Flag Burning post- 9/11?

In the mornings, as I ride my scooter to work, I hum songs to myself. I have no radio on the bike (I wouldn’t be able to hear it anyway) and todays song was “schoolhouse rock”-esque"The Amendment Song" from the Simpsons.
“I’m an amendment to be,
yes, an amendment to be.
And I’m hoping that they’ll ratify me.
There’s a lot of Flag burners
That have got to much freedom
I want to make it legal for policemen to beat them!
Because there’s limits to our liberties
At least I hope and pray that there are,
Because those liberal freaks have gone too far!”

This was running through my head as I was on my way into work, dodging busdrivers and Hi-Ace vans.

Anyway, here is what I was thinking about.

How would public perception to flag burning be post september 11th considering the politics and, dar I say it, morals that have now been symbollically attached, embedded, if not already attached, to your flag.

How would a such a display of civil disobedience like flag burning go over, publically in the current “gung-ho” environment that has been created?

Would people physically stop someone from trying to do this?

would people say “Think of all the people who died for that flag in September 11th!!”

How did your views on flag burning change?

Is is still a display of Civil disobedience and free speech that sums up exactly what America stands for, Or Are Commie Pinko Flag Burners spitting on the graves of the founding fathers?

I think that the public are more likely to take offense now than they were before. But even before 9/11 many people took offense. Some would even resort to violence to stop it. Certainly there was a lot of grinding and gnashing of teeth over it.

But my views have not changed. The flag still stands for the freedom to burn the flag. If flag burning is outlawed, it is an infringement on ouur First Amendment right to freely express ourselves. If flag burning is outlawed, then what does the flag stand for?

Under the recently passed CFR law, organizations such as Planned Parenthood are prohibited from advertising in support of of against a candidate in the period before an election.

At least these organizations are Constitutionally permitted to communicate their positions using smoke signals from burning piles of flags. :rolleyes:

Holy non sequitur, Batman! Thanks for your informative post on flag-burning, december, and thanks for not attempting to drag someone else’s thread off into a hijack about one of your pet issues.


I agree that it would be a betrayal of the American principle of free speech to outlaw flag burning. At the same time, I suggest the penalty for stomping a hippie burning a flag should be a $5.00 fine.

Yes, let’s reduce the penalty for assault & battery if those ‘hippies’ actually exercise those rights of free speech. After all, reactionary violence is just as venerable an American tradition as civil liberties, innit?

[sub]NOTE: The absence of smilies in this post is not a reliable indication of whether the poster’s eyes are, indeed, rolling back into his skull.[/sub]

Hey, are you trying to restrain my feedom of speech? If a hippie demonstrator wishes to show his contempt and hate for this country and its people, then I’m entitled to kick his scrawny ass to exercise *my * freedom of speech.

So, are you saying that assault and battery is an acceptable form of ‘free speech’? Does this mean I can slap the piss out of the next conservative dimwit who disses the ACLU in front of me?

Hey, I’m just speakin’ to the dude, y’know.

Sorry. Regarding the OP:

– I support keeping flag-burning legal as a free speech issue.

– I consider the freedom to burn flags unimportant in and of itself, since it’s a most uncommon means of communication. Keeping this right has only symbolic importance.

– I generally assume that people who burn flags oppose American values, such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, racial tolerance, equality of the sexes, etc. That is, I think badly of them.

Even though flag burning ought not to be banned, I also think that it is not a valid form of dissent or protest. The great agitators of our nation–William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Eugene V. Debs, Marthin Luther King, Jr.–sought not to destroy the United States, but to improve it, to make it relaize its promise in deeds as well as words.

Mrorns like the anarchists who are planning to screw up my weekend on 4/20 have no wish to improve the US; they hatethe US and its people. Burning the flag, especially post-9/11 is an act of blatant contempt for this nation.

If Xenophon and his friends really want to stick it to the Man, why don’t they piss on some veterans’ graves in Arlington National Cemetery?

gobear, there is a big and obvious difference between freedom of speech and assault and batery of another person. Do we really need to take the time to explain this to you?

