Commentary: GOP pettiness over anthem protocol is astonishing

October 05, 2013|By Dan Chmielewski

One of the great things about social media is it eliminates the echo chamber that often exists in political circles.

And last week, a Facebook post of a photo from the most recent Irvine City Council meeting by FlashReport blogger Jon Fleischman, a Republican political consultant and official with the California Republican Party, sought to belittle the progressives on the council but had quite the opposite effect.

Fleischman's post that Irvine council members Beth Krom and Larry Agran failed to place their hands over their hearts during the playing of the national anthem got 66 shares on Facebook and nearly 250 likes.


Fleischman wrote: "If you need to know a key difference between Republicans and Democrats, I submit this photo as Exhibit A. I took this photo while a harpist was playing a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem. The Republicans are the three Councilmembers in the center. The Democrats are on the right and left. Notice something different?"

Apparently, when it comes to Orange County Republicans, it's fashionable to equate hand position with patriotism. It's also obvious that by snapping the photo, the one demonstrating a lack of respect for the national anthem is Fleischman himself.

Responding to a call of pettiness on Fleischman's part, Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Lalloway tweeted back "respect." In light of Lalloway's recent call for respect from his fellow council members at this same meeting, perhaps he ought to display some himself. The suggestion that Krom and Agran don't respect the flag is wrong and disrespectful.

Etiquette toward our flag during the pledge of allegiance and national anthem has evolved over many years.

It wasn't until 1998 that placing one's hand over one's heart became standard protocol during the playing of the "The Star-Spangled Banner." In 2008, non-uniformed military, which includes Agran, could salute during the anthem. Fleischman's criticism belittles entire generations of Americans taught that simply standing at attention and facing the flag is more than enough respect during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Here's the actual U.S. policy:

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