In the days following 9-11, Nation columnist Katha Pollit initially refused her daughter’s request to fly an American flag outside their apartment window. “The flag stands for jingoism and vengeance and war,” Pollit said. According to Pollit, her daughter countered, “the flag means standing together and honoring the dead and saying no to terrorism.”
To her credit, Pollit concluded, “In a way, we’re both right,” and allowed her daughter to fly the flag if she purchased it with her own money and if she hung it solely out of her own bedroom window.
The University of California Student Senate is using the flag’s multiple meanings to different people as an argument to remove it from the sight of offended members in their meeting room. On Thursday, the Senate introduced a bill designed to strike down a law requiring the American flag to adorn their meetings.
This bill, Senate Bill 76, was clearly designed for those who are offended by the sight of the flag. In the name of diversity, or, more likely, just accommodating those who, even if small in number, are uncomfortable with the flag in the room, the bill justifies the flag’s removal since the “concept of United States of America and patriotism is different for every individual.”
But some are fighting back against this bill introduced by Senator Jose Meneses.
Supporters of the bill in the Senate claim that the bill has no political agenda in mind; while others, such as Micheal Gofman, a member of the Student Senate and an opponent of the bill, claim that the removal of the flag is “a political statement.”
Deborah Porter, a leader in the UC-Davis College Republicans, seconded Gofman’s opinion, and asserted that there is a unifying message in displaying the flag that those seeking its removal should consider:
“The flag of the United States of America stands for the educational opportunity provided by America,” she said.
Moreover, its removal insults those who guard the students while they sleep.
“Restricting the flag to be displayed at the mercy of the President pro-tempore is a slap in the face to our military members, and their sacrifice, even to the death, for our freedoms. I hold our military members in high respect, and thus vehemently oppose Senate Bill 76,” she added.