The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

American Flag Trumped by City Council

Posted by iusbvision on February 18, 2007

Last month Donald Trump was confronted by the citizens of West Palm Beach, Florida for flying a 15 by 25 foot flag on top of an 80 foot flagpole at his newest hot spot club. The citizens of West Palm Beach argue he was violating zoning guidelines with a flagpole taller than 42 feet.  In order to fly a flag on a pole taller than 42 feet, Trump should have got a permit.

In an interview with Trump by Tom Gibson on Fox News, Trump stated, “I’m very proud of the country, and I don’t want to take down the American flag. And I don’t believe you need permits to put up the American flag.” This is an interesting issue as it raises an age old issue involving freedom of speech and expression. The constitution states “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech” and yet the restriction in height appears to offend Trump’s expression of his patriotism. In his lawsuit, Trump defends himself “A smaller flag and pole on Mar-A-Lago’s property would be lost given its massive size, look silly instead of make a statement, and most importantly would fail to appropriately express the magnitude of Donald J. Trump’s and the Club’s members’ patriotism.”

According to an article by USA today, Trump’s accumulated fine totals $17,500, which is $250 for each day of his permit violation. Interestingly, there appears no strong rationale behind the law regarding no height taller than 42 feet – and the most common defense against Trumps expression is “He should have obeyed the law and got a permit.”  In an interview with CNN’s Nancy Grace, Trump states, “I inquired about a permit, but they told me they would deny my request, so why should I waste my time applying”?   However, if there is no rationale behind the requirement of a permit in this situation, then it appears logical to allow him the expression his own speech on his property. This excludes potentially harmful or damaging speech.

There has yet to be a clear explanation as to why the size of the flag and pole has such stringent zoning policies. Until this is made clear, Trump has a very strong case involving his freedom to express his patriotism. It does not appear that Trump was simply trying to avoid paying for a permit, as per his previous statements. As per the premise of the constitution one should applaud Trump’s convictions to stand up for what he believes in despite legal pressures even if he turns out to be in the wrong.

Trump summarized his stance on this issue very well, “The day you need a permit to put up the American flag; that will be a sad day for this country.”

Craig Chamberlin

3 Responses to “American Flag Trumped by City Council”

  1. Mike H said

    They should make a Constitutional amendment saying that you can fly an American flag anywhere you want.

  2. ME said

    They did, it is called freedom of speech.

  3. Rashida Vindic said

    =) That was good!

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