We need a better reason than the ones currently floated to get rid of our 60-year-old city flag.
We need a better reason than the ones currently floated to get rid of our 60-year-old city flag. (Photo: Bobby Tanzilo)

Does Milwaukee really need a new flag?

Somebody somewhere needs to sit me down in a corner and explain why the City of Milwaukee needs a new flag to replace the one we’ve had for over 60 years.

I have lots of friends in the design world – both friends and colleagues and I don't want this to seem like I'm slamming any of them. But a new flag? Why?

The flags that have made it through to the "finals" of this latest competition are all real professional. They all have lots of blue, indicating our place next to a great lake. Of course, they could also all work for Racine or Sheboygan or Ashwaubenon, for that matter.

After the blue, all these designers came up with was stars and geometric shapes that are supposed to be ... something? Meanwhile, there is nothing in these new flags about our history, about the things that made Milwaukee the city it is.

The flag we have now seems to be just fine, for a flag. It bows to our history, which is kind of what a flag ought to do. I have the feeling that the new flag forces are trying to push this thing down our throats in order to match up with all the development taking place Downtown.

First of all, Milwaukee is much more than Downtown. Secondly, does changing this flag mean we are going to go through this every 20 years or so when things change in the city? That’s ridiculous. A flag takes on meaning the longer it remains The Flag.

That first stars and stripes sewn by Betsy Ross has only become more of a symbol of our country as the decades have passed. Yes, the design altered a bit with the additions of new states, but nobody ever said, "Well we have cars now, so let’s get a new flag to honor that."

One final thing is important to this whole argument.

I’m an Uber driver. And while I drive all over the city, I almost never see a Milwaukee flag on display. I drove around the city this week for two hours; I saw three flags. And City Hall was not one of those places.

My hope is that once all these design geeks get done with their precious process, ea…

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