Jail for Burning American Flag?   3 comments

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/11/29/trump-suggests-loss-of-citizenship-or-jail-for-those-who-burn-u-s-flags/

Image result for image of american flag burningCould someone please get President-Elect Trump a copy of the Constitution and make him familiar with the First Amendment that acknowledges our right to freedom of expression? It doesn’t guarantee that right. It doesn’t give us that right. It acknowledges the trans-Constitutional right to self-expression so long as we are not harming others.

I know, seeing a flag deliberately set on fire elicits a visceral reaction in the flag-lover similar to the one I felt when I saw a picture of Jesus in a jar of urine. That deeply bothered me and I wanted to slap the artist around for a bit.

All feelings are allowed. Actions are limited.

Ultimately, the artist had a right to express himself in that way and I don’t have a right to assault anyone. He was still rude and inconsiderate, but that’s his right. But I also have a right to say he’s a piss-poor artist who nobody should ever pay a moment’s attention to. But I digress.

There was a West Wing episode where Penn & Jillett appeared to burn the American flag. Perhaps President-Elect Trump should sit down and watch the episode because it does a good job of explaining the situation. Then read the approximately eight pages of the US Constitution and just consider that people did not elect you to impinge upon our liberty.

Seeing the American flag deliberately set afire can cause some strong emotions in people who feel loyalty to that flag, but the reality is that it does not hurt anyone.

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3 responses to “Jail for Burning American Flag?

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  1. The trouble is it does hurt others. There are those of us who fought with and for that flag who are now crippled. Those who are no longer alive. Those families who still grieve for their loss. I suggest those who burn the flag don’t even respect themselves let alone a flag. It’s not about the flag that unifies us. It’s about respect for those who who fought and still fight for unity instead of division. I suggest those who burn the flag spend a few hours in Walter Reed Hospital and then a few hours in Arlington Cemetery. They need to grow up and be thankful that they live here where it’s safe!

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    • I’m hoping you will take this in the spirit of respect in which it is offered.

      Burning a flag is not the same thing as punching you in the nose. Yes, it causes a visceral reaction, but it does no physical, economic or moral harm to you. If the flag belongs to me because I paid my money to purchase it, it is my personal property and it is my right to treat it with veneration … or to burn it … as I see fit. You should have nothing to say about it because it is my private property.

      I’ve personally never burned a flag, but I have spoken to people who have. Often they have childish reasons for doing so, but there are also those people who are making a statement in the only way they know that will get a rise out of people like you. Just try to shift perspective and see it from their view.

      To you, the American flag symbolizes all those veterans who fought and died for American “freedom”. To people’s around the world, those soldiers were often not liberators, but subjugators. The American military came to their homeland and imposed their will by right of military might upon them. To those Americans who have come to understand that might doesn’t make right, burning a symbol of subjugation feels appropriate.

      Some flag-burners are hoping it prompts a conversation with people like you about why we as a nation allow our government to stomp all over other countries as if it were our right to do so.

      I know you experience a visceral reaction to seeing something you venerate treated badly, but a lot of other symbols that are important to other people are trampled daily and we’re expected to accept it. Why should the American flag (a secular symbol) be considered more worthy of protection than those actual sacred images? And, why should only your opinion about it be the only one allowed?

      For the sake of liberty, I will accept the right of others to desecrate that which I think is sacred. I don’t have to like it, but it’s not breaking my leg or picking my pocket, so it isn’t really hurting me. Sometimes it even makes me think about the message behind it.

      And, no, I am not saying this in disrespect of the veterans who fought in America’s wars. I’m saying it in disrespect for the government that requires them to go fight wars that don’t need to be fought to keep this country safe. And, yes, there is a difference.

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      • I hope too, that you will also take this in the spirit of respect in which it is offered. When I am passionate about something I tend to sound angry when I am really not. So please forgive it sounds that way. It is not my intention.

