What Magnus can do with his pole | VailDaily.com

What Magnus can do with his pole

Don Rogers
Daily Managing Editor

Magnus Lindholm is unlikely to take down that good idea gone way, way overboard. Hope this isn’t a surprise. Colorado’s biggest flag will yet wave from that 12-story purplish pole, like it or not. Mules don’t budge.

Besides, make no mistake, plenty of people rather like that super-sized display on the Eagle-Vail side of the big box shopping center. But none who happen to live in the shadow of this now dominant skyline fixture, mind you.

The universal understanding that would follow if this were, say, a billboard is lost in confusion for some people between a strain of rather jingoistic pride in sheer size and the apparently arcane values of being a good neighbor.

I’m pretty sure that Lindholm is dead wrong about how a vote on his pole would turn out. I think lots of folks outside the immediate neighborhoods get it ” enough so that he’d lose that election handily. Being a true American includes that famous sense of fairness, proportion and dignity that’s entirely missing in Magnus’ red, white and blue on steroids.

I don’t expect Lindholm to realize that whether or not he’d win a majority vote in the Vail Valley for his pole, he’s blown it. A significant enough number of citizens clearly are disturbed, not pleased. Patriotism for them is most definitely not measured by the size of one’s flag, or pole. And they are true Americans, too, plenty of whom fought in wars for our great country.

Lindholm has blown it because he’s taken a symbol of unity and without so much as warning his neighbors, he stuck up that pole near the edge of his property, right in their faces. Salute this …

That’s sowing divisiveness, not bringing us together. And he did it with our own flag. Whatever you think about flag displays personally, this if-you-don’t-like-it-tough “patriotism” is a little tragic. Something more honorable ” not to mention unifying ” could have been achieved with a little more thought, and thoughtfulness.

So what should Magnus do from here? Well, his giant pole is up. I say leave it up for the party July 3. Fly that giant flag with all the fanfare that can be mustered, sing your songs, speak your speeches, serve up your free wieners. Then announce you are taking it down because, oops, your intended effect of delighting the Vail Valley didn’t quite go over as you had hoped. And after all, the American flag should never be used to divide a community.

Since it just so happens that community leaders these days are planning a true memorial to Americans who put themselves in harm’s way and to our country’s values at Berry Creek, Lindholm should offer his display there. Even more people could see his tribute to his adopted country, and he would free himself of the nagging sense that this might be more crass ode to commercialism than something intended to inspire our best impulses.

Now, if for some reason the planners of Freedom Park ” or a public allowed a say about this display of their country’s flag ” also find that the size of Magnus’ pole is a bit much, then commit to contributing in other ways.

This intended gesture to patriots has sowed too much ill will instead. There are much, much better ways to pay tribute.

At the Village at Avon, almost anything other than what he actually did would have been very well received. Rows of smaller flags; a regular-sized display that works well enough for post offices, schools and government buildings; a park with plaques. Scholarships, contributions to community events and displays extolling American values. This list could go on and on.

Out of everything he could do to foster patriotism, Lindholm clumsily fastened on exactly the worst one. That’s a shame.

The developer would have earned kudos instead of the scorn he has reaped by failing to consider anyone beyond himself, sorry to say.

I don’t follow with the revenge-oriented “solutions” to his profound tone deafness with it comes to American values, though.

A boycott, besides being doomed to immediate failure, is misdirected, in my view. It’s not The Home Depot or Wal-Mart’s fault they lease from a fellow who doesn’t get it.

Fighting future proposals in the development on the merits of the flagpole is likewise misguided. I know there is a small core of folks who just hate everything Magnus, and the flag is just one more weapon to use. I think they sap credibility from the flagpole protest, and in their way demean what our flag stands for.

I’m not saying forget, though. Lindholm has indeed made quite a declaration by taking his freedom to do pretty much what he wants and coming up with this. Consideration, sensitivity and sense of proportion clearly are not strengths with this fellow or his company.

He could make an even more telling declaration by taking that pole down and to in fact show some real patriotism. Americans actually are a pretty forgiving bunch.

Unless they are dealing with mules.

Managing Editor Don Rogers can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 600, or editor@vaildaily.com

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