Letter: Will Barrington fly 'Unborn Lives Matter' flag?

Posted 9/9/20

To the editor:

The American flag is the most recognized symbol of freedom in the world. If you ask the millions of immigrants who have aspired over the years to become American citizens and pledge …

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Letter: Will Barrington fly 'Unborn Lives Matter' flag?

Posted

To the editor:

The American flag is the most recognized symbol of freedom in the world. If you ask the millions of immigrants who have aspired over the years to become American citizens and pledge allegiance to that flag, they will tell you it represents freedom as well as the opportunity to achieve your dreams with hard work.

That freedom and opportunity exist for all. The flag stands for all …every race, every color, every gender, every ethnicity. It stands for people of every religion, and every sexual orientation. The flag stands for every child, both born and unborn, and every adult.

The American flag represents to us and to the world an ideal, and while that ideal may not have always been achieved throughout America’s history, that ideal of freedom and opportunity has, and will always be strived for.

A Pride banner flying next to the American flag is redundant. The stars and stripes of the American flag incorporate people of all gender identifications. A Black Lives Matter banner flying next to the American flag is redundant as well. The American flag incorporates all races and creeds. The American flag is not for one. It is for all. It is indivisible.

Adding banners beside the American flag is not only redundant, it is a dangerous, slippery slope, no matter how noble the cause you espouse. Gay Pride may be a noble cause, but our flag is already inclusive of all sexual orientations. Black lives are important, but our flag already is inclusive of all people, no matter the color of their skin. Our flag symbolizes the ideals we endeavor to reach for every person, and if, as humans, we sometimes fail in our attempt to reach those ideals, that does not diminish the ideals themselves.

As a Catholic I support the lives of unborn children, almost a million of whom every year in the United States, are deprived the chance of ever breathing a single breath. Their lives matter deeply to me. Will the Town of Barrington allow me to fly a banner next to the American flag that says “Unborn Lives Matter”?  Based on their recent policy, they should, since they have allowed two banners to fly alongside the American flag already since June. Why not mine then? Once the first exception was granted in June the precedent was set. And if mine, then will the next banner be allowed? And the next? And the next? If not, why not?

As passionately as I value unborn lives, I do not think the town should fly a banner for the unborn. Nor do I think any of the other banners that have been allowed to fly recently should have. The United States of America is a land of diversity. Up until recently, it has encouraged freedom of thought which is what makes America unique and special and yes, great. The American flag is a symbol that we have the right to be different. It is a symbol that we have the right to dissent. But, we do not have the right to impose our beliefs upon others, and once we start attaching banners to the space where our flag flies, we are endorsing and imposing the beliefs of that group, whatever group it is, upon all. That is the antithesis of America.

I also find it disturbing that this latest addition to our flagpole was approved, not by those who have been elected to represent us, but by an administrator who never received one vote. The things that we hold dear….. freedom from imposition of others’ ideas upon us, due process, the right to voice your opinion even if it is not popular, are eroding before our very eyes and we are letting it happen.

It is time for these town meetings to leave the virtual sphere and return to in person meetings where our citizens can voice their affirmations as well as their objections. If it is safe for our kids to go back to school, then it is safe for our elected representatives to go back to in person public meetings where there is greater public participation and oversight.

Our flag is the most inclusive symbol of the greatest country in the world. Despite our flaws, we strive to improve and grow to be that shining city on a hill. Give our flag the prominence, and respect that it has earned. As one of our presidents once stated, “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”

Americans pride themselves on our right to freedom of thought. The American flag reminds us that is a freedom men and women have fought and died for so that we can enjoy it. That same flag is a reminder that we have the freedom to champion any cause that we want, but it also reminds us that our flag does not endorse one thought over another.

Placing a banner, whatever it is, alongside the flag, endorses that thought. That is the antithesis of what America is. Let’s end this practice and encourage people to continue to advocate for their causes, just in a way that does not impose their beliefs upon others.

Mary Teixeira

Barrington

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