County commissioner questions U.S. mourning of late queen

Melanie Bacon is disgruntled by the White House’s choice of mourning a late British leader.

At least one Island County commissioner is disgruntled by the White House’s choice of mourning a late British leader.

During a regular meeting last week, Commissioner Melanie Bacon criticized President Joe Biden’s decision to mourn Queen Elizabeth II by flying the American flag at half-mast for 11 days.

“For me, that’s kind of a slap in the face for what we did back there in 1776 and so on,” she said, referencing the independence from Great Britain that the U.S. won long ago.

She acknowledged that others she has spoken to about this annoyance were “appalled” and “horrified.”

“I haven’t heard anybody except me express this, anywhere in the whole country,” she said. “I haven’t heard anyone say, ‘What the hell are we doing flying a flag at half-mast for the Queen of England for 11 days?’”

Friends of hers have said it is about recognizing their British heritage. In response, Bacon pointed out that it is currently Hispanic Heritage Month and said Florida’s governor “kidnapped” Venezuelan migrants and sent them to Martha’s Vineyard.

“Someday I hope we will recognize what it is to be American to such a degree where we treasure the heritage of every single country that we came from so that maybe if a beloved president of Mexico dies, for example, we choose to fly the flag at half mast for 11 days for the death of this beloved president of Mexico,” she said.

She added that the decision “sparks” of racism for her.

Commissioner Jill Johnson pointed out that the British Monarchy flew their flag at half mast when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

“I hear you,” Johnson said, “and 11 days feels excessive to be grieving a leader that was not ours, but in fairness their country has lowered their flag in honor of presidents that have died in the United States.”

Bacon said she “would have been cool with” the U.S. flag flying at half-mast just for the day of the queen’s internment.

Commissioner Janet. St. Clair said she recalled the White House lowering its flag for former South African President Nelson Mandela.

“I don’t disagree that we have many roots and out of many roots a mighty oak will grow and that is America,” St. Clair said.