Friday, June 8, 2012 at 5 a.m.
Earlier this week, Lake Park town commissioners struck down Earl Stewart Toyota's proposal to erect a 340-foot flagpole along U.S. 1. What a bunch of babies. Among the reasons cited for denying the proposal were traffic and noise concerns.
So instead of a hulking display of American awesomeness, the commissioners suggested the auto dealer install an insultingly short 50-footer. But real Americans know that this is just the latest attack on flagpole freedom in a long-running battle that has left the U.S. devoid of record-setting patriotism.
It's not that we don't have the engineering chops to let Old Glory fly free at such an awe-inducing apex.
In fact, the five tallest flagpoles in the Guinness Book of World Records have all been built and installed by a U.S. company, Trident Support. The problem is that Trident's flagpoles listed in Guinness bear the polychromatic pennants of countries like Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Jordan -- not the U.S. We're no where close to having a record-setting flagpole.
Criticisms of Stewart's proposed pole, which wouldn't have come close to Tajikistan's 540-foot current record-setter, were swift and stupid.
The most repeated critique is that Stewart isn't doing this out of patriotism or a true desire to memorialize 9/11 rescue workers, as he has stated. Rather, he's doing it to promote his dealership. Well, duh.
The American flag is a great brand builder. Just ask Rep. Allen West, who was willing to violate federal law
for an underwater photo op with the stars and bars.
Anyway, Stewart has already said the whole fiasco is a self-serving promotion, one that he's willing to spend $800,000 on fulfilling.
Other critics have put forth the argument that such a mighty pole would somehow mar the natural landscape.
This line of reasoning might hold some weight if Stewart were looking to plop the thing in the middle of Big Cypress National Preserve. But as it stands, U.S. 1 is nothing but lanes of traffic flanked by sprawling strip malls doing whatever they can to lure in customers. A flag big enough to eclipse the sun seems like a natural fit.
Fortunately, Stewart doesn't seem to care that the commission rejected the plan. He intends to move forward and install his 343-foot-tall pole-- a foot for every 9/11 rescue worker who died.
It's best for everyone if he just drops the 9/11 schtick and set his flag-flying ambitions on the world record. A true patriot would stick it to Tajikistan and build a 600-foot flagpole.
America, fuck yeah.