Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Stirring Symbol

Two paramount things the American flag represents -- which I hope we ALL agree on -- is the right of the People to vote on matters both great and small, and the right to petition our government for a redress of grievances.

Tonight both those qualities come in to play, as I go before the Amherst Select Board to request they place the question of flying 29 commemorative flags in the downtown every 9/11 on the upcoming April 9 town election ballot.  That way citizens can finally decide this ongoing issue, which annually brings notoriety to the town.

On the night of September 10, 2001 while a pernicious plot against our country was just starting to unfold, the Amherst Select Board voted to allow 29 commemorative flags to fly on only six occasions, some sad, some celebratory.  

Six weeks after 9/11 I asked that Select Board to add 9/11 to the permanent days the commemorative flags could fly.  They refused, but allowed them up on the first anniversary and again in 2003.

But a change in leadership ushered in a Dark Ages and the flags did not fly again until 2009 under a "compromise" that said they could fly once every three years.

That ridiculous compromise was based on a shameful May16, 2007 two-thirds Town Meeting vote  (96-41) against flying the flags on 9/11 -- ever!  In 2010 SB Chair Stephanie O'keeffe hatched yet another compromise to allow them to fly every 5th year on "milestone anniversaries". 

Tonight the Select Board will take up discussion of a proposal/promise I made to them on September 10, 2012.  I'm not a betting man, but I firmly believe they will do the right thing.


Max Hartshorne said...

Larry I gotta give you credit for being the most persistent SOB in Amherst. I think it's kinda silly but it means a lot to you so i salute that you never give up!

Larry Kelley said...

Thanks Max. Some things are worth fighting for.

Anonymous said...

This CAN says;
Good Luck Larry, you're going to need it.

Anonymous said...

So you admit this entire kerfuffle IS "silly," as Max pointed out.

Imagine the good you could do for this town if you spent the same amount of time that you do on this flag issue (like a spoiled child, insistent on getting his way) and instead did real community service; like picking up trash off the street or working at a soup kitchen.

Anonymous said...

"The infamous Fox News Report...which I am to blame for because I contacted them."

Larry Kelley said...

Actually they saw the Republican article that was picked up by the 9/11 Families Association in New York.

Anonymous said...

How can you use the words "shameful" and "vote" in the same sentence (in terms of the results of that vote) when you claim to care about and give credence to that particular process of democracy? And.. why would we expect your reaction to the results of a referendum vote to be any different to your reaction to the Town Meeting vote, unless, of course, it happened to agree with your way of thinking? I don't really expect to see this comment posted Larry, given the way you've chosen to screen what appears in the comment section of your blog, but wanted to offer it as something for at least you to ponder.

Larry Kelley said...

I don't think Town Meeting really represents the people of Amherst and I have been saying that for over 20 years.

This vote will prove that. Direct Democracy. The will of the voters.

After all, they/we have the final say.