LONSBERRY: NY's War On the Thin Red And Blue Line Flags


The Rochester Fire Department’s Engine 12 is quartered at a recently refurbished firehouse at East Main and Wisconsin. It is the protector of Beechwood and North Winton, a beloved neighbor, a true part of the community.

               But that doesn’t mean there aren’t complaints.

               Like the one Monday. A direct call to Car One, the fire chief.

               To report the flag.

               The Thin Red Line flag, fluttering from the big rig as it answered a call.

               That’s about white supremacy, the caller claimed, and is disrespectful to the community. It’s a sign of bigotry, an emblem of hate.

               Which is bullshit, of course, like almost everything out of the fist-in-the-air people.

               But these are unusual times, and Rochester is an unusual city, and the mayor keeps the chief on a pretty short string.

               And so it was that Car One sent out a directive to the men and women, trucks and engines, of the department. No more Thin Red Line flag. No stickers, no magnets, no waving from the back of the apparatus. Not on the rigs, not in the houses, not in this department.

               The memorial emblem of the fire service is no longer welcome.

               Because that’s how woke Rochester is. That’s how hard the mayor is clinging to the resentments and bigotries of her core group of supporters. It started with the cop haters, and the lie they tell about the Thin Blue Line flag, and it spread from there. This flag looks like that flag and the protesters who own the six o’clock news say that flag is about white supremacy.

               It’s no more complex nor substantive than that.

               But that is enough.

               And so a proud and noble department, unsurpassed in its tireless service to the community, is stripped by woke cowardice of the national emblem of its profession. It must remove a flag whose every furl is a memorial to every firefighter who has ever bled or died in the service of those in need.

               It is preposterous.

               Just like the letter the college police chief was forced to write, claiming that his profession’s symbol – the Thin Blue Line flag – had come to represent white supremacy. Or the letter the school principal was forced to sign – by his superintendent – claiming that the display of a Thin Blue Line flag in the security office had “harmed” students of color.

               It’s all bullshit.

               An effort by intolerant bigots to silence opposition as they seek to dismantle and disgrace the men and women of law enforcement and the fire service, some of the noblest and most essential people in our society. Those who want chaos will attack the protectors of order, those who want to tear down will attack those who build up.

               And sometimes they will do it from positions of power.

               Like the New York State Assembly, where a thinly veiled effort is afoot to outlaw Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line flags in fire departments, police departments and schools.

               It’s Assembly Bill A5402, which says its purpose is to ban “symbols of hate.”

“FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE TERM ‘SYMBOLS OF HATE’ SHALL

 INCLUDE, BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO, SYMBOLS OF WHITE SUPREMACY, NEO-NAZI

 IDEOLOGY OR THE BATTLE FLAG OF THE CONFEDERACY.”

That’s how self-important people write – in all caps.

                   Especially when they are dictating on other people’s lives.

 “A FIRE DISTRICT, VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANY, OR POLICE DEPARTMENT SHALL NOT SELL OR DISPLAY ANY SYMBOLS OF HATE OR ANY SIMILAR IMAGE, OR TANGIBLE PERSONAL PROPERTY, INSCRIBED WITH SUCH AN IMAGE.”

                    This isn’t about Confederate battle flags.

                    This is about Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line flags. That’s what they mean by “symbols of white supremacy.”

                    That’s why they specifically target fire and police departments.

                    Notice there’s nothing about hanging “symbols of hate” at the sewer plant or the highway department or the welfare office. A municipality’s legal department and HR office and legislative chambers are all unmentioned and thereby exempted.

                    Just fire departments and police departments and schools.

                    Because this is the Democratic Party doing the dirty work of its woke progressives. In a cross between a Salem witch hunt and the Spanish Inquisition, the Democrats who control the legislature are stamping out the symbols of the state’s first responders.

                    Decide your neighbors are your enemies, define them as evil, attack them, burn their emblems.

                    That’s Democratic America. That’s Biden’s America.

                    That’s New York State.

                    Today they come for the flags with the red stripes and the blue stripes. Tomorrow they will come for the ones that are red, white and blue.

                    And there’s nothing you can