To show her patriotism, a woman displays the US flag in her front apartment window. Apartment complex told her no colored drapes are to be displayed. Her position, “it was not a drape. It’s the American flag.” Apartment complex disagrees and files for eviction. She is so strong in her belief she is ready (not willing) to move. What party is in the wrong here?
I think both of them could be. Well, at least according to the United Sates “Flag Code” they are. Section 8, subsection (d)
“The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.”
So, she’s wrong. She has used it has drapery. It has not been allowed to fall free. Good job apartment people. Way to stand up and respect the US Flag! Not so fast. The apartment complex may also in the wrong here. The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 prohibits:
“a condominium, cooperative, or real estate management association from adopting or enforcing and policy or agreement that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag in accordance with the Flag Code on residential property to which the member has a separate ownership interest.”
Keeping score? That’s Apartment 2 – Renter 0. (Steve, you’ve lost track. She won that point!) Nope. Sorry. She is a renter and is not included in this code. You can’t use the flag as a drape and have no right to display as a renter if against the complex rules.
The management company did offer a compromise to keep her from being evicted. They will install a flag pole in front of her apartment for her! (Her original request when she moved in….. Six years ago!)
What are the lessons to be learned from all of this?
- Americans, even with patriotism in their hearts, can disrespect the US Flag in ways we may not realize.
- We also can let our pride stand in the way of common sense. This apartment complex was ready to kick out a six-year customer! What’s the cost of a flag pole vs. finding and keeping a new tenant?
- News reporters made the apartment complex look like the bad guy, even though they were in their legal rights. The article should be titled “Local women unknowingly disrespected US Flag and risks eviction.”
We have all found ourselves on one side of an argument. Even when we think we are in the right, let’s take a step back and see if the other side may have a point. Most of us will find there may a middle ground where both can stand.