Did Sarah Palin Disrespect the Stars and Stripes?

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Swampland alum KT pointed out to a few of us this weekend something we’d missed in the already much-discussed Sarah Palin video that followed the Tucson shooting: the American flag placed behind Palin to add a presidential air to the recording is on the wrong side.

Big deal, you say? Actually, yeah. The U.S. Flag code was passed by Congress nearly 70 years ago to provide exact rules for the use and display of the Stars and Stripes. One of the many rules dictates the positioning of the flag relative to a speaker:

When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman’s or speaker’s right as he faces the audience.

Google any politician’s official portrait and you’ll see that the flag is always to their right. I did this with Sarah Palin and was amused to find that even SNL’s famous Tina Fey skits have the flag on the right side of “Palin’s” podium.

This isn’t the first time Palin has run afoul of the U.S. Flag Code.She caused a mini-uproar last fall when she casually autographed a supporter’s American flag at a Tea Party rally. And of course there was the photo from Palin’s spread in Runner’s World, which had her leaning on a flag draped over a stool. Will any of these flag infractions matter to Palin’s fans? Of course not. But maybe, just maybe, during the next campaign we could all be spared the ridiculous debates over doctored photos of Democrats putting the “wrong” hand over their heart while saluting the flag or uproar over whether Obama should wear a flag pin wherever he goes.

I know–fat chance. But a girl can dream.

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