At least two North Carolina state employees are facing disciplinary action following the flying of a large, unsanctioned “Trump 2020” flag atop their ferry vessel according to Fox News.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s ferry division said in a public statement released on Friday that the two crew members who flew the Trump flag were in violation of state law and would face administrative punishment according to the Ocracoke Current, a publication local to the proceedings.
“No matter one’s political affiliation, putting any sort of campaign material on a state-owned vessel is not appropriate… The crew member and captain of the ferry involved in this incident have been issued seven-day suspensions without pay for unacceptable personal conduct.”
The story began on the evening of Thursday, July 26, when an Ocracoke resident posted an image of the ferry in question — the M/V Frisco — Trump flag hoisted high. The M/V Frisco’s usual path takes it between ports in Ocracoke and Hatteras.
After making the rounds on the social media platform, and eventually finding its way to the NCDOT’s Facebook page, the action began to set in motion to take the flag down and discipline those who had raised it in the first place. A staff writer for the Ocracoke Current, Sundae Horn, admits in her article on the matter has brought the violation to the direct attention of Jed Dixon — the deputy director of the state’s Department of Transportation ferry division.
The Ocracoke Current Facebook page became a hotbed of debate following their posting of the follow-up article, with right-leaning commentators pointing to an alleged double standard — indicating Governor Roy Cooper’s portrait was displayed on every ferry vessel and that a flag promoting either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would remain uncontested and unmolested.
Left-inclined users spoke to the letter of the law, defending the stance taken by the Ocracoke Current on the matter — some supporters going so far as to call for the ferry captain and his complicit crew member to be terminated from their positions of employment.
According to The Hill, the flag remained in place for only one trip before being taken down.
Partisan political battles escalate as both parties hurtle towards November’s midterm season with a frenetic energy, each seeking to capitalize on the perceived weakness of the opposition. For his part, President Trump has been a Twitter firestorm lately, taking to the social media platform earlier today to call out Russia probe ringleader Robert Mueller for an investigation predicated on “a Fake Dossier [Steele Dossier], paid for by Hillary, created by a man who hates Donald Trump, & used to con a FISA Court Judge.”
Trump concluded his tweet with a familiar refrain denying any collusion with Russia or Russian agencies.
While the North Carolina ferry flag flap may not seem like grand political theater in and of itself, it could be seen as representative of a nation divided by partisan infighting and a new definition of what constitutes appropriate behavior in civic life, journalism, and political dialogue writ large.