Thursday, May 17, 2007

So typically Amherst, so very sad

Only in Amherst would town officials fly the rainbow flag in town center to celebrate gay marriage but reject flying American flags in the downtown on 9/11 to commemorate the 3,000 Americans killed (many of whom were gay) on that awful day.

On May 10, with no discussion, the Amherst Select Board voted unanimously to replace the United Nations flag (Yes, Amherst is one of a handful of municipalities that routinely flies the UN flag) in front of Town Hall with the Rainbow flag to celebrate the second anniversary of the State Supreme Court decision legalizing same sex marriage in Massachusetts.

Last night over two-thirds of Amherst Town Meeting voted down the following resolution:

“To see if the town will strongly urge the Select board to allow the 29 commemorative flags to fly downtown (at half-staff) every 9/11 for as long as the Republic stands to commemorate the most devastating attack in our history.”

On the night of September 10, 2001 when the Amherst Select Board was setting the policy for when the commemorative flags could fly, Umass Professor Jennie Traschen branded Old Glory“…a symbol of terrorism and death and fear and destruction and repression.”

As she ambled back to her seat, Phyllis Daley said in an angry motherly tone: “Shame on you!”

A sentiment that now applies to Amherst town government.


maryd said...

First, Larry, I want to thank you for trying again. I was watching on TV last night as the comments began and my 13 year old son asked what it was about. When I told him it was trying to decide on flying the flags on 9/11 he said, wide eyed, "Why wouldn't they!?" He remembers his dad, a firefighter, being sent to NY to help after the tragic day. We both remember the way he looked and smelled, and the stories he told, when he returned. Flying flags that day would have meant so much to so many. Ours will be flying then as it is today.

Thank you again.

jp said...

Hi Larry,

I thought your presentation last night on #35 was moderate, compassionate, & thoughtful. I voted yes, as did a lot of people in TM that I respect and admire. Thank you.

Jim P

LarryK4 said...

You are very welcome Mary (thanks to Billy for his work as well) and Jim.

It is now nearing the bewitching hour and I have not slept a wink since my presentation last night. I still cannot believe the end result. I know some of it was due to the anti-Larry effect (whatever Kelley supports we oppose) brought on by any number of a handful of issues: The most recent Override or Mayor/Council Charter battles, or Cherry Hill or Vagina Monologues or the Chinese Charter School or maybe even the smoking ban in bars.

And if the 9/11 flag article failed by a half-dozen votes, I would be even more depressed; figuring it was the anti-Larry affects for sure that tipped the balance. But…My God, it LOST 96 to 41 or 55 votes, a 70% to 30% split—beyond a landslide.

In any other municipality in the United States of America regular, law abiding, hard working, decent folks would be outraged if the article PASSED by 70% to 30% because that would mean 30% of their leaders voted against flying American flags on 9/11.