Ignorance really is not bliss...at least for everyone affected by it. It's a shame that people who broke the law to access the benefits of living in the U.S. further abused citizens by flying the U.S. flag upside-down and hoisting at a public school the Mexican flag above the U.S. flag. Should anyone be surprised that honest, taxpaying citizens feel more than a bit touchy about seeing the Mexican flag alongside the U.S. flag? Notwithstanding our natural "touchiness," it hardly justifies the foolish few who have pressured museum trustees into making a poor decision to remove the Mexican flag from Sonoran Desert Museum premises resulting in no flags flown.
Even though politicians are known for playing on the ignorance of the people as in the case of the Bush-Gore vote count where ignorance of election processes and laws still leads many Democrats to ridiculous conclusions, the Desert Museum situation demonstrates that many are capable of exercising their ignorance all on their own.
According to the US Code for treatment of the flag, "the flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution." The Desert Museum doesn't receive direct tax support, so it is not a public institution and is not required to fly a flag. I suppose it could be argued that since it does exist on county land in a very favorable arrangement the museum could be pressed to fly the flag, but it would be a stretch to demand it. Of course, most would think that any organization that serves the community would also show that it's a part of the community by flying the U.S. flag, which is probably at least part of the reason they always did it.
As for proper display:
"§175. Position and manner of display
(c) No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America... No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession thereof..."
The next section seems a bit contradictory:
"(g) When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace."
As seen in the olympics, sporting events, etc., it appears that the statement about flying flags at equal height has been widely accepted for many years. And since this is an issue of representing interests over a common geographic area that crosses an international border, and the two flags merely illustrate that defined area, flying the Mexican flag to the left of the U.S. flag at equal heights seems perfectly appropriate.
For concerned citizens, this morning when I called the Desert Museum I was told that the flags were back up and flying appropriately as stated in the U.S. code.
Thank you trustees for getting the answers and making a wise decision.