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For some reason, the flag became the issue…

Peter Blake and Steve Dicterow both made this observation on Fox News. But there is no mystery, as far as I’m concerned, about what led up to the chaotic Council meeting on April 16. At the previous meeting, Jennifer Zeiter asserted that anyone who did not like the new police car color scheme or the flag-themed decal was blinded by hatred of the President. That became a featured quote in a story that ran in the Daily Pilot, which was quickly picked up by Fox News, where they know a “War on Christmas” opportunity when they see one.

When Blake and Dicterow were interviewed by Fox, they had a chance to stand up for a community that is clearly and overwhelmingly patriotic and pro-police. They had a chance to point out that no one – including those who found the decal design “aggressive” – was anti-flag or anti-cop. That kind of leadership would have spared us from a trumped-up spectacle that held us up to national ridicule and further divided us from one another.

If you thought the evening jumped the shark when a piercing, anonymous soprano from who knows where burst into The Star-Spangled Banner, you’re forgetting that Jim Gilchrist showed up to speak his piece. Remember him? It’s been 13 years since he and his Minutemen tried to sue their way into the Patriots Day Parade. Hometown heroes like my brother Charlie stood firm against this attempt to hijack our annual celebration of patriotism for political purposes. The vigilantes lost in court in 2006. On April 16, they won and our community lost. 

Chris Quilter

Laguna Beach