This morning, I had a dream that Hillary Clinton was towing my car. She said it was a “clunker,” that it didn’t get good gas mileage, and that as much as she didn’t want to do it, President Obama was making her do so.
As I brushed my teeth and recalled having the dream, I thought for a moment that I must be losing it. Taking a spin around the Internet a few minutes ago has confirmed just that, as two very different stories have made me wonder whether or not I awoke to a bizarro world today.
First, from an Oregon television news station, we see the story of an apartment complex which has banned all display of American flags. The complex, it seems, is situated in a diverse neighborhood, and the unnamed property manager has thought it best to just ban showings of patriotism and pride in country. Here’s an excerpt:
Jim Clausen flies the American flag from the back of his motorcycle. He has a son in the military heading back to Iraq, and the flag – he said – is his way of showing support.
“This flag stands for all those people,” said Clausen, an Oaks Apartment resident. “It stands for the people that can no longer stand – who died in wars. That’s why I fly this flag.”
But to Oaks Apartment management, Clausen said, the American flag symbolizes problems.
He was told to remove the red, white and blue from both of his rides, or face eviction.
“It floored me,” he said. “I can’t believe she was saying what she was saying.”
Even long-time residents like Sharron White, who has flown a flag on her car for eight years, has been told to take it down.
White said management told her that “someone might get offended.”
“I just said to her ‘They’ll just have to get over it,’” White said.
Resident we talked to who had been approached to take down their flags all told us the same thing: that management told them the flags could be offensive because they live in a diverse community.
And then there’s this next head-scratcher, reminiscent of a story which broke yesterday about a six-year-old Cub Scout facing 45 days in a reform school for bringing a fork-spoon-and-knife tool into his school. This story, though, about a high school senior, Eagle Scout and military hopeful possibly seeing his West Point hopes dashed because of overzealous school administrators, is just as egregious and maddening. Here is video and an excerpt:
A 17-year-old Eagle Scout in upstate New York has been barred from stepping foot on school grounds for 20 days — for keeping a 2-inch pocketknife locked in a survival kit in his car.
Matthew Whalen, a senior at Lansingburgh Senior High School, says he follows the Boy Scout motto and is always prepared, stocking his car with a sleeping bag, water, a ready-to-eat meal — and the knife, which was given to him by his grandfather, a police chief in a nearby town.
But Lansingburgh High has a zero-tolerance policy, and when school officials discovered that Whalen kept his knife locked in his car, he says, they suspended him for five days — and then tacked on an additional 15 after a hearing.
Now, don’t get me wrong — I understand policies against weapons on school grounds. I certainly don’t want some pimply-faced pre-teen showing my daughter his father’s T/C Contender in the hallway between periods. However, a two-inch pocketknife locked away in a car–both belonging to an Eagle Scout who has received a commendation for saving a life and has already received basic military training–should be the least of school administrators’ concerns, right behind a rabid, ladle-brandishing lunch-lady gone wild.
Furthermore, I understand the need for an apartment complex to do what it can to keep the environment as non-divisive as possible. Landlords have a legal obligation to provide tenants with quiet enjoyment and a habitable place to live — and while that has more to do with migrating cigarette smoke and leaky faucets, I can understand erring on the side of caution. However, requiring that tenants remove American flags, especially tenants who have children overseas fighting for this country, is just insane.
All I’m asking, in these two cases and others like it, is for a little shred of common sense. If nothing else, it would allow my waking hours to make slightly more sense than those spent dozing overnight.