Hundreds of rainbow Pride flags planted in the lawn around Fairhaven Town Hall were removed, not once but twice last week. One hundred flags were stuck in the grass on Wednesday night but were removed by a town employee first thing Thursday morning. The flags were to be part of Sunday's Pride rally. Two hundred replacement flags were placed on Saturday night and mysteriously disappeared by morning.

Angry Pride rally attendee Crystal Cruz, upset by what had happened, told WBSM News that the government in Fairhaven "systemically perpetuates oppression." She also seemed to refer to Fairhaven as a "hate-filled community." Wow! That's quite a mouthful and a quantum leap. Has anyone introduced this kid to the book How To Win Friends and Influence People? Yikes!

I don't know why the flags were removed from the ground the first time. Someone mentioned to me in passing that there is no formal policy about this sort of thing; there is only one adopted last year in regards to flags flying on the flagpole. The second time it happened could have been a prank or simply vandalism. Whatever happened to the flags, I think Ms. Cruz owes the people of Fairhaven an apology for her childish response to the matter.

I also think that governments at all levels should never have begun the practice of allowing special interests to fly flags on government property in the first place. No flags should be flown other than the American flag, the state flag, and a flag representing the community. Period. Once you grant special interests permission to fly a flag for their cause, you open a Pandora's box. When you allow one group to do it, it becomes difficult to deny others.

My position has nothing to do with my views on gay rights, which I happen to support. It has to do with using government property to promote a cause, something I do not endorse. I have a feeling, however, that Fairhaven selectmen will get weak in the knees over this one and collapse like a house of cards.

If you want to fly a flag in support of Pride Month, by all means, do it – on your own property.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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