Huntington Beach Stands For Unity With Flag Measure

On Super Tuesday last week, voters in Huntington Beach, a traditionally conservative enclave in progressive Southern California, took a firm stand for national unity and community values. The approval of Measure B, which limits flags flown on city property to those representing the nation, state and local government, sends a clear message — Huntington Beach values unity over division.

With a solid 58% majority, the citizens of the Orange County city have demonstrated their commitment to a common American identity. The measure, conceived by Councilman Pat Burns, stipulates that only the U.S. flag, the State of California flag, the County of Orange flag, the City of Huntington Beach flag, the POW-MIA flag, and the six Armed Forces flags, along with the Olympic flag during the Summer Olympic Games, are to adorn city property.

Reflecting on the decision, Councilman Burns emphasized that the measure aims to transcend identity politics, which he views as inherently divisive. “I’m against the identity politics; I think it’s divisive,” Burns remarked, expressing his belief that such politics erode the fabric of community unity. He champions the idea that all community members are valued equally, a principle deeply embedded in the ethos of Huntington Beach.

The measure’s approval also revises last year’s ordinance, allowing for the potential approval of other flags by a unanimous City Council vote, ensuring that any exception is thoroughly vetted and genuinely representative of the entire community.

Critics, particularly from LGBT advocacy groups, have voiced dissatisfaction, claiming the measure sends a negative message. Peg Corley, president of the LGBTQ Center OC, expressed concerns that the measure aims to diminish the visibility and audibility of LGBT individuals in the city. However, the vote reflects a broader consensus among Huntington Beach residents, who advocate for a unifying symbol over individual banners representing specific causes or identities.

Other cities nationwide, from Michigan to New York and Connecticut, have adopted similar policies, each seeking to emphasize unity and shared values over individual causes. Huntington Beach joins this growing trend, prioritizing the collective community identity over separate entities.

According to its supporters, the measure is not about silencing voices but reinforcing a shared identity. By flying flags representing the whole community and the nation, Huntington Beach asserts a collective identity that transcends individual differences.

In a time when division seems all too common, the citizens of Huntington Beach have chosen unity. Measure B is more than a regulation on flag displays; it’s a statement about the city’s values and commitment to a unified community identity. While debates over such measures are sure to continue, the message from Huntington Beach is clear: In unity, there is strength.