Monday, August 09, 2010

Wave That Flag

The following question was asked by a fellow Playground friend,

I currently live in a theme house belonging to Gettysburg College. This house operates on a Civil War theme, and--coincidentally or not--usually houses quite a few very conservative people. I'm your basic liberal philosophy major, but I'm happy to adopt a political live-and-let-live policy most of the time. But now, somebody has decided to fly the flag co-opted by the Tea Party on the front of the house, thus seemingly indicating to passersby that the Tea Party is somehow endorsed or supported by the entire house, myself included. Of course, I am repulsed by the Tea Party.

So what do I do? Do I let it fly (the easiest course of action), and just stew quietly to myself, continuing to inhabit a house marked by the emblem of the Tea Party? Do I decide my moral responsibility to my own conscience and to tolerant people everywhere trumps legal concerns and take the flag down, thus potentially risking a spat over someone's property rights? Do I, on the contrary, turn this into a legal matter, and argue that the individual right of whatever student put up the flag to fly it is negated by the College's policies of non-discrimination? Do I take it down and abscond with it, avenging the theft of the Peace House rainbow flag of two years ago, which was, let's face it, probably perpetrated by this house (they also made off with one of the Peace House's rainbow-painted chairs, but luckily that was recovered in a later under-cover raid).

What do I do?
There's the active route of calling a house meeting and making it an issue. There's the passive-aggressive route and using one's own window to send a message in the other direction. There's the sneaky route in removing the flag. There's the defiant route in placing a symbol to the contrary next to the flag or on the other side of the entryway and letting everyone know you expect it not to be messed with. Others? What approach is the best idea?