On Sunday, June 24, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) marched in Chicago’s annual Gay Pride Parade. Congresswoman Schakowsky informed me this was about the 30th time she has attended the event.
After speaking with the congresswoman briefly about the incident at the White House last week, that involved invited gay rights activist who photographed themselves giving a painting of President Ronald Reagan the middle finger, I noticed a large American flag displayed prominently on the front of her float. One problem with Jan’s show of patriotism during the extravagant parade of LGBT pride, however, was that Congresswoman Schakowsky’s display of the stars and stripes was in complete violation of the United States Flag Code.
As seen in the photo of the float, the U.S. flag is draped over the hood of the vehicle (not flying from a staff), underneath the rainbow flag (the gay flag or now often recognized as the LGBT flag).
According to the U.S. Code Title 36 Chapter 10 §175, there were many violations by Congresswoman and her staff with respect to displaying the flag. (Violations of Congresswoman Schakowsky’s parade float are highlighted in red in the U.S. Code Text listed below–unrelated items deleted.)
§175. Position and manner of display
The flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag’s own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
(a) The flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade except from a staff, or as provided in subsection (i) of this section.
(b) The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.
(c) No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for the personnel of the Navy. No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession thereof: Provided, That nothing in this section shall make unlawful the continuance of the practice heretofore followed of displaying the flag of the United Nations in a position of superior prominence or honor, and other national flags in positions of equal prominence or honor, with that of the flag of the United States at the headquarters of the United Nations.
(e) The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.
(f) When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the United States flag’s right.
(i) When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.
Congresswoman Schakowsky is no stranger to controversy regarding the American flag. Last fall the congresswoman spoke and took part in a march that began outside of a Mortgage Bankers Association dinner at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Chicago. The march fed into four other large feeder marches in an effort coordinated by Occupy Chicago and several labor unions. Not one American flag was present in the march that Congresswoman Schakowsky took part in. After questioning the congresswoman whether or not the march was patriotic and why she didn’t think there were any U.S. flags present, she told me, it was patriotic, and she didn’t know there weren’t any flags, “but I’m wearing red, white and blue,” she said.
Following those questions, upon arrival at the rendezvous point for the other marches, the congresswoman made a point to take a photo with one of her fellow travelers carrying a large U.S. flag and posted it to her Facebook page in a quick attempt to minimize any scrutiny that would arise from her participation in a protest march void of any U.S. flags.
It is not clear whether or not that incident prompted the congresswoman to display the flag on her float in this years Gay Pride Parade for the first time or if she has in the past, but it is clear, this U.S. congresswoman as well as her staff sadly have no basic respect for Old Glory.