Article courtesy of PoliticsOL.com
Editorial - Week of September 30, 2001
Should "Out" Community Assn's & Developers
Are Prohibiting Display of the U.S. Flag
state legislation requiring public school
teachers to lead their class in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. "What
is it about the Pledge of Allegiance that bothers him so much?" Bush would
ask the crowds at campaign rallies.
|Just days before
the 1988 Republican convention, Gov. Michael Dukakis (D-MA) led then-Vice
President George Bush by 17 points in polling for that year's presidential
Then came the infamous Willie Horton commercial
and word that Dukakis had vetoed
Dukakis would end up losing in an electoral
Today, with patriotic fever at levels not
seen since World War II, there are still people that just don't get it.
A few days after the terrorist attacks
of September 11th, Florida Governor Jeb Bush encouraged residents to fly
the U.S. flag in order to "show defiance to the perpetrators of these awful
acts and their protectors abroad."
Never would he have expected to begin receiving
emails from Floridians who would tell him that their homeowner association
agreements were prohibiting the flying of the U.S. flag in front of their
The Governor has since asked for legislation
to prohibit homeowner associations from having such provisions in their
Almost immediately following the Governor's
announcement, Florida State Senator Steven A. Geller (D-Hallandale Beach)
introduced SB 148. His bill says simply:
|Any homeowner may display one portable,
removable United States flag in a respectful way regardless of any documents,
declarations of covenants, articles of incorporation, or bylaws of the
association dealing with flags or decorations.
Yet, amazingly, Geller's legislation
has not yet one single sponsor in the Florida House of Representatives.
Likewise, State Senator Anna P. Cowin (R-Leesburg)
introduced SB 150. Her bill says:
|It is unlawful for any person to interfere
with the display of the flag of the United States. Any person who violates
this section commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as
provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
Both bills are straightforward enough.
But, other legislators are balking because most of them receive hefty campaign
contributions from wealthy association board members and multi-million
dollar land development corporations. [Sorry, we don't know if any of these
developers have contracts with Osama bin Laden's family construction business.
But, if you find out, let us know!]
We've long known about how these cliques
try to dictate everything from what color the homes in the neighborhood
can be painted to what flowers are permitted to be planted in front of
homes. Just this week we heard yet another amazing story: a Florida couple
was fined $100 per day for three days by their association for hanging
up "Snoopy" curtains in their child's playroom.
But, prohibiting residents from flying
the flag? What's next? Thought police?
Is it that the people who make such decisions
love bin Laden or are their brains merely as dense as Dukakis' was that
day he vetoed the Pledge of Allegiance bill?
Why else would business and community leaders
who sit on homeowner association boards, backed by multi-million dollar
developers, prohibit or make it exceedingly difficult for individual homeowners
in their communities to fly the American flag?
Why else would golf courses prohibit golfers
from attaching flags to their carts?
Why else would a Florida insurance company
prohibit their employees from displaying desktop U.S. flags?
Is it worth it for such developers and
association board members to have their names and businesses exposed to
Is it worth it for a golf course to get
publicity in such a manner?
Is it worth it for an insurance company
to lose business from potential policyholders who don't understand how
the American flag could offend them so much?
What do these people hope to gain?
We would hope that homeowners whose associations
are prohibiting or making it difficult for them to fly the flag in front
of their homes do a little more than just email their governor.
Instead, they should show some defiance
and fly the flag proudly. If they get fined by their association, challenge
the fine in court. If some judge upholds the fine, recall or oust the judge
in the next election.
Support state legislation to override these
idiotic homeowner association rules.
Recall or defeat legislators who fail to
support such bills, as well as those who play tricks on getting such legislation
killed in committees without having recorded votes. Blind side them. Pick
one or two such legislators and bombard them with coordinated direct mail,
phone banks and broadcast ads a week or two before their next election.
Urge that they run for a spot in the Taliban leadership instead.
Refuse to patronize businesses owned by
these homeowner association board members and developers and, more importantly,
"out them", so that the public at large can know who they are.
Flood the media and newspapers with emails
and letters about which associations are stifling the display of the greatest
symbol of freedom of speech in the world: the American flag.
And, finally, pitch in and buy such bozos
one-way airplane tickets to Afghanistan.