Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Another Flag for Free Cascadia

For a movement that has essentially no real-world political presence, there's a surprising variety of iconography available on the internet for the purely theoretical Republic of Cascadia. After having been west of the Rockies for this long, I have to admit that the idea of a union between British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon has become an increasingly appealing prospect. Even a year ago I thought it was real low-probability stuff, but the more I read about the political and economic situation in the Western world in general and the United States in particular, the more I can hear those distant, tortured groans as the world buckles under the weight we've piled upon it. The more I doubt that the map of North America several decades hence will closely resemble the maps you'll find today.

Granted, it's still low-probability; it just seems less so than before. Even in the salad days of the early 2000s and 1990s, there were those who explored the notion of Cascadia independent. One of the touchstones of that has always been a flag - after all, what's a country without a flag? The flag is a symbol to bind peoples together, to represent a country's situation or struggles on a piece of fabric waving in the wind - it's something to rally around.

It's just that some of the Cascadian flags out there are really... meh, in my opinion. Not bad, not with so many actual country, province, state and city flags that are manifestly horrid - for example, the flags of Pocatello, Idaho and Provo, Utah, which resemble nothing so much as the box art of personal productivity software. Right now, the effectively official Cascadian flag - as "official" as something like this can get, anyway - is the Douglas fir flag, which consists of a Douglas fir tree charged on a horizontal blue, white, and green tricolor.

I've never liked it, really - there was always something about it. Having thought about it more recently, it's because of the tree itself; it just looks too complicated to me. One of the core necessities of a good flag, as related by the North American Vexillogical Association, is to keep it simple. While the idea of the tricolor is simple, the tree isn't - it's got a realistic appearance, with branches and void space here and there, and thus brings what I feel is an unnecessary complexity to the flag. Granted, that alone hasn't kept flags down in the past; the alternately straight and wavy sunrays on the flag of British Columbia have a level of complexity to them as well, though not to the same degree.

There are other flags, of course; perform an image search for "flag of Cascadia" and you'll run across plenty. The only thing they tend to have in common is the blue-white-green color scheme; specific references to nature are common but not universal. I rejected those flags. Instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose... one that I made myself.

Here, my intention was simplicity first and foremost; this flag of Cascadia is made entirely of geometric shapes while retaining the straightforwardness of the standard Cascadian tricolor. Here, the green symbolizes the forested land, open fields and environmental awareness of Cascadia, the white for the mountains that give it its name, the three joined peaks to represent the unity of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon within Cascadia, and the blue both for the sky and the Pacific. My original concept for the flag had it rotated ninety degrees counterclockwise, to represent Cascadia's north-south geography, but I couldn't get it to look quite right.

I'll admit that I'm not much of a flag guy; this is only the third one I've designed and the first that's entirely from scratch, not reusing any elements from other flags in order to connote a connection. Still, this is what I made. Maybe you like it, maybe you don't - personally, I like it fine.

Here's hoping I haven't just recreated some flag I've never encountered before.

1 comment:

  1. Andrew--
    In a case of independent invention, I created this very same design about 20 years ago.
    Track me down through NAVA and let's discuss.
    ---Ted Kaye (compiler, Good Flag, Bad Flag, and an Oregonian).