While the American flag has always been surrounded by its share of regulated stipulations (lighting it at all times, always flying it in fair weather, never letting it touch the ground), a new one has been ushered in by the state legislature of Minnesota. Effective this year, selling Chinese-made American flags within Minnesota is a crime punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a US$1,000 fine. As the Minnesota Star Tribune reports, Rep. Tom Anzelc co-sponsored the law because he thought
it was “ludicrous” and “un-American” to have U.S. flags made abroad, in countries such as China… “Real patriotism also includes valuing the work of American workers,” Anzelc said.
Another sponsor, Dem. Tom Rukavina, stated last year (when the law was passed) that “Nothing is more embarrassing to me than a plastic flag ‘made in China.’”
Adam Minter of Shanghai Scrap, who brings us this interesting new development, points out that while the legislation does not specifically target China, the vast majority of flags imported into the U.S. are made in China (see the Flag Manufacturers’ Association of America statistics here). Therefore Minter concludes:
If this was just about preserving American jobs, then the Minnesota legislature could have banned the import of other Chinese products. But they didn’t. Instead, they chose the flag – the most loaded of loaded symbols – and left it to others to decide what excluding Chinese manufacturers means in this case.
Photo by Daquella manera.