        The difference in what you are saying here is not that you do not have the right to burn the flag; you have every right do so. I fought for your right to do so. I am a disabled vet because I wanted you to have that right. To use your analogy, which I think is comical, has no strength in it. I was never saying you do not have the right to burn the flag. I was asking what reason is there for you to burn it? Have a purpose for God’s sake! Have goal to accomplish in doing so. Stand for something the way I did for you in protecting this right. Show me later that you actually did accomplish something other than a shallow statement in which to have your picture taken and I will stand with you!

        I am thankful you have never been one to burn the flag. Thank you! You are so right that the reasons given by these people are childish. Maybe they don’t have any other way to show their frustration. Where is their statement? Is it that they don’t like that they didn’t get their way? Or, that they see an injustice in America? Then do something about it. There are probably a thousand other people that think they way they do, spend your effort organizing and showing us what we need to change. Give us a reason to join you. Burning a flag does nothing but deepen the divide to the point where the other side will never listen to you.

        I know there are a lot of things that need to change in America. Most likely there will always be these kinds of change. To me the racial division in this country is at an all time high. I’m not burning a flag to show my frustration. No, myself and two other people, one of whom is Black, have already started conversation about what can happen to heal America. In January we will begin open discussion on our blogs to be honest with each other and invite others to join us in this healing. I like that you want me to shift my perspective to see it from the other point of view. I need to “see” their view first my friend. What is their view? They are frustrated because they see injustice in America? Explain what you see. Don’t just say you see it. What is it. Put a face on it. Come to me with conversation like you and I are having, and like we will do in January about race, and let’s talk. But they must realize it “is” a two-way street, which involves “their” looking at the other point of view as well.

        I resent the fact that you think you know how I feel. You have no idea. I don’t know exactly how you feel, but hope to in our conversation. As you said, “To you (speaking of me), the American flag symbolizes all those veterans who fought and died for American “freedom.” You need to understand, that it is only part of it. Since time began families, clans, religions and wars have been unified by a banner or a flag in our case. I imagine you have never stood on the battlefield and been scared out of your wits because some politician has formed a lottery drawing like in the 1960’s and when your number was drawn you went to an unfamiliar world to get shot at, or to watch your buddy have his head blow off. I know that is what you are saying when you discuss the fact that we are not welcome in other countries to kill their people. The point is I agree with you. I really do. But because so many of us “did” have to go we were unified under that flag. It was our standard to call home and feel somewhat safe with our brothers. But even considering peace time, if we do not have something, anything, to unify us we will cease to exist as a nation. It is certainly not our President Obama, or our President Elect Trump. With out a unifying standard we will simply “just” exist. Is that what these people want? Without realizing the consequences of what they are thinking, because they are so young, they would probably say yes, it’s what they want.

        But I do agree with you in that I wish we would mind our own business and stay of the other countries. Let’s take care of us. But you have to understand we do not go into another country unless we are asked or invited. That is one reason Al Qaeda is safe in Pakistan, because Pakistan will not invite us into their country to take care of business. To see it from my point of view is to realize, none of us wanted to go to Viet Nam, none of us. Like you said we forced ourselves upon other countries, the government forced us to go to war.

        After WW2, NATO was formed to help other countries and for them to help us when we need it. This is one of the reasons we go into other countries. Other reasons are that we are invited because some countries do not have the resources to fight. Rarely do we invade another country to subjugate it as you have indicated. If were there for that purpose we would have a ton more countries under our rule, much like the British Empire did. Take a look at Japan. We bombed them and ended the war, not to subjugate them. In fact we have spent the last 60+ years rebuilding them and allowing them to govern themselves. Thereby generating an economy that is vibrant and puts us to shame in the auto industry, among other things. We did not subjugate them; no we made them our ally. But we did have to end a war and the awful way it was ended with those bombs was a decision made wrongly, I believe.

