Flags of our fathers

Sen. Jay Collins

Jay Collins (photo, right) is an American hero.

A career Army sergeant and Green Beret, he returned to duty after losing a leg in combat (see his bio here).

Collins, a Republican, was elected to Florida’s state senate in the state’s 2022 “red wave.” The first-termer is among many Republicans seeking to micromanage classrooms, emphasizing censorship of teachers, librarians, and students.

For example, one of his colleagues introduced a bill that would make it illegal for schoolgirls to mention their periods (see story here). That bill also declares there’s no such thing as a transgender person. If a law says so, that makes it so.

One of the knocks on Florida is that it’s flat as a pancake. Another is its governor, but I digress. Until now, the only way Florida could get a mountain is if Disney built one. But that might change after they run Disney out of the state. It’s at least as easy to decree mountains into existence as transgender people out of existence, so they could spend their energy on something constructive by wishing some mountains into existence. It would help tourism after Disney leaves.

The main reason Florida teachers now have GOP political correctness police looking over their shoulders is Republicans’ hatred of LGBQT people, especially transgender kids. That’s what’s behind a flag bill specifying which flags can be flown on public property. The bill is meant to be exclusionary; its wording goes, “A governmental entity and its officers and employees may expose to public view only the following flags in and on the grounds of public buildings and other public properties: …” (read the entire bill here).

If a flag isn’t on the list, it’s illegal to display it anywhere in Florida except on federal or private property. On the list: Russia’s, China’s, and Iran’s flags, and the Confederate flag. Not on the list: Black Lives Matter and Pride flags. Which is the whole idea of the bill.

In case you’ve never heard of Black Lives Matter, it’s a peaceful protest movement that sprang up after a white cop murdered a black man named George Floyd in Minneapolis, and its goal is to end police lynchings of black people through police reforms. Republicans have equated it to a terrorist organization.

As for Pride flags and symbols, Florida Gov. DeSantis (who wants to be president, but has no social skills, read that story here) has already banned rainbows from Florida classrooms, kids’ lunchboxes, and the sky above Florida school buildings (see article here), motivated by his party’s hatred of gay people .

How did the Confederate flag get into the flag bill? State Sen. Jay Collins put it there. When reporters called his office for an explanation, his press flak spokesperson said the amendment was a “draft” that had been “filed by mistake” (read story here). Believing this requires a belief that the phrase, “(j) The flag of the Confederate States.” either typed itself or was typed by clumsy fingers. That’s quite a suspension of belief.

This obviously is a case of another Republican politician backtracking when caught pandering to the GOP’s secessionist base (i.e., the folks who talk about another civil war, and tried to violently overthrow our elected government on Jan. 6, 2021). I’m not saying Sen. Collins was at the Capitol riot; I have no reason to believe he’s anything other than a loyal, patriotic American who thinks our country has two flags.

Photo below: Flag room in Florida state capitol building

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