Rochester Park Board President In Hot Water Over US Flag Comments
Tuesday, April 6, 2021, the Rochester Park Board convened virtually and something said at the meeting has local social media up in arms. Park Board President, Linnea Archer, spoke about the flag of the United States of America.
Let's dig into it. Click play and listen to the short statement. If you'd rather read it, scroll down a bit.
Now, please check out the transcript. The Transcript of the clip above has been checked for accuracy, but may not be perfect.
Linnea Archer (00:00):
My only other item is I think I would be remiss in not mentioning it and I'm not sick...(unclear). So the American flag that's going in at the, um, law enforcement Memorial, and we have other, um, American flags and at the ss...soldiers field Memorial, um, I'm not suggesting we not have it there because it's appropriate, but the American flag for many is patriotic, but for others, it is a sign of, um, injustices.
Linnea Archer (00:37):
And I just wanted to make sure that when we're, we're thinking about that, um, some of those symbols that we put into our parks are well-intentioned and support some of our community. They could also, um, be misconstrued or feel like other people are not represented it representative represented in our community. So just bringing that up, that like I know for myself, when I lived in a different area of the country, the American flag was used as a hate, as a hateful thing. It was a sign that, that you could get in trouble or you could be, um, and just to make, just to make sure that we know that some of our members of our community will see it that way. And that I know it's not intended intended that way. Just, just, yeah. So with that, um, I appreciate...
What are people saying? From the comments on our YouTube channel...
And various comments from local Facebook pages.
I reached out to Linnea Archer for a statement, but my turnaround time was rather short and I have not yet heard back. When I do, I'll update the story.
What surprises me most about the responses above (selected to deliver a representative sample), is the "get out" attitude. No matter what your feelings about our flag, it is a fact some people do not see it as a positive symbol. Is it a majority of people? A 2019 survey revealed 4 out of 5 Americans believe the flag is a positive sign of patriotism and democracy. (Source)
That number might be misleading, though. A 2020 survey found much the same thing, however, many of the respondents said they love the flag, but recognize it comes with baggage for some people. (Source)
I'm not trying to prove one side correct and one side incorrect. I'm just trying to show what the Park Board President said isn't inaccurate.
"...the American flag was used as a hate, as a hateful thing."
Linnea Archer isn't wrong. It has been used hatefully by hateful people. There are many ugly things in our nation's past.
It's also true the United States Flag has been a sign of rescue, of hope, and of freedom. Freedoms many countries can't even fathom. I don't think it hurts us and our core beliefs to recognize everyone's experience isn't the same.
Something I believe firmly is that a person can very much love the United States of America, and also have disagreements and discomfort about the United States of America. That's being human.
You don't have to agree about what needs fixing. It's in our nature to see things from our own point of view. But to tell Archer to "love it or leave it"? That seems to go against the very ideals our flag represents. Indeed, there's been an incredibly loud group of people complaining about 'cancel culture.' And with good cause.
I've always been a big fan of Carl Schurz's 1872 statement, "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.” It makes room for all of us.
As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
One last thing...I see a lot of flag loving Americans treating our flag with disrespect...so here's a quick rundown of some rules about handling the flags.