        You Said, ”To people’s around the world, those soldiers were often not liberators, but subjugators. The American military came to their homeland and imposed their will by right of military might upon them. To those Americans who have come to understand that might doesn’t make right, burning a symbol of subjugation feels appropriate.” Do you understand what you’re saying? You need to realize quickly as nations like Iran, who shout “Death to America,” not only mean it but also want to destroy us. This is one reason we will definitely go into their country and defeat it, if we see it as a threat to America. Just like we liberated France, and Italy and other countries from the hands of a mad man in WW2.

        Now I am tickled pink. You say, “Some flag-burners are “hoping it prompts a conversation”(?) with people like you (me) about why we as a nation allow our government to stomp all over other countries as if it were our right to do so.” These people do not want a conversation like you and I are having. They want discord and division because they lost an election. If not so, why is that we don’t see this happening everyday of the year instead of after an election. Oh cry me a river! They need to grow up! If they want conversation then be man or woman enough to start the conversation. Figure out a way. Put a think tank of peers together and figure how to really make it happen so that you & I can rest, so that you and I can trust each other with our feelings, though they may differ. Did burning that flag really accomplish anything at all? I think not.

        You say, “I know you experience a visceral reaction to seeing something you venerate treated badly, but a lot of other symbols that are important to other people are trampled daily and we’re expected to accept it.” What other symbols are being trampled in public in demonstration of disagreement?” You need to help me here. Maybe I am overlooking these and honestly would like to know what they are. I mean that sincerely.

        You say, “And, why should only your opinion about it be the only one allowed?” You see, that is the cheapskate way out, to blame me for being the one who is intolerable, or, what do they call it nowadays? I think I am being politically incorrect. To think that you who are trying to have a conversation would use the same cliché everyone else uses to make me the intolerant one. Paleze! You know, I honestly have enjoyed your blog, and that at least you and I are discussing this topic, since it seems no one else is. But to blame me? One who is trying to have the conversation with you, the conversation you say is needed to ease these young peoples frustration. The one who is desperately asking you your opinion because it matters? I am already beginning to see that my opinion does not matter, because it does not agree with yours, hmmmm. Lets talk about mistrust verses disrespect.
        In your post a few days ago called, “Finding Unity In Division.” One of the comments you made is this, “That’s the problem with deeply divided societies. They are often divided because of entrenched mistrusts borne of a huge amount of disrespect. . .” Stop talking about unity and cohesion and try listening for a while. Try showing some respect to those “unskilled illiterates” in the “flyover states” who mine the energy that heats your home, grow your food, and provide so many things in your life that you take for granted. Get to know some of them as — gasp — equals. Walk for five minutes in their shoes. Get to know what is important to them and, more importantly, why it is important to them. Pause and ask yourself if you really know what the best lifestyle is or are you just clinging to your own social niche because it’s all you know.
        If you really want to build a harmonious, unified society, take one for the team. Discard your anger, swallow your pride, and show out-groups unilateral respect and friendship. Let them teach you for a couple of years and then see where you stand on the other side. Your new friends might have come to accept some of your position and you may have come to accept … or at least understand … some of their positions.”
        Amen! Preach it brother! These are wonderful and unifying words. This is exactly what I saying here. Before we can ever trust there must be some form of respect for each other, a little bit anyway. To “take one for the team” we must have a conversation and not all this backstabbing, “you’re wrong and I’m right and since you disagree with me you hate me” baloney. Before we burn the unifying banner of the United States let’s talk. Talk to me about the reverence and pride you are burning. Tell me how you feel first. Explain to me just what you hope to accomplish by doing this. But know this, I will “never” respect your opinion, and will stand against it, if it is destructive with no substantive cause that accomplishes nothing. Stop being a follower and start being a leader that accomplishes something besides ashes. I fought for you and I will stand by your side to defend your right to burn our precious flag as long as you give a good reason, not one you heard from someone else.
        Give me an opportunity to agree with you and I will hobble up on my cane and light the fire.

        Please give some consideration to my thoughts. I appreciate you allowing my opinion here. I hope this was not too long. Thanks for being one who has not burnt our flag.

        Blessings!

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