Air Force: ‘Rainbow’ parody of U.S. flag can stay in base housing

Air Force: ‘Rainbow’ parody of U.S. flag can stay in base housing
In your face, airmen. (Photo: Brian Kolfage, Wounded American Warrior)

This post follows up on the story I reported 1 February involving a “rainbow” parody of the U.S. flag being flown from a base housing unit at Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona.

The original story was written up by Senior Airman Brian Kolfage at his website, Wounded American Warrior.  The Blaze picked his story up and ran it, and it now includes updates from his query to the relevant unit commander on the status of the flag.

Here is Kolfage’s summary:

The following statement was the first of two that were sent to me by the 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office:

We are currently reviewing this issue and have taken no action at this time. We take seriously our responsibility to abide by federal law and defend the Constitutional rights of all citizens.

Then three days later I received the final ruling:

The installation commander carefully considered the opinions of legal professionals and the law. The display in question is not an altered U.S. flag; therefore, its display does not violate federal law. No action will be taken.

I can only imagine the legal conversations that went down to formulate this decision. Even a simple Google search reveals what we already knew. The flags are sold as “Gay Lesbian American Flags.” There you have it, let’s call a spade a spade and cut out the political correctness.

Basically, it appears that the Air Force has sidestepped the issue by concluding that a flag clearly intended to parody the national ensign is not an “altered U.S. flag,” and therefore nothing will be done about it.

Kolfage again:

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice the stars are perfectly laid out per the standard proportions for the U.S. Flag design guidelines. Furthermore, the stars are the same color with the same background. Are you really saying this is “not and altered U.S. flag?” You can’t be serious!

Without a doubt this is a perversion of Old Glory, and it’s flying on an Air Force base that won the2012 Commander In Chief’s Best Installation in the Air Force. Should that tell us something?

What I would like to know is how it is not in violation of U.S. Code? Is it solely based on the rainbow not having enough colors? Are we really having this debate?

He goes on to raise the points suggested in my first post about dragooning the flag into whatever political statement anyone wants to make:

This opens a whole new can of worms after the 355th Fighter Wing has now set a precedence [sic]. I sure hope Airman around the globe read this, and bust out their flags whether they be a big Christian cross, Santa Claus, Gadsden, Medical Marijuana, Rebel, NASCAR, pink unicorns, or whatever they feel they represent. Even if you’re for straight marriage go ahead and fly that flag if it’s what you truly believe.

The obviousness of this will, indeed, occur to enterprising servicemembers in short order.  But we can expect very unequal treatment for political points of view, in the matter of parody flags.  Some will be permitted; some won’t.  It will have nothing legitimately to do with how much of an “altered U.S. flag” the piece of cloth is.  The tiebreaker will be which political postures are favored.

Anyone who’s ever had to lead people in tough, stressful situations knows that nothing affects good order and discipline like a sense of basic unfairness and favoritism.  If you think this issue is only about some airmen – or soldiers, sailors, or Marines – “getting over” other people’s creativity with the flag, you’ve clearly never served in the military.  Even if you, personally, think that is what it’s about, you should know if you’ve worn the uniform that it’s more than that, for most people.

This is important because of the deep-seated belief most servicemembers start with about what they’re fighting for.  It’s not to have someone else’s special-interest parody flags flying over them.  There’s no reconciling the chasm-size break here.  Tribal parody flags aren’t “America,” and there’s no pasteurizing them into “America.”  Their presence says to most servicemembers that we aren’t the America they thought they were fighting for.  The Air Force backing that up is a blow to the gut.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.


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