Never say never when the Liberals are in power. Make no mistake, they are in charge of Yakima City Council and SURPRISE! the city of Yakima takes another look at this rainbow-colored pride flag.
Gay pride flag timeline
First of all, nothing breeds trust in government like consistency… So if you’re keeping score, here’s a timeline.
0000 to 1978 there was no gay pride flag. So no flag was flown at Yakima City Hall or anywhere else for that matter. For the record, heterosexuality did not have a flag at the time and still does not.
In 1978San Francisco gay politician Harvey Milk, commissioned artist, designer, Vietnam War veteran and drag performer, Gilbert Baker will design a flag for the annual San Francisco Pride Parade.
Baker decided to make this symbol a flag because he considered flags to be the most powerful symbol of pride. ((IS THIS STILL TRUE FOR THE UNITED STATES FLAG)) As he later said in an interview, “Our job as gay people was to come out, to be visible, to live in truth, as I say, to come out of the lie. A flag really fits that mission, because it’s a way of proclaiming your visibility or saying, ‘This is who I am!'” Baker said saw the rainbow as a natural flag of heaven, 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 purple for spirit
It is important to note that the “designer” Baker did not choose, for example, the colors red, white and blue with stars and stripes… because this design was already taken. Instead, Mr. Baker tapped deep into his “artist” ability and came up with a different copy…of something else…that had already been taken. The Rainbow.
Today, people are threatened or socially reviled for violating what is called “cultural appropriation,” which is when one group uses, disrespects, or exploits something from another. group to be used – not as intended – by the original group. Could you argue that the rainbow was appropriate?
A heavenly promise
For Christians, the rainbow is more than “a natural flag fallen from heaven”:
a weather phenomenon caused by the reflection, refraction and scattering of light in water droplets – resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky.
For Christians, the rainbow is supernatural, it is a promise of God to humanity and all creatures of the earth following the great flood, as told in the biblical book of Genesis, chapter nine , verses 13 to 15:
13 I placed my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds to earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living beings of every species. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.
Empathy should apply to all
It is therefore a big problem for the more than 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 okay. But there are millions of Americans who are not comfortable with the rainbow presented as the rallying symbol of alternative sexual lifestyles.
In 2020, The Yakima City Council voted to fly the gay pride flag at City Hall. The decision was not without controversy, raising questions such as: Should the Yakima government take advocacy positions for special interest groups? Can the City of Yakima favor the demand of one special interest group over that of another?
In May of 2022, another The Yakima City Council voted UNANIMOUSLY to no longer allow special interest flags to fly on flag poles on city buildings.
So what happened?
Just two months laterin July 2022, as TOMORROW, 7/19/22, City Council has reversed its UNANIMOUS decision and is now set to vote on a city code change that would appear to make waving a Special Interest Flag as simple as convince 4 of the 7 members of the board in office.
Here is what the code said most recently in RCW 1.20.017.
The masts of the city aare not intended to serve as a forum for the free expression of the public. Only flags specified in Section 1.13.020(A) shall be flown on city flagpoles.
In addition to the flags mentioned above, other flags or banners may be permanently or temporarily displayed outside or inside Yakima Town buildings. Other flags and banners may only be displayed after the issuance of a federal or state proclamation or resolution or mayoral proclamation. Examples include Sister City Flags, Heritage Month Flags (e.g. African American History, Asian/American Pacific History, Hispanic National Heritage, National Heritage of American/Alaskan Indians, etc.), flags received in recognition of awards, flags received from visiting groups, or flags designating an event or achievement. All flags and banners will be displayed with the authorization of the mayor as prescribed by the applicable proclamation or resolution.
A change to change
But in retrospect, is that definition loose enough to allow for a pride flag…right? So instead the advice goes accept these changes Tuesday evening:
The City of Yakima shall follow the provisions governing the display of flags as required in RCW 1.20.017.
D. The CCity Flagpoles are not intended to serve as a forum for public self-expression.
The following flags may be displayed by the City as an expression of the official sentiments of the city: ((Do 4 Council members represent the “OFFICIAL FEELINGS” of all Yakima???))
1. Flags of Governments Recognized by the United States. Flags of governments recognized by the United States may be displayed at the request of the mayor, a member of the city council, or the city manager.
2. Sister City Flags: Official Yakima Sister City Flags may be displayed in conjunction with an event involving the Sister City.
3. Guest flags: Other flags may be flown upon proclamation of Council adopted by resolution. ((Is this the green light for the multicolored flag?))
4. Flags of professional sports teams: blah, blah, blah… (sports teams??)
The correct 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 poles of the City are not intended to serve as a platform for the free expression of the public.
Council members have the honor to serve but are still members of the public. Nor were the city’s flag poles ever intended to be used as billboards for each council member’s particular cause.
If Council Member X is a strong personal supporter of the LGBTQ community or the NRA organization, or saves the whales, or stops the ice flights, or frees Brittney Spears (oh wait, she’s already been freed) but you understand. Municipal government is not a special interest organization. The job of city leaders is to develop policies for the operation of important and necessary functions of government for all residents.
Not too exciting…and not meant to be…and certainly not empowering to implement personal agendas.
Attend or watch the meeting… and we’ll talk Wednesday morning.