Charles Cooke of National Review Online laments the increasingly common display of flags other than the Stars and Stripes.

A similar problem is caused by our regrettable profligacy with other flags — which, when flown alongside the Star-Spangled Banner, have the unfortunate effect of diluting its unifying power. There is only one flag to which we all pledge allegiance, and only one flag that stands as the emblem of the Republic, and, irrespective of their intrinsic value, to display any other standard in the same array as that flag — especially at the same height — is to imply a false equivalence of the type that we ought assiduously to avoid. With its federal system, and the shared sovereignty that results, the United States has an unusual structural makeup, but its flag conveys this nuance nicely by including all 50 stars within the whole. At the state level, it is appropriate for state flags to be displayed prominently — equally, even. At the federal level, anything other than Old Glory serves as an unpleasant distraction — or worse. There, our flag is our flag is our flag, and a wonderful flag it is, too.

In the short-run, I have little hope that these twin trends will be meaningfully reversed. In order to make the case that I am advancing, one ultimately has to explain which events or flags ought not to qualify for elevation, and, in our era of perpetual offense, no politician wishes to make such a call. Presented broadly, my argument here is, “We should fly only one flag when representing the United States — and we should fly that flag at half-staff less frequently than we do.” Alas, in practice, that argument swiftly becomes, “President Edgington ought to take down the flags that his base favors, and resolve that, winsome as she surely was, the first female grain-silo operator in Nebraska is probably not worth commemorating at half-staff” — which . . . well, which is easier said than done, and which usually results in President Edgington taking the path of least resistance, opting to honor everyone and everything who walks through the door, and contributing thereby to a form of runaway “flag inflation” that leads over time to a regrettable reduction in the impact of the Stars and Stripes.