Pride In Honest Goverment? Pride Flag Won’t Fly At City Hall
Never say never when the liberals are in charge. Make no mistake, they are in charge of the Yakima City Council and SURPRISE! the City of Yakima is taking another look at that rainbow-colored pride flag.
Gay Pride Flag Timeline
First of all, nothing breeds confidence in government like consistency...So, if you are keeping score, here's a timeline.
0000 to 1978 there wasn't a gay pride flag. So no flag flew at Yakima City Hall or anywhere else for that matter. For the record, heterosexuality did not have a flag at that time and still does not.
In 1978, gay San Francisco politician Harvey Milk commissioned artist, designer, Vietnam War veteran, and drag performer, Gilbert Baker to design a flag for San Francisco's annual pride parade.
Baker decided to make that symbol a flag because he saw flags as the most powerful symbol of pride. ((DOES THAT STILL HOLD TRUE FOR THE U.S. FLAG)) As he later said in an interview, “Our job as gay people was to come out, to be visible, to live in the truth, as I say, to get out of the lie. A flag really fit that mission, because that’s a way of proclaiming your visibility or saying, ‘This is who I am!’” Baker saw the rainbow as a natural flag from the sky, so he adopted eight colors for the stripes, each color with its own meaning (hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit
It's important to note that "designer" Baker didn't choose, for example, red, white & blue colors with stars and stripes....because that motif was already taken. Instead, Mr. Baker reached deep into his "artist's" capacity and came up with a different copy ...of something else... that was already taken. The rainbow.
Today, people get threatened or socially canceled for violating what's known as "cultural appropriation" which is when one group uses, disrespects, or exploits something from another group to be used -not as intended- by the originating group. Could you make a case that the rainbow has been appropriated?
A Heavenly Promise
To Christians, the rainbow is more than "a natural flag from the sky":
a meteorological phenomenon caused by reflection, refraction, and dispersion of light in water droplets - resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky.
To Christians, the rainbow is Supernatural, it's a promise from God to mankind and to all the creatures of the earth following the great flood, as recounted in the Bible's book of Genesis, Chapter Nine, verses 13 - 15:
13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.
Empathy Must Apply To All
So that's kind of a big deal to the 200+million Christians in America. The rainbow is an accepted icon for children's first art projects, for care bears and happy thoughts greeting cards...and that's ok. But there are millions of Americans that are not comfortable with the rainbow promoted as the rallying symbol of alternate sexual lifestyles.
In 2020, Yakima's City Council voted to fly the gay pride flag at city hall. The decision was not without controversy, raising questions like: Should the Government of Yakima take advocacy positions for special interest groups? Can the City of Yakima favor one special interest group's request versus another's?
In May of 2022, a different Yakima City Council voted UNANIMOUSLY to no longer allow special interest flags to fly off flag poles on city buildings.
SO What happened?
Just two months later, in July 2022, as in TOMORROW, 7/19/22 the city council has reversed its UNANIMOUS decision and is now poised to vote on a change to the City's code that would appear to make flying a special interest flag as simple as convincing 4 of 7 sitting council members.
Here's what the code most recently said in RCW 1.20.017.
The City’s flagpoles are not intended to serve as a forum for free expression by the public. Only flags specified in Section 1.13.020(A) shall be flown from City flagpoles.
In addition to the above-referenced flags, other flags or banners may be displayed on a permanent or temporary basis outside or inside of City of Yakima buildings. Other flags and banners may only be displayed upon the issuance of a federal or state proclamation or resolution or a mayoral proclamation. Examples include Sister City flags, Heritage Month flags (e.g., African American History, Asian/Pacific American History, National Hispanic Heritage, National American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage, etc.), flags received in recognition of awards, flags received from visiting groups, or flags designating an event or an accomplishment. All flags and banners will be displayed with the Mayor’s authorization as prescribed by the applicable proclamation or resolution.
A Change To The Change
But in retrospect, is that definition loose enough to allow for a pride flag...no? So instead, the council will take on these changes Tuesday night:
The City of Yakima shall follow the provisions governing the display of flags as required in RCW 1.20.017.
D. The City’s flagpoles are not intended to serve as a forum for free expression by the public.
The following flags may be displayed by the City as an expression of the City’s official sentiments: ((do 4 Council members represent the "OFFICIAL SENTIMENTS" of all of Yakima???))
1. Flags of Governments Recognized by the United States. Flags of the governments recognized by the United States may be displayed upon the request of the Mayor, a member of the City Council or the City Manager.
2. Flags of Sister Cities: The flags of official Sister Cities of Yakima may be displayed in conjunction with an event involving the Sister City.
3. Guest Flags: Other flags may be displayed upon a Council proclamation passed by resolution. ((Is this the green light for the multi-colored flag?))
4. Flags of Professional Sports Teams: blah, blah, blah....(Sports teams??)
The Right Answer Is Already Written
The bottom line is that the correct answer is already written, right there in the opening line of section D.
The City’s flagpoles are not intended to serve as a forum for free expression by the public.
Council members have the honor to serve but are still members of the public. The flagpoles of the city were never intended to be used as billboards for each council member's own particular pet cause either.
If council member X is a strong personal supporter of the LGBTQ community or the NRA organization, or saving the whales, or stopping ice flights, or freeing Brittney Spears (oh wait, she's already been freed) but you get the point. City Government is not an advocacy body for special interests. The City leaders' job is to make policy for the running of the important and necessary functions of government for all residents.
Not too exciting...and not intended to be ...and certainly not empowering to implement personal agendas.
Attend or watch the meeting...and we'll talk Wednesday morning.