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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Editorial: The flaws of a flag for every classroom

    The Arizona Legislature always seems to have enough energy to waste on foolishness.

    In an era in which public education from kindergarten to college is suffering from a death grip by blue-blooded leaders who openly decry the value of spending tax money on teaching, there seems to be limitless time, energy and money to put toward hubris, stupidity and the pursuit of the inane.

    Amid budget cuts, historical tuition hikes and program closures – all excruciating, tangible crises – legislators have put their fingers on the root of UA’s ills: the lack of patriotism on campus.

    With such looming financial problems at the UA, legislators – ever reticent to pay for anything new on campus – now want to force the UA to figure out how to pay for a U.S. flag in every classroom.

    Apparently, the U.S. and Arizona flags that fly in front of Old Main and grace Arizona Stadium and McKale Center aren’t enough of a reminder of the heritage and history of the U.S. More must be done to imbue the citizenry of this campus with the important lessons of patriotism. And it all starts with flags.

    Leading the charge in this clash of ardent patriots versus the godless, liberal ways of wayward college campuses is Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa. Spurred by a former UA student’s request for flags, Pearce rejects President Peter Likins belief that the costs and logistics of such a measure would be prohibitive.

    Likins has quickly been cast as the educated elitist ever averse to outward displays of patriotism. But in reality, Likins is responding to this latest odyssey of idiocy with the resolve and intelligence one would expect from a good leader.

    The sheer volume of cash needed to buy a flag for each of the hundreds of classrooms on campus would cost the UA in professors and class sizes, which are respectively dwindling and ballooning at unprecedented rates. The “”pittance”” that Pearce called the cost of a $5 or $10 flag is simply too much to pay.

    Add to that the cost of maintenance and security on the flags, and you’ve got a recipe for fiscal failure.

    Comments have been made by Tyler Mott, the former UA student who began the crusade, that once the legislation is passed, the UA could seek private donors to cover the costs of the flags. This response is illogical and begs the question as to whether the government should be involved in the first place.

    If Mott and Pearce want flags in the classroom, they should raise the funds themselves and help pay the overtime for facilities and maintenance employees who would have to work to ensure that each flag flew.

    For conservative legislators constantly casting themselves as being in favor of limited government, this flag forcing issue smacks of hypocrisy.

    There’s undoubtedly a great deal of value in having public displays of the flag at the UA. No one would fault a public institution for representing its tax base – and more importantly its country – with displays of patriotism.

    But the true question legislators should be asking when this bill comes before the appropriations committee is whether the initiative is a priority.

    This university first and foremost needs money for more professors. It needs money invested in better advising and smaller classes. It needs money to make sure that every student graduates on time. The list goes on and on.

    It doesn’t need money for empty gestures and symbols that pay lip service to patriotism. It doesn’t need a flag in every classroom.

    There seems to be a disease of empty patriotism running rampant today. Is it patriotic to demand that a flag be flown in every classroom at the UA? The answer is dubious at best.

    However, a far more patriotic and forceful act would be for the legislature to buck up and pay good money for education, which strikes at the very heart of the American dream.

    Opinions Board

    Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Lori Foley, Caitlin Hall, Michael Huston, Ryan Johnson, Aaron Mackey, and Tim Runestad.

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