Oh, say, can you see?
We’re seeing another one of those tempests in a teapot that we see occasionally in Reno. During Pride weekend, some maladroit removed Old Glory from the flagpole on the top of City Hall and flew the rainbow flag in its stead. Bad move. Bad optics.
But really? A glance at the city’s Facebook page shows an insane level of outrage. This is truly some inexplicable anger. Some city staffer unthinkingly followed a boss’s directions to put up the rainbow flag to raise awareness of Gay Pride weekend, just as it has been done in many places across this nation. It’s hard to imagine that whomever hung it wouldn’t have thought it odd, but let’s be real: What minion of city government has their boss’ cell phone number to call them on a Sunday? What city of Reno employee wouldn’t get their ass handed to them for second-guessing a boss’s directive or calling them on a weekend?
It’s very difficult to believe that there was any intent to offend veterans, not that veterans own the Stars and Stripes, anyway. We all own it. It’s also very difficult to imagine that the metaphor of removing one ruling flag from a battleground to replace it with another had anything to do with the exchange.
Face it, people. It was a foolish error on somebody’s part, but the idea that the mayor should be held in any way to blame for this is absurd, and unnecessary. Still, it’s an error that can be learned from.
Take a look at the red, white and blue that now waves in the summer breeze. When you compare it to other government buildings, like 911 Parr Boulevard or the downtown Reno fire station, doesn’t it seem lonely?
Most government buildings either have a separate flagpole for the state flag or have a single flagpole with the capability of flying two or more flags. In our humble role of once again being the newspaper to state the obvious, shouldn’t Reno have the United States flag above the state of Nevada flag flying above a white city of Reno logo flag with a black Reno News & Review “R” surrounded by an octagon?
As we look on Google Image Search at examples from around the nation where other communities chose to honor Pride, we see the most common way to handle the single flagpole situation is to leave the flag of the United States of America at the top. In cases where there’s a secondary flag, the flag that’s being highlighted—in this case, the rainbow flag—would take the second spot.
In places that have two flagpoles, the U.S. flag hangs by itself, the secondary flag—the Nevada flag in our case—would have the top position on the second, usually slightly shorter flagpole, then the third flag, hangs beneath it.
Some communities create a special structure upon which banners or flags can be hung, basically drilling holes in railings and attaching o-rings by which flags or banners of whatever sort can be suspended.
We’re not particularly into spending money on frivolities, but wouldn’t it make sense to buy some rope and O-rings that would at least allow the city to hang the state of Nevada flag beneath the U.S. flag on Reno City Hall? This newspaper is even willing to buy a third set of O-rings to hang a city of Reno flag emblazoned with the new RN&R-inspired logo beneath it.