The Montgomery City Council just passed a flag neutrality resolution, limiting flags flown on government properties to the American flag, the Alabama flag, and other U.S. flags, such as those from the military. As Caleb Taylor at 1819 News explains:

"Councilman Brantley Lyons proposed the resolution to maintain a sense of neutrality between the city and its residents.

Supporters of the resolution gave examples of gay pride flags being flown on city property and a Black Lives Matter mural being painted around the Court Square Fountain in downtown Montgomery as to why the resolution was needed. 

‘I’m trying to protect the city from getting sued by denying the right for any other group to have displays or banners,’ Lyons said at the council meeting. ‘I just figured it would be smart to stay out of it. We’re just going to be neutral all across the board. That’s what I’m trying to accomplish. This is a watered-down version.’"

Bravo to that. While these flags have their place and represent one’s allegiance to a particular cause or endeavor, they do not represent a cohesive focus on state and national unity. Some applaud the regalia displays, but others have no connection to the symbology, and some even find them offensive. This is why many cities such as Huntington Beach, Calif., and states and municipalities like Michigan have instituted neutrality codes and resolutions limiting flag display to city, state, and national symbols.

It's an important stand, making it clear that the American flag, and the state flags that constitute our union, are what enjoins us as a country. The American flag in particular has been marginalized and minimized for far too long, and it is time for it to take its rightful place again as that unifying symbol of our nation.

The symbolism of the Stars and Stripes has achieved greater prominence this week as U.S. and state flags have flown at half mast to show solidarity with Israel in their fight against the brutal attacks by Hamas. According to a Newsweek article:

"U.S. and state flags on public buildings and grounds have been flying at half mast this week across the U.S.

Governors across the country have ordered the ceremonial gesture out of respect, following attacks in Israel by Hamas.

In recognition of lives lost, multiple state governors made the directive to lower flags."

A nation’s flag is imbued with meaning, and in America’s 247-year history, our flag has stood for freedom, fortitude, resilience, and justice. We have not done any of those things perfectly; frankly, no nation could. But our representative republic has had its mettle tested, tried, and tried again.

In the midst of the battering, which is often relentless and ongoing, we continue to stand. The flag solidifies our sovereignty, which is why trying to promote other flags alongside or above it is pompous and foolhardy. It does not matter whether it’s the Pride flag, the Thin Blue Line flag, or the Emotional Support flag (no, that does not exist). These other flags only serve to demean and diminish the banner that represents our nation’s consistence, a fact Montgomery Councilman Lyons seems to recognize:

"‘We did have a display of banners outside city hall for a period of time, and that opened up the door whether it could be ISIS wanting to come fly one or another group wanting to come fly one and people wouldn’t agree with their ideology or political viewpoints or whatever. I just felt like the best one was to drop a neutrality agreement that we don’t pick sides,’ Lyons said." 

In these polarizing times, we need greater emphasis on what unites us and not what divides us. No matter the race, tongue, profession, religion, sexual or gender orientation, the American flag flies over us all.

Jennifer Oliver O'Connell, As the Girl Turns, is an investigative journalist, author, opinion analyst, and contributor to 1819 News, Redstate, and other publications. Jennifer writes on Politics and Pop Culture, with occasional detours into Reinvention, Yoga, and Food. You can read more about Jennifer's world at her As the Girl Turns website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Telegram.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to [email protected]

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