The veteran who complained because two flags shouldn’t fly on the same pole may have a point. But the townspeople who were worried about attacks on the town because of the flying of a Danish flag should be ashamed of themselves, and grow some spine. Their pusillanimous reaction shows just how deep are the inroads that Islamic jihadists have already made into the Western psyche. And the idea that a “No Place for Hate Committee” should object to a show of solidarity with the Danes and support for freedom of speech shows just how absurd our age has become.
“Showing of Danish flag roils town,” from the Boston Globe, with thanks to Shinolite:
As militant Muslims from Indonesia to the West Bank torched and trampled the Danish flag this past week to protest political cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, Stoughton’s Town Manager Mark Stankiewicz grew increasingly upset.
So in a small act of solidarity with Denmark and of support for free speech, Stankiewicz bought two Danish flags on Monday and raised one of the red-and-white banners outside the Town Hall that morning, flying it on the pole beneath the US flag.
The symbolic gesture was short-lived, as Stankiewicz lowered the flag the next afternoon after a local veteran complained that it was improper to fly the flags of two countries on one pole. He declined to release the name of the veteran.
But many people in town saw the foreign flag display as insensitive and inflammatory. Several town employees told Stankiewicz they did not agree with his decision and worried the flag could provoke violence against Town Hall in light of the attacks against Danish and other European embassies throughout the Middle East. Stankiewicz described their concerns as an ”overreaction.”
The Stoughton No Place for Hate Committee, a local antidiscrimination group, plans to discuss the episode at its meeting tonight because of fears that residents might be hurt or insulted.
”There’s always that chance that there will be people who are offended, and we want to guard against that,” said Karon Skinner-Catrone, chairperson of the 10-person group, some of whom are town officials.
Catrone declined to give her personal views on the topic before meeting with Stankiewicz, but she said she was ”sure his intentions were good.”
”I know Mark would not want to intentionally hurt the town,” she said. ”I hope people don’t take it the wrong way.”…
”This was an extremely limited show of support for a country and its democratic institutions,” said Stankiewicz, 48. ”Is religion going to trump free speech? If you don’t stand up for certain rights, you risk losing them.”…
Stankiewicz, who has visited Denmark and has friends there, said he worries that Western countries will cave in to terrorist threats unless they stick together.
”I thought people might be upset, but they need to understand what’s at stake,” he said. ”People are willing to sacrifice civil liberties to feel safe, and that’s a slippery slope.”
Yes it is.