Floyd County Supervisor Fred Gerald, who represents the Indian Valley District, took WSLS Channel 10 news to task recently because its news anchors aren’t wearing flag lapel pins.

In a note to WSLS, Gerald wrote:

Why do your news people no longer wear the American flag on their lapel? I think it is very unpatriotic! It is a disgrace that they can’t wear the flag on their lapel to show their support for our troops fighting and dying under that flag in Iran and Afghanistan. Is it the policy of WSLS to ban the wearing of the American flag? If so shame on WSLS!

Channel 10 News Anchor Jay Warren responded:

There is no WSLS policy on flag lapel pins. Certainly, if someone wanted to wear one they could and some have in the past. I personally don’t think wearing a pin makes someone patriotic or not. Patriotism shows itself in many different forms from serving in the military to voting to saying the Pledge of Allegiance to yes wearing a flag lapel pin. I would argue that by doing my job as a journalist, the only profession protected in the Constitution, I’m being patriotic.

Amen Jay and shame on you Fred for trivializing patriotism by equating it with a flag lapel pin that was probably made in China.

Sticking a lapel pin in a jacket or slapping a flag decal on the rear window of a pickup truck does not make one a patriot. Neither does blindly following our leaders when they take this nation down a dangerous path, as a vast majority of Americans believe the just-departed Presidential administration did in Iraq.

Patriotism is supporting our nation when it is right and questioning it when it is wrong. As Americans we should, and must, support our troops who are too often placed in harm’s way by agendas that place politics above what’s best for our nation.  But we should also support our troops by electing leaders who will get them out of harm’s way as quickly as possible when we learn they may be fighting a battle based on lies and manufactured justifications.

Politicians have, for too long,used patriotism as a tool of divisiveness, not unity. They question the patriotism of those who disagree with their narrow views of the world and use the word "unpatriotic" as intimidation against opponents, conveniently forgetting that this country was founded by patriots who stood up against the tyranny of an oppressive government.

The 4,000 plus American men and women who have died so far in Iraq and Afghanistan gave their lives as patriots serving their county. So did the 58,000 plus who died in Vietnam. And so did the four students who died protesting the Vietnam war at Kent State when they were gunned down by trigger-happy National Guardsmen on May 4, 1970.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. After 9/11 the TV networks and TV stations had their newspeople wear flag pins … to show blind support for US government policy. Some even went so far as to have pro-government statements read on the air.

    The news director at WSLS should have written a letter to Fred Gerald and included this statement: “Are members of the Floyd County government now instructing Channel 10 on how to report the news?”

  2. He owes all veterans an apology for trivializing their service through his callous use of their service to foist yet another right wing farce.

    He owes the television station an apology for accusing them of a non-existent conspiracy to keep the American flag off the air.

    He owes the residents of Floyd County an apology for bringing shame and embarrassment upon the county.

    He should step down and let the voters of his district choose an elected representative who will serve their needs and not go on wild tangents that disrespects veterans.

  3. Charles: I believe you have hit on an important point, which is that the encouragement to wear flag pins and adorn everything with flags and red white and blue decorations was more about approval and support of government policy than heartfelt patriotism. Isn’t that jingoism?

  4. As I read all these comments bashing this elected official on everything from religion to patriotism, I can only wonder, “are the people bashing him the same ones that voted him into his position in the first place?”

    No one has anything nice to say about this man, yet he won a popular vote election?

    What gives????

  5. Fred Gerald represents Indian Valley, the most conservative, Republican part of Floyd County. He is elected solely by the residents of that area. The voters who represent the majority of the county — the other four districts — cannot vote him in or out of office and the other four districts have shown more moderate voting trends in recent years.

    Times are changing, in Indian Valley. The voters in Burks Fork District, once a right-wing GOP stronghold, outsted Republican Diane Belcher in the primary in 2007 and then elected Democrat Bill Gardiner in the general election. Another longtime incumbent, Kerry Whitlock, was ousted in that primary too.

    Fred Gerald ran unopposed in 2005 and received 594 votes. That is his current plurality in a county where 4,412 votes were cast.

    I doubt he will be unopposed in 2009. I have a lot of friends in Indian Valley and they are fed up with his antics. A good candidate could defeat him.

  6. This supervisor, Fred Gerald, is an idiot. He’s the kind of person that gives the republican party the image it has to day. Yes, people should care about abortion, gay rights, war, etc. But honestly, you make yourself, myself ( I’m a republican) and in essence all republicans look stupid when you say stuff like that. Your in a public office. You represent. Your image is what other people think of when they think of republicans. For real, who cares if they where a flag pin or not? I guarantee you you don’t where a flagpin all the time, Mr. Gerald. Get over yourself.

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