Fighting in the Heart of Liberal Madison for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This blog will focus on liberal hypocrisy and the small, but significant victories of the right at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

13 October 2005

Don't touch my flag...EVER

A recent post by Brad V. as outraged me. In the name of "art" some hippy shoved an American Flag into a toilet during a one woman "performance." What is wrong with these people? That is not art, that should be a crime, yet, in this country, we have deemed it a "constitutional right."

Our government can legislate what can and cannot be said on TV, they can legislate what can and cannot be said in public (starting riots, yelling fire in a movie theatre), and the government can constrict our actions (I cannot burn down my house, I cannot destroy other people's property, hell, I cannot even fire off fireworks to celebrate the Chinese New Year). Yet, our Supreme Court has forbidden our elected officials from banning a man from burning the symbol of our nation.

Now, I know what is going to be said by the liberals and the centralist visiting this blog. You are going to say that if you take away the "right" to burn flags, that you are stripping away some freedom and "what is next?" Well, the slippery slop argument is a fallacy. The other argument is that "soldiers fight for the right for Americans to burn the flag." That is laughable.

In the dissent of Texas v Johnson, Chief Justice Rehnquist said:

"In the First and Second World Wars, thousands of our countrymen died on foreign soil fighting for the American cause. At Iwo Jima in the Second World War, United States Marines fought hand to hand against thousands of [426] Japanese. By the time the Marines reached the top of Mount Suribachi, they raised a piece of pipe upright and from one end fluttered a flag. That ascent had cost nearly 6,000 American lives. The Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery memorializes that event. President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the use of the flag on labels, packages, cartons, and containers intended for export as lend-lease aid, in order to inform people in other countries of the United States' assistance. Presidential Proclamation No. 2605, 58 Stat. 1126."

To paraphrase the rest dissent: The brave fighting men and women of the Armed Services all wear the flag on their uniform, that flag is draped over their casket when they die, and it is flown at half staff in mourning. How can one say that that dead soldier died for someone to burn that flag? Of course they didn't. THEY DIED SO THAT FLAG MAY FLY FREELY OVER THIS COUNTRY.

I love the flag, I love what it stands for and the burning of the flag in protest is the equivalent to inciting a riot. It is the same as hate speech and it is the same as yelling fire falsely in a movie theatre. I hope that Chief Justice Roberts rights this wrong...Soon.


Blogger Tim said...

There's no way the government can prosecute anyone for burning a national symbol. I know you and Brad hold the flag in high esteem as do I but you should not fight the 1st amendment. I can't believe that you guys seriously want to infringe on somebody simply igniting a piece of fabric. Let the liberals feel powerful in their theatre and art...they are making themselves look more and more ridiculous by their actions.

Thu Oct 13, 02:04:00 AM CDT

Blogger Mark Murphy said...

Touche on calling me on the slippery slope. I was in a hurry.

But anyway, I, like Tim, am astounded that you and Brad are so willing to disregard our cherished first ammendment protections. Don't let your emotions blind you. Old Glory is a symbol of a great nation - a great nation, indeed. But, we are a great nation because our institutions are predicated on the idea of individual rights. A law against flag burning has no place in that framework and would only work to undermine our core ideals.

"..Burning of the flag in protest is the equivalent to inciting a riot."
Your blog is equivalent to inciting a riot.

Thu Oct 13, 02:48:00 AM CDT

Blogger RT the LT said...

A piece of fabric? Tell that to a soldier as they stand for it in a parade and render a salute. Come on Tim, there is more to the flag than three colors of fabric and some thread. It is AMERICA. Go to a military funeral sometime and see what the widow does as that "piece of fabric" is folded and passed to her. That flag is cherished.

That flag represents every American that has died for this country. That flag has been carried into countless battles and that flag has been is pledged to. For someone to reduce the flag to the level of “a piece of fabric” is to say the constitution is “a piece of paper” or the bible is “just another book”. If you believe that the bible is a holy book and is different from other books, then you must see the flag as being MORE than just fabric.

Thu Oct 13, 02:58:00 AM CDT

Blogger RT the LT said...


Let’s break down the first amendment.

Religion is outside of this argument, so let’s start at the good stuff:

"abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;" Speech and press are implying words, thoughts, and concepts, not actions and even these have caveats. I cannot write anything I want, even on a blog. If I write a down right lie about someone, I can be sued. If I publish classified information that puts the US at risk, I can be imprisoned.

“or the right of the people peaceably to assemble” This implies actions: the right to gather or the right to protest the government. But again, there are many caviates. I need a permit to assemble. I cannot riot.

“and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." This gives lobbyists the right to contact government officials, people to visit their representatives and speak at “open forums” or hearings.

No where in the first amendment do I read “the right to destroy symbols of the government.”

