Now that the whole flag controversy at Hampshire College is finally over, it is time to access the fallout, both positive and negative. Let's start with the....
The Flag - Old Glory hasn't gotten this much attention in these parts since the town of Amherst refused to fly the flags downtown on the anniversary of 9/11. (Amherst also ultimately surrendered and allowed the flags to fly).
Hampshire Student Recruitment Efforts - Barnum was right, there is no such thing as bad publicity. Hampshire's refusal to fly the flag turned the school, a small, relatively obscure private college, into a household name. In households with teenage Social Justice Warriors in them, Hampshire can now expect to receive a flood of applicants impressed by their flag rebellion. But beware SJWs, most Hampshire kids are actually more hipster than politically oriented and the flag haters are definitely in the minority.
Local Pols - What politician can resist a chance to defend the flag? It is the safest possible way to express outrage, and can be done in full knowledge that over 90% of the public agrees with them, thereby allowing them to stand on principle with almost no risk of politically alienating any voters that matter. Among the dignitaries in attendance, District Attorney David Sullivan was no surprise, he's been drifting rightward for some times now. His appearance at the flag rally comes right after extensively hitting the lecture circuit in a failed attempt to prevent the legalization of marijuana. One speaker who did raise eyebrows was Springfield Mayor Dom Sarno, who is otherwise rarely seen this side of the tofu curtain. Is this the start of an attempt to broaden his political base for a future run for a higher office? Richie Neal can't hold that seat forever!
Larry Kelley - His blog is a model of hyper-local citizen journalism at its best, and over the years Kelley has led numerous crusades on behalf of more flag waving. Last week's rally must have felt like Woodstock to him.
Hampshire President Johnathan Lash - There has been no up side to this for the embattled college president, whose poor judgement in removing the flag in the first place plunged his school into a nationwide firestorm of negative publicity. Despite improved recruitment of social justice types (see above) the school has also made a lot of enemies it never had before, enemies who probably can't be appeased until Lash is shown the door.
The First Amendment - Um, amidst all the shouting, let's not forget that both the praising and burning of flags are equally protected free speech under the First Amendment, okay?
Higher Education - This incident plays right into the narrative that our colleges and universities have degenerated into absurdly expensive political correctness indoctrination camps that leave their graduates woefully unprepared for real life.
Real Problems - While this brouhaha hogged all the headlines, much more serious concerns were being ignored. Let's salute the flag and get back to work!