Gilbert, AZ 85234
The Honorable John McCain
The Honorable Jon Kyl
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable Jeff Flake
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Senator McCain, Senator Kyl, and Representative Flake:
I am a constituent of yours and am writing to point out what I consider to be a serious flaw in the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005 (Public Law No: 109-243).
As you may be aware, the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act prohibits condominium associations, cooperative associations or residential real estate management associations from restricting or preventing members of their associations from displaying the flag of the United States on residential property located within the association.
On the surface, this seems like an appropriate piece of legislation. The flag of the United States should be allowed to be displayed by anyone that wishes to do so.
However, the definitions of “members” of condominium, cooperative and residential associations, as specified in Section 2, paragraph 4 of the Act, clearly indicate that the Act only applies to owners of property.
What about the 38,363,000 households in the United States that rent their home? Don’t the 92 million residents living in rental properties deserve the same right to display the American flag that home owners enjoy?
Of course renters deserve to have their rights to fly the flag protected. I believe, or at least I hope, the exclusion of renters in the language of the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act was merely an oversight. It seems this oversight would be relatively simple to correct.
Home owners have their rights to display the flag protected, renters do not. I’d like to bring to your attention the matter of Charlie Price, a 28 year old Veteran of Iraq and Kosovo, who was almost evicted from his apartment in Oshkosh, Wisconsin for displaying the flag inside his apartment. Thankfully, after receiving “nearly 4,000 emails and thousands of phone calls” (source) Midwest Realty Management, the property management company for Mr. Price’s apartment, came to their senses and revised their policy against displaying the flag.
In Chula Vista, California, U.S. Navy reservist James Olschanger has been instructed by his apartment management that he can not fly the flag from his balcony, on Memorial Day (source).
In New Hampshire, Joe LeVangie, an 88 year old World War II veteran was told he can’t display the U.S. flag outside his apartment. The news story cites a representative from the Department of Housing and Urban Development who says the management company is complying with the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005.
These three examples of people being denied the right to fly the U.S. flag took me less than 10 minutes to discover. I suspect there are countless other examples.
As an American citizen and the son of a career U.S. Army officer who served in Korea and Vietnam, I find the thought of preventing ANYONE from flying the United States flag utterly appalling.
I urge you all to review the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, and revise the statue so that every single person living in this great country can display our flag.
I’ve sent the above letter to my Congressional representatives. If you are interested in doing the same, you can find contact info for your Senators here, and your U.S. Representative here. You are welcome to use or modify my letter in any way. A text version of the letter is available here. The Price’s have also started a Facebook Group, Freedom to Display the American Flag, which currently has 56,416 members.