I also notice that you stereotype flag burners as scrawny hippies. Would you be so quick to take on a 6’4", 250 pound flag burner, or does you patritic zeal wither when the task is not so easy?

Can you clarify your use of the term “valid”? You appear to be saying that you consider flag burning to be a protected form of speech (i.e. political). However, you also seem to consider violent assault of those who burn flags to be protected speech as well, so maybe I’m not getting you that well.

With which of my friends have you been corresponding? They must never have bothered to discuss with me their innermost desires to ‘stick it’ (whatever “it” means in this context) to authority (or, as you hipsters say, "the Man).

Oh, and that’s xenophon 41, EM2 (SS), Navy nuke and ‘Cold Warrior’, 1976-1982. I’ve never visited Arlington National Cemetery. But it’s not likely I’ll be pissing on any graves if I ever go there.

Yes, we all know this. I’m making a rhetorical point by using exaggeration. sit down and listen.

Yes, Xenophon, flagburning is protected* by the First Amendment, but I don’t think it’s valid, as in worthy of respect. Flagburning is the ultimate gesture of disrespect for this nation and its citizens, and the people who do it are morons and poltroons. You want to effect change?

Refuse to obey, like Quaker draft resisters.

Go to jail as a matter of principle, like Thoreau and MLK

Publish your opinions, as William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Thoreau, and MLK all did.

Burning the flag must be tolerated in a free society, but the people who do it are contemptible. They are symbolically spitting on this nation by such an act.

Glad to hear it. My father is buried there, and I’d be offended if you did.

Oh, please, I’ve gotten in fights with guys bigger than me. However, the folks who show up here in DC ARE scrawny–tofu and brown rice aren’t that great for bulking up, I guess. But no, I’m not really suggesting assault and battery as literal responses to flagburning, just as a device to show my utter contempt for those people.

'sides, fighting a hippie seems sinful to me–one shouldn’t pick on the weak and foolish.

I love America.

To me, there is no greater symbol of why this country is so great than the right to burn our flag.

  The right to be critical of our government is one of our most fundamental freedoms. Upon gaining power, every Hitler, every Pol Pot, Every Stalin takes away the people's right to dissent. Here, that right is literally first on the list.

 If flag burning  were illegal, the Stars and Stripes would stand for nothing but hypocrisy.

OK, here’s where I don’t understand you.

Why is it fine by you to express contempt for the USA by publishing your opinions, but if you do it by burning a piece of cloth you’re somehow “spitting on this nation”? Isn’t it more what you say that matters, not how you say it? If one were to hold a long speech about the state of America today and then burn a flag “as a device to show your contempt”, would that be good or bad?

In that event, would you burn it?

Wait a sec, expressing contempt for the USA is never fine in my book (you’ll note that the people I cited wanted to change the country, not destroy it). I contend that writing a vitriolic screed against AmeriKKKa is not as visceral as burning a flag is. The US flag is NOT a piece of cloth; it stands for the republic and its people. Men have bled and died for our flag; they didn’t do it for a piece of cloth.

For me, burning the flag is akin to spray painting swastikas on a synagogue or burning a cross on a black family’s lawn. It is the same as chewing up the Host and spitting it on the floor at a Catholic Mass. It is the ultimate gesture of hate and contempt for this country.

It is possible for an act to be both Constitutionally protected and utterly despicable at the same time. To me, burning the flag is IDENTICAL in intent to urinating on a grave in Arlington.

The day they make it illegal to burn the flag-I will go out and burn the flag.

gobear-let’s put it this way-some people think that homosexuality is vile-does that give them the right to beat others up who are expressing their homosexuality?

Some people find abortion vile-does that give them the right to beat up abortion providers?

Some people think that Islam is vile-does that give them the right to beat up Muslims?

You can tell these people you find their actions vile. But you cannot assault them for doing so. YOUR rights end where THEIR rights begin.


Like HELL it is!

Do the words private property mean anything to you? If I buy a flag, I own that flag-I may burn it.

If I OWN a lawn, I may burn a cross on MY lawn.

Guin, honey, scroll up. You missed one of my posts, the one where violent thoughts were just a rhetorical device? In any event, nobody, not even me, says we should make it illegal, but burning the flag sure isn’t admirable.