The Pahrump ordinance combines the recently-struck Hazleton policies with a new statute, referred to ominously as Section 8, which states that anyone who flies the flag of any nation other than that of the United States, without flying the U.S. flag above it, may be prosecuted. The ordinance was written to prevent protests such as those on May 1st, 2006, in which protesters of Latin American lineage proudly flied the flags of their ancestral nations as a gesture of solidarity with undocumented immigrants.
Will this law be enforced against The Who if they fly the Union Jack at a concert, or against civil war reenactors if they fly the Confederate flag? Technically it could be, but don't hold your breath. The purpose of the legislation is very clear, and--like the rest of the ordinance--it wasn't really written for caucasians.
The ordinance will face a preliminary injunction, and will be perfunctorily struck down. Everyone must have known, coming into the proceedings, that none of these policies are consistent with the Bill of Rights or with federal civil rights laws. The angry mob that supported the bill essentially conceded as much, as one local paper reports:
The ordinance once again drew both representatives of statewide organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and various concerned citizens, all of whom were responded to loudly and forcefully by sitting audience members when they took their turn at the podium.But then this ordinance was never really about creating enforceable policy anyway. It was about sending a message to the 7.63% of the town's population that identifies as Hispanic or Latino. Judging by the stunned expressions on the faces of the Hispanics in Politics representatives who attended the council meeting, that message is being heard loud and clear.
Lee Rowland, a representative of the ACLU, was booed and shouted out by the audience almost immediately upon announcing her name and organization.