Call it the greatest irony of political correctness; in their effort to avoid upsetting someone, PC proponents often manage to offend almost everyone.
The latest example comes from Gaffney, South Carolina. After learning that a local Marine, Lance Corporal Christopher Fowlkes, had died from injuries received in Afghanistan, some residents began placing small American flags along the street where his grandparents lived.
They also placed flags along the route that would be followed by the hearse bearing Corporal Fowlkes' remains. Brenda Earls, who led the effort, said the flags were placed along the right-of-way, not on the property of residents or local businesses.
Shortly after completing her task, Ms. Earls noticed that flags were missing in front of a local Bank of America branch. She was also confronted by a bank manager, who told her that flags were not allowed for fear of "offending a customer." The branch manager, Brandy Tate, cited "bank policy" as the basis for her decision.
As you might expect, more than a few Gaffney residents were angered by the bank's decision. And, on Monday night, the outrage extended to the Cherokee County Council, which voted to close local government accounts with Bank of America. As the Spartanburg Herald-Journal reports:
"I feel we should take a stand and deposit the money in other banks as deemed appropriate by the county administration and treasurer," said Councilman Quay Little.
Little went a step further, saying he felt other elected officials who work with groups or boards should follow suit, receiving the support of all council members but one.
Councilman Rufus Foster abstained.
"I'm a former board member of that bank, and I'm on some boards at church and other groups, and I don't think I can make that decision for them," he said.
During the council meeting, Clerk Doris Pearson received a telephone call from the local vice president of Bank of America, responding to Councilman Bailey Humphries' request for information on the bank's policy regarding the flag issue [council members had previously questioned why B of A did not display the flag, like other local businesses).
Humphries read the message, stating the local bank officer said the flags would be flying at both branches by today.
Councilman Charles Mathis asked about the costs or fees of closing accounts and opening more at a different bank, saying any current accounts should be closed in a timely manner.
Other residents are calling for the dismissal of Ms. Tate, but that strikes us as excessive. Besides, the manager was supposedly following company directives, and someone needs to find out what that policy is. Readers will note that B of A's local VP tap-danced around the issue of flag displays, when pressed by members of the county council.
It is stunning to think that a flag display, created for a Marine who died in combat, would be offensive to anyone. But such are the times we live in. In its headlong rush towards political correctness, Bank of America showed its true colors, banning flags that honored a fallen warrior.
Something tells us Cherokee County won't be the only organization--or individuals--who end their association with B of A. Certainly, the bank has a right to decide what can (and cannot) be displayed on its property. Just as the good people of Cherokee County have the right to close their accounts and bank somewhere else.