher authority when earthly powers fail to uphold rights and justice.

Former Vice President Mike Pence supported Alito, emphasizing the importance of the flag as part of American heritage. He clarified that the “Appeal to Heaven” flag was commissioned by George Washington in 1775 for use on cruiser ships, becoming the maritime flag of Massachusetts. Despite attempts to discredit Alito over the flag controversy, he remains steadfast in his belief in faith and freedom, as represented by the historic flag.

The controversy surrounding Alito’s flag display comes on the heels of another incident where an upside-down American flag was flown at his Virginia home, leading to accusations of supporting the “Stop the Steal” campaign. Media outlets and Democratic Party leaders have seized upon both flag controversies to paint Alito as aligned with insurrectionists and anti-democratic movements, further polarizing the political landscape.

Prominent Democratic Party members, like Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, have weighed in on the controversy, labeling Alito’s “Appeal to Heaven” flag as a “MAGA battle flag.” The ongoing debate over the symbolism and implications of historical flags highlights the deep political divisions within the country and the weaponization of symbols to discredit individuals based on perceived affiliations.

Despite the backlash and attempts to vilify Justice Alito, supporters argue that the “Appeal to Heaven” flag is a symbol of American values and principles, rooted in the country’s founding ideals of freedom and justice. The controversy surrounding Alito’s flag display underscores the broader societal tensions and ideological divisions that have become increasingly inflamed in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. As the debate continues, it remains to be seen how the interpretation of historical symbols and flags will shape public discourse and political narratives in the future.

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