Flag Burning post- 9/11?

Again, reread the part where I said, "burning a cross on a black family’s. Biiiiig difference there.

And, uh, in most municipalities, air quality laws probably won’t let you burn any crosses anywhere.

Since I live in Philadelphia I would not only burn the flag, I’d burn it while standing outside Independence Hall.

That presupposes that people considered flag burning ‘exactly what America stands for’. I’ve always (before and after 9/11) held that flag burning should be protected as an excercise of speech. I’ve also held that someone who burns the flag to make a speech obviously doesn’t have anything worthwile to say and should be held in contempt by the rest of us. You want to make a ‘speech’ by burning the flag? That’s fine, just don’t expect me to respect you or to attach any worth to your comments.

And my point was that those are different situations. Apples and oranges.

Likewise, you’re still resorting to hyperbole.

I disagree, under the following conditions.

Lets focus solely on flag burners in the US, and not anywhere else (Indonesia, for example).

What are the motives for “Hippy” flag burnings? What makes a Hippy Flag burner love America any less than you do? They burned flags as an expression of dissillusionment and dissatisfaction with the system, rather than a hatred for all things American. This is a valid distinction.

You are offended because of what YOU percieve the flag to stand for. “Hippy” flag burners are upset at what THEY percieve the flag to stand for. It is an act of civil disobedience, and is not an expression of Hate akin to a swastika or a burning cross.

If anything, beating up someone for burning the flag would be a comparison to spraypainting swastikas on temples and burning crosses on the lawns of others.

I disagree. There is currently no law against it, and no such law could withstand judicial review. Committing a legal act is not civil disobedience.

You are giving them more credit than they deserve. The rhetoric of the hippie anarchists who plague DC every year is as I described:“Fuck AmeriKKa, man, this country sucks!” Not exactly MLK-level protest, is it?

There is a valid distinction between expressing disagreement with the government’s policies and contempt for the nation itself, and I contend that flagburning is the latter, not the former.

It may be legal, but it is also despicable.

Guin, I will remind you of your endorsement of flagburning the next time you get offended when somebody slams the Church.

The day it becomes illegal to burn the flag, I will take a copy of the Constitution, I will wrap it in an American flag, I will douse it in lighter fluid, and I will drop a match on it.

The flag is a symbol, a symbol of America and all the rights of being an American. Those rights include the right to free expression of ideas, especially political ones, and in an enviornment in which our rights are being destroyed by the government that used to be constrained by the Constitution, I think that burning the flag has symbolic relevance.

I won’t burn it because I hate America, but because I love America. Because I love the freedom that I have by virtue only of being born here. My burning the flag would be a symbolic display of the destruction of those rights (those rights which the flag symbolizes). It would be my message to the suits on Capitol Hill.

It would say “See? See what you are doing? This flag stands for freedom, and you have destroyed freedom and rendered these symbols meaningless. Because of you, they stand for nothing. Because of you, they are destroyed.”

That’s a stupid generalization if I ever heard one. You can’t say “Anyone burning a flag hates this nation and all it stands for!!!” and back it up with “Well, most of them do. The vocal ones, at least.”

‘Specially when she says "We Catholics oughta be allowed ta kick yer [insert stereotype here] ass fer sayin’ thet!"

Oh, wait… She’s never used that particular… er… rhetorical device, has she?

Dryga_Yes, here’s what you wrote.


That’s a stupid generalization if I ever heard one. You can’t say “Anyone burning a flag hates this nation and all it stands for!!!” and back it up with “Well, most of them do. The vocal ones, at least.”

I wrote

If people burn flags, explain why they’re doing it, and the quote is accurately attributed, then it’s not a generalization, is it? If there is a uniform justification for burning flags from the flagburners themselves, it’s not a generalization, is it?

First of all: I have a huge love for this country, for its flag, and all that the flag represents. The flag in and of itself (that is, the physical flag and the material it is made of, be it cotton, wool, plastic, whatever) is just that… a thing. It represents freedom in all its aspects, but is not freedom itself.

Second, my son served in the Army, my niece is still in the Navy, my nephew is still in the Army and my fiance just retired from the Air Force as a Senior MSgt after 20 years service. That’s right, she was a First Shirt. I am very proud of each and every one of them.

I take the position of: I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. There are so many other avenues available to express your disapproval of your country and its policies; why not take advantage of them? Would flag burning equate to contempt for this country, instead of just disagreement with its policies? Perhaps so; but there have been many people that have expressed contempt for this country (pick a movie star at random), but nothing has happened to them, as their right to express that contempt is protected by the 1st Amendment.

I have belonged to an organization called Toastmasters International since 1976. I can craft a speech about burning a flag probably well enough to let you feel the heat as the strands burn, one by one. Would THAT be considered flag-burning? Probably not, because I wouldn’t be burning a physical object.

Which leads me back to this: it’s a THING that represents Freedom, not Freedom itself. Would I find it despicable? With every bone in my body, I would. I would probably be screaming at the moron who was burning the flag (exercising MY freedom of speech), but I would make no move to stop him/her.

After all, there’s a jerk in every crowd…and they are more to be pitied than despised.

Well, Garrison did publically burn the Constitution at a rally in Boston, denouncing it as a pact with the devil.

Granted, but then Guin is a much nicer person than I.
There is such a Bizarro World logic to the contention in this thread that the best way to honor America is to torch its flag.

Burning the flag is a protected, albeit, stupid, act. Repeat: It is protected by the Constitution. The Supreme Court upheld the right to symbolic speech in R.A.V v. St. Paul (1992), and there is no way to make an amendment to ban flagburning that would stand up to judicial review, period. So all your fantasies about making brave stands by burning the flag on Capitol Hill are just…fantasies.