As you know, MM, the bill of rights constricts what the US government can and cannot do. “Freedom of speech” implies WORDS, THOUGHTS, and IDEAS. Freedom to assemble implies “ASSEMBLY and the RIGHT TO GATHER. The desecration of the American flag does not fall under either of those. Also, the US government DOES constrict words and ideas (if I have an IDEA to kill someone, I can go to jail; if I say that I am going to blow something up, I can go to jail).

The average person can see the difference between a blog and the burning of a flag, just as the average people can see the difference between a rally and a riot.

Thu Oct 13, 03:19:00 AM CDT

Blogger Jenna said...

Bob, I agree all the way. To burn or desecrate the flag in any way is a slap in the face to every veteran, the family of every casualty of war, and every current service member. If an individual feels so much hatred towards the United States that they feel they must burn a national symbol, then I suggest they use their freedom to leave my country.

Thu Oct 13, 06:11:00 AM CDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long live the Communists! And we don't mean the wimpy living-wage, worker-rights variety in the U.S, that only got us the 40 hour work week and workers comp. We're talking about the big boys the world-beater types, you know the SOVIET UNION. They managed to contain the US War Machine for almost 50 years (OK, Korea, Vietnam, Central America excepted). Think Missiles of October, if not for the Soviets, Cuba would be a cinder, no more great cigars and mambo. Think of nuclear tipped missiles that the Hawks are using as bunker busters. Think we'd be tossing out treaties and threatening every regime if the Russkies still had some fight in 'em. The world is sad to see them go. How much terrorism was there against the US when the USSR was around to limit US aggression and provide a much more tempting target for jihadist angst? That's right, when the Russkies were real men, we got to be the allies of Bin-Laden against godless Communism!

Thu Oct 13, 01:23:00 PM CDT

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Bob,

I agree that you are right. The flag is more than a piece of fabric, what it represents is America as you said. The flag REPRESENTS what we cherish. We don't believe in the the actual fabric... it is the meaning behind it. We do not worship the idol of the flag, we worship what it represents. We do not worship a statue of God, but we worship God Himself.

It is the meaning of what America is--as a free country and democracy--that our soldiers are fighting for, just like the consitution and the Bible is more than just pieces of paper. They are the ideas we fight for not that actual item themself. We all know that material goods are not what we should be fighting for, but we should be fighting for our ideas. We could have any other symbol to fly and as long as it represents what America stands for, its all good to me. AS we all know, the flag has not been the same at the time of when America has been founded. It has changed shape and form, and maybe even meaning. But in the end its what the flag represents is what we cherish: Freedom. Even the founders probably hated the Union Jack for punishing America through Taxes... They can't burn an Idea, they can't burn freedom.. I'm not scared.

If we go ahead and allow the government to suppress certain types of protest such as burning, because they are government symbols--I believe this would run counter to the 1st Amendment (which I take it the government cannot suppress political speech)

Assume the government has the right to ban the burning of symbols our soldiers fight for and America represents--such as the flag and the Constitution.

Abortion is now a consitutional right through a new Amendment that passed through the required majority of all state legislatures.

A new amendment has made owning a gun unconstitutional.

People that believe marriage means men can marry men and women can marry women passes and becomes another Amendment.

All passes through the legal process our founders made so that we can change the Constitution of the United States.

Now conservative thought is in the super minority. The Constitution and the Flag do not represent what we wanted it to. However, we lack money and resources since the liberal majority controls the government. We want to protest by burning the flag and constitution b/c they don't represent the America we believe in--we can get on camera b/c its against hte law to destroy government symbols. We are put in jail... who knows how long? The government has a right to punish people just on the basis of destroying a government symbol..that soldiers die for.. even in protest.

Sounds like China to me... or the Soviet Union. Or a Socialist regime that believes it has to be paternalistic and prevent the abborhance of soliders who fought for the flag to view it's desecration (they are our soldiers they can take the beating and can continue the good fight for freedom). True conservatives know that flag burning in political protest is no threat to our idealogy or what America stands for--or even demeans what our soldiers have fought for: Freedom is immune to such silly attacks.

When Johnson burned that flag, another person who cared about the flag took it and buried it respectfully... that shows we will never agree with those that hate what America stands for, and will always be reminded to keep on fighting for freedom--by those who wish to protest politically against our beliefs by burning our flag in protest.

Questions for you to shed light on the idea that even though the symbol of the flag is burned what it represents is immune to fire or any type of destruction.

Are you afraid that if people get to burn their own American flag legally in protest against crimes they believe America has committed that they should be punished? What if America became Communist? and the flag represented the new Communism?

I'm not afraid.

Are you afraid that our ideals of patriotism and what it means to be American are compromised if some quack job burns his own American flag in protest or the Consitution?

I'm not afraid.

It's best to realize that our American Flag is immune to these threats, such as flag burning. If you realize that we are fighting for what the flag represents and not the actual flag itself, you may end up finding out what is more important.

Shakespeare said it best, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"

It is the idea and what is represented rather than the actual item or name that matters. In the end, let people protest in any way they wish... I'll flag my flag in counter protest proudly!

USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thu Oct 13, 11:44:00 PM CDT


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