My Proposals for a New Washington State Flag

With my discussion of what's wrong with so many US state flags an introduction, I'll note that the current Washington state flag is the green one on the lower right corner of the Bad Flags block. And even though some people apparently believe that since our flag is green and not blue, it's "beautiful [and] original," the fact is ... it's neither. Here's a larger image (by Mario Fabretto, and from the FOTW Flags of the World web site):

State of Washington flag, image by Mario Fabretto from the FOTW web site.

I say it's time for a change.

My First Proposal: The Washington Arms

Andrew S. Rogers - Washington Arms flag

Like the flag of Washington, D.C. (which was one of the 10 best designs), my new state flag design draws on the heraldic arms of George Washington, after whom, of course, our state is named. To differentiate my flag from D.C.'s (flag design principle: "Avoid duplicating other flags, but use similarities to show connections."), I've used the colors of the existing state flag in place of the original red and white.

By the way, I should note that I based my gif above on FOTWer Mark Sensen's image of the D.C. flag.

My design is an improvement over the current flag because:

  1. It's not easily confused with any other flag, either up close or at a distance.
  2. It's a simple design, easy to remember and draw.
  3. It will cost less to manufacture than the current flag because:
  • it uses fewer colors.
  • it doesn't have any writing on it, and thus won't require two versions of the seal so the writing reads correctly on both sides (Washington state law requires — yes, requires — that all state flags have a correct version of the seal on each side. I guess that makes flying the silk-screened reads-right-on-one-side-only Washington flag that we own an act of civil disobedience.)
  1. It doesn't have any writing on it (this is such a virtue that it deserves being listed twice).

My second proposal: the Scandinavia of the Pacific Northwest

Andrew S. Rogers - State of Washington flag proposal

Not a lot of complexity here. Washington has a fairly good-sized population of people of Scandinavian ancestry, as well as a vaguely Scandinavian geography (at least along the Puget Sound). This flag design is very common among Scandinavian flags. I based my image on António Martins' Norwegian flag on the FOTW site, using the colors on the current flag.

I should point out this design is coincidentally very similar to the flag of the Vepsians, a people who live in Russia but are linguistically related to the Finns. The proportions are different, and my shade of blue is slightly paler, so I hope no Vepsians will be bothered by the unintentional similarity.

My third propsal: the State of Harold Washington

State of Harold Washington

King County, the most populous county in Washington, was founded in 1852 and named after William Rufus de Vane King, who earlier that year had been elected Vice President of the US as Franklin Pierce's running-mate (Pierce County is the next one south). He died shortly after his inauguration in 1853 and is known to history — to the extent he's known at all — as the only Veep to have been inaugurated outside the US (he was in Cuba at the time), and the only one never to have made it to Washington, DC to fulfill the duties of his office.

In addition to his inglorious record of service (though you gotta admit it wasn't his fault he had tuberculosis), W R de V King was also a slaveowner. In 1986, the King County Council (official motto: "We've never met a commie we didn't want to kiss on all four cheeks ... and use taxpayer dollars to do it") passed a resolution officially "renaming" King County in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2005 our court-appointed governor signed legislation confirming this change in state law.

But why stop there?

After all, George Washington was a slaveholder too. And given the state of history instruction these days, pretty soon he'll be every bit as obscure as the unlamented Vice President King is.

It's time to rename this state after someone more in keeping with our Twenty-First Century sensibilities: the first African-American mayor of Chicago, Harold Washington! From what people say about him, he sounds like just the inspiring symbol we need. I therefore offer the above as our new state flag.

I based my modifications on Mario's FOTW image above. I also removed the unsightly black ring from around the state seal. Whaddya think?

(For extra credit, we could simultaneously rename the state after Walter Washington, the first elected mayor of Washington, D.C. But I couldn't find a good image of him to put on the flag. Maybe he'd be on the other side.)