Burning the flag is legal; it’s also juvenile and an imbecilic method of protest. It’s also incoherent: what exactly does it accomplish?

Brave men and women risked their lives by breaking the color line in the 1950s and 60s. Young Quaker men and other pacifists went to jail rather than participate in what they considered an immoral war. Their protests were issue-specific and cost something.

Flagburning is not brave, it carries no penalty. It addresses no specific issue. It’s just an attention-getting tactic employed by people with more piercings than brains.

I agree, and have from the beginning of this discussion that flagburning must be legal. I also believe that the people who do it are morons who deserve nothing but contempt.

And, no, we can’t beat them up. Gotta remember to stay literal and not use hyperbole with this crowd.

For further reading (since some of you have a fuzzy concept of the definition of civil disobedience and the cost of protest)
The Courage of Their Convictions, Peter Irons
The Bill of Rights; A user’s guide, Linda R. Monk
On Civil Disobedience,* Henry David Thoreau

Thanks a load for blowing my thesis, Mr. Garrison!

I wonder if Mr. Hat lit the match.

Someone already provided an explaination, re-read TwistofFate’s post earlier. The post that you dismissed with “that wasn’t the motive for any of the flag burners I’ve seen, so it can’t be true for anyone”. Then I replied calling what you said a stupid generalization. There ISN’T a uniform justification from the flagburners themselves.

Throughout this thread you’ve been saying that people who burn flags, ANYONE who burns an American flag, is worthy of such contempt that you start having violent fantasies about beating them up. You make bad analogies and equate them with nazis and KKKers. I disagree with people who burn flags but… geeze, sometimes you have to just let people have their opinions.

See if this makes sense-the very reason one should not burn the flag-is because one CAN burn the flag. See, the very fact, that you have the right to burn the flag, to spit on it and stomp on it-means that when you burn it, you are also spitting on the fact that the flag stands for your right to do this.

Does that make sense?

And like catsix said, if it WAS made illegal-that would be the BEST time to burn it, because it would show what a mockery the law would be-it would destroy what the flag stands for.

gobear, I think you’re a swell guy and I like you. That said, I think you need to realize that sometimes, flag burning is merely a symbolic act. For example-what if someone decided to burn the flag as a demonstration against the Defense of Marriage Act? Or as a demonstration against Anti-Sodomy Laws?

It is saying, that, “such and such law is EQUAL to burning the flag-burning our COUNTRY and what it stands for.”

So if I speak in a way you disagree with, I’m imbicilic?

Back up the wagon, gobear.

You may disagree with the method of my speech, but it certainly doesn’t make the message I convey (or me) ‘imbicilic’.

If I symbolize the destruction of freedom that the government commits by destroying something that is symbolic of freedom, there’s a valid analogy. If I explain to you why that flag is on fire (the symbol is being destroyed, much like the government is destroying the actual freedom), you’d still call it imbicilic because you believe that burning a flag is an invalid form of expression? Oh, right, because it carries no penalty. Except maybe being beaten up by those who disagree (which I’m sure doesn’t count to you because that ‘penalty’ isn’t legal) and the usual risk of arrest that is involved in any sort of group protest. Of course, if you want to be the authority on Things That Constitute Valid Speech, perhaps you should prove why you should be.

By the way, nice characterization of people who have multiple piercings as stupid. You care to extend that to multiple tattoos or brightly colored hair?

Around here, or so I’m told, we try to debate other people’s points - and not call our opponents ‘morons’. Or do you think that rule doesn’t apply because none of the pierced, hippy, flag burning types are on this message board? And exactly how many piercings are required before they outnumber ‘brains’? Hmm?

I have seven. Are those enough?

And YOU missed where I posted that I LIVE here, that I listened to the demos, that I paid attention to their justifications, and yes, it is pretty darn uniform. Sorry, that’s how it is.

Way to exaggerate yourself. Idle speculation is not the same thing as “violent fantasies.” Selective, much? but yeah, thye’re pretty low in my book.

I made the valid analogy that burning the flag is an expression of hate against the US, in the same way that burning an Israeli flag or painting a swastika is an expression of hate against the Jews or Israel, burning a cross is an expression of hate against blacks. People don’t burn flags as constructive criticism. You’re living in a fantasy land if you think so, sister. It’s not a bad analogy, it’s just one you disapprove of.

Well, if I can’t argue with you and you can’t argue with me, why are we in GD?

I wonder if gobear and Guinastasia are clear on how close their positions are to each other. Each is saying that the burning of the flag is an act offensive to many Americans which is nonetheless protected by free speech understandings of the law as an ultimate expression of contempt for the way in which the country is being run. I’d tend to agree with them; it’s virtually never “proper” – meaning the appropriate act to take – but the right to do so on the rare occasions when it is, is a precious one.

However, there is one misunderstanding, made by gobear in what I think was a misspeaking of his understanding (since I know he understands the law better than the remark indicates), that needs to be clarified:

Judicial review upholds the law of this country, in part by throwing out a state or federal statute that violates the supreme law of the country, the U.S. Constitution. A Constitutional amendment banning flag-burning, if passed by the Congress and ratified by the states, would be entirely on a par with the First Amendment, and would therefore constitute an exception to freedom of speech and expression wherein one may not burn a flag. I think it would be a tragic waste of time and a violation of the principles on which this country was founded, myself, to pass such an amendment – but if passed it would be part of the supreme law, and the Supreme Court would be honorbound to construe it as such. Ergo, pass the amendment and burning a flag for whatever reason becomes heretical. (Which then makes the provision of the Code of Flag Etiquette, part of the U.S. statute law, which calls for disassembling a badly damaged flag and then reverently destroying the pieces, preferably by burning, unconstitutional. But once you’ve thrown out the baby, it seems pointless to try to save the bathwater.)