Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln And the State of Illinois Flag
A few weeks back, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed a bill that provides for a path to create a new State of Illinois flag. Redesigning government flags has been *a thing* for a while - which can be directly traced back to this TED Talk by Roman Mars on vexillology. And....he was right: government flags are terrible - with a few exceptions. Since that TED talk, there's been a bunch of movement(s) to bring new flags forward - all of which have been signficant improvements on the previous (usually low-thought, ugly flags with writing on them).
The Illinois flag - which features the seal of the state - is one of those terrible flags. It has all the marks of a terrible flag (per Roman Mars): has too many colors, has tiny symbols that are hard to see when flying on a tall pole and (I think the worst of bad-flag sins) has writing on it.
Now...the State of Illinois has PLENTY of big and signficant problems and the state flag SHOULD be way, way, way down the list of what our elected officials need to be focusing on right now. But, I'm an optimist on this and believe that they can multi-task. Sure, there will be an easy political hit from folks saying: shouldn't these politicians be working on pensions and crime and the suffocating business climate in the state? Yeah. But, that's just because it is easier to lob assertions from the sidelines than to come up with ideas and programs that might help things. I agree that the state has problems. But, this is an easy and...frankly FUN little project for Illinois.
Will the flag that we end up getting in Illinois be a *better* flag. Most certainly. Will it be a great flag? Who knows. My bet is that we end with something that is forced to be so unoffensive and inclusive that we end up with a Big Ralph-kinda flag. An amorphous, non-offensive, define-able blob. The user-generated versions that I've seen floating around the Web already aren't that - some of them are pretty good.
I bring this up because on a recent visit to Disneyland Resort, I was reminded of the location of the State of Illinois flag that I'm pretty sure is the highest-profile display of any state flag in the country: on stage at Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln in Disneyland. See below for a zoom'd-in photo of Honest Abe Lincoln standing on stage with a pair of flags behind him: the stars-and-stripes (US Flag) and the current state of Illinois flag.
The State of Illinois flag was adopted in 1915 - well after Lincoln was gone - so that means that the Imagineers at Disneyland Park aren't clinging to an accurate, historical artifact. The Illinois flag that they are displaying at Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln wasn't around with Abe.
Which leads me to believe that....if/when the State of Illinois adopts a new state flag, job NUMBER ONE will be getting Disneyland to swap out the old (current) flag on stage with animatronic Abe Lincoln with the new (to-be-designed-and-approved) flag that is coming forward.
What's next? Someone (hint, hint) needs to tackle the Downers Grove flag, too.