Last Thursday, at 4:00 pm, on July 10th, 2013, the Mayor of Bellingham and the Bellingham City Council raised Old Glory with the Gay Pride Flag billowing under Old Glory’s magnificent representation of a unified nation; “one nation, under god, with liberty and justice for all.” Diversity is something which is beloved and cherished within the United States, that’s why we are proudly described as the melting pot. The actions by Mayor Linville and the Bellingham City Council, was met with fan-fare and clapping at the flag raising, but was it a unifying gesture? Or, was their action seen by many as another moment that promotes division not unity?
Is it governments place to remind us that we are all different and treat some sectors of society more reverently than others? Can we, as a society, ever truly meld into the cohesive racial, spiritual, moral and just society that our forefathers envisioned, when government places itself as the intermediaries of support to one public sector over another? We may not all agree on how individual lives should be lived, but we do all agree that we have the right to our own free will, free association and equality; which government cannot give to us. That is a natural born right given to each and every one of us. Governments’ purpose is to provide a lawful structure that provides for the equal opportunity of, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It appears that the more government involves itself in social affairs, involves itself as the arbiter of what is good or bad, the further We the People are divided.
The letter below was written by Jon Butcher, of Bellingham, and sent by email to Mayor Linville last Thursday. I am certain that it is not the only communication Mayor Linville received, that questioned her decision to fly a special interest flag under the United States flag, our Old Glory, and our symbol of a unified nation. Suffice it to say that if governments’ role is to facilitate and fuse the nation, then government (that’s us) cannot place one public association in higher respect over another. That is not the way to fuse a nation. ~ Kris Halterman
I heard on the radio last night and saw today in this link: http://www.cob.org/features/2013-07-08-pride-flag.aspx that the city has decided to raise the Pride Flag at City Hall in honor and support of the Gay Community. I am so happy to hear of the City’s support during Pride Week and the Pride Parade. To host an event or speak during the event is one thing but to hoist the Pride Flag up under our nation’s flag takes the city’s support to a whole new level. I’m sure you know that flags are much more than fabric and just how much significance are in the threads of a flag. They mean a great deal to those that carry them or raise them in their homes or on government ground. I think the support our city officials have chosen to put forth to a select group is wonderful.
The diversity of Bellingham is among its best assets. We have Gay, Straight, Catholic, Protestant, Museum, Atheists, Buddhist, Agnostics, Jewish, White, Black, Indian, Hispanic, Male, Female, etc… The list goes on. No group is more special than the other and no group is less than the other. We all have the right of equal treatment and equal opportunity. We have big government believers and small government believers; we have Dems and Reps, Progressives, Conservatives, and Libertarians. Yes, Bellingham has it all and we are a much richer place for it. I am in great support of all these different people, their thoughts, ideas, and the ways in which they live their lives.
I would like to see the City of Bellingham support my views and those of a great many others who believe in a smaller, leaner, purpose driven government. We believe that:
Government should make no law that interferes with individual rights or behavior so long as no one is harmed by it. However, I don’t want to pay for your lifestyle so tax payers should never have to subsidize behavior of any group nor should they be forced to pay for “programs” that take away the consequences of stupid behavior.
That government should not be in the business of redistribution of wealth, which the graduated income tax does.
That government is too big, too intrusive and relied upon entirely too much by our people.
That the majority of problems that our government is attempting to solve with government programs were actually first created by other government programs.
That “The government that governs least governs best“.
Truly summing it up we believe that when Oliver Wendell Holmes stated, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins“; he had it dead on. If we simply made this the guiding concept of our governing, we would all be much better off.
To me and the great many others that share these thoughts, nothing signifies our beliefs better than the Gadsden Flag, otherwise known as the “Don’t Tread on Me” Flag.
I think Independence Day, 2014 would be the ideal day to raise the Gadsden Flag high on City Hall’s grounds to help show the City’s continued support of its community’s views and diversity. I don’t know if the City purchased the Pride Flag with tax dollars or not but if the Pride Week community supplied their own Flag, I would be more than happy to do the same and purchase a brand new yellow, Gadsden Flag for the City’s use and let the words “Don’t Tread on Me” fly high on Independence Day, 2014 and years to come to remind government that it exists only to serve the people and not the other way around.
Please let me know how you would like to help this effort and show your support for the beliefs of many in this community.
Thank you so very much for your time and support,
PS. I’ve attached an image of the Gadsden Flag if you are not familiar…
Bellingham City Council President Seth Fleetwood, Bellingham Pride 2013 Co-Coordinator Reina Boersma, and Mayor Kelli Linville hosted a brief public ceremony at 4 p.m. July 11 as they raised two rainbow Pride flags in front of Bellingham City Hall.
The Bellingham City Council voted unanimously at its July 1 meeting to fly the rainbow Pride flag in front of City Hall on July 12, 13 and 14.
Fleetwood said the City will fly the flags in celebration of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision supporting gay marriage and to demonstrate our community’s commitment to equality for all. The dates were selected to coincide with the 2013 Bellingham Pride Festival being held this weekend.
At the July 11 ceremony, Fleetwood and Linville raised the flags and Linville proclaimed July 12-14 as Bellingham Pride Weekend.
Published: July 12, 2013