For many people, apparently, the larger a flag is, the more meaningful it is and any suggestion to the contrary must be taken as a threat to diminish that meaning. The importance given here to the size of a flag is not unlike that so many give to the accumulation of wealth or the acquisition of fame.
Meaningfulness is uncritically equated with quantity and unconstrained increase. The contrived nature of our recent controversy actually manifests an internal contradiction between adherence to this materialism and the truth that meaningfulness is not a matter of possession but of the articulation of immaterial relationships through culture. Such relationships are given expression, in part, through political institutions and ideals like the principle of “self-legislation,” which is the basis of a self-governing society.
Materialism, however, dismisses such expression and self-regulation as “merely” symbolic, largely in the name of an immature identification of freedom with a total lack of constraint. The inner contradiction between devout materialism and the immateriality of cultural determination is transformed into an external conflict that must, for the materialist, end with the successful imposition of his will, an equally materialistic but presumably more effective check to his assertion, or a petulant severance of the relationships that call materialism into question. This disavowal of the responsibility we all have to respect our own democratic process, including local ordinances, results in the irrationality of our current situation, in which citizens use a crucial public symbol in a way that undermines the political and legal systems that constitute its meaning.
Statesville may win the legal battle over flying the American Flag, but they have lost the public relations war.
It is ridiculous that the city of Statesville should worry themselves sick over an oversize flag of this great nation of ours. And waste taxpayers money on a legal action. Shame on all involved in suing Gander RV for having a beautiful flag flying for all to see as we all drive on I-77 for locals and visitors to enjoy. I say keep it up and city officials worry about more important issues at hand than a flag that represents this wonderful nation of ours. I ask that the judge throw this out of court and have a sense of greatness for that flag flying over head.
This weekend, I drove through Statesville and saw the large American flag flying off I-77 at the outdoor recreation dealership. Yes, it's huge. But having seen the large flag featured in TV ads as of late, it’s clearly a public relations stunt masquerading as patriotism. But that’s where it stops. Patriotism is not just flying an American flag. Patriotism is also believing in the values behind that flag, one of which is our history self-governance. When we disagree with the rules that our elected leaders make, we don’t disregard them; we come together and peacefully protest changing those rules. Some might call the management at this dealership “Patriots” for flying an over-sized American flag in defiance of the city. But I believe otherwise. If they were real “Patriots,” they would follow the rules and ask the elected city council in Statesville to change the rules. And if the city council says no, the dealership’s managers can exercise their patriotism by supporting candidates sympathetic to their viewpoint in advance of the next city election. That is, of course, unless this is just one giant stunt to get some free press.
Rock Hill, SC
As a native of Statesville and former resident now 86 years of age, I am embarrassed by the formal action by the City of Statesville to violate, what in my opinion, is a constitutional right of the company to display the flag of the United States, no matter the size of this flag.
Holiday Kamper Company is expressing its corporate freedom of speech when it flies the flag of the United States in recognition of America’s armed forces and their service to their country.
The City of Statesville is in violation of the United States Constitutional guarantee to protect Amendments One (freedom of expression) and Eight (protection from undue fines).
The City of Statesville should devote less time and attention to trivia such as this and spend more time devoted to protecting and preserving the Fourth Creek Burying Ground in uptown Statesville where its deceased founders are buried under deplorable conditions.
C. Donald Stevenson
Morganton, North Carolina