General Question

Bluefreedom's avatar

I was looking for people's opinions on one aspect of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution?

Asked by Bluefreedom (22931points) November 2nd, 2008

When it comes to the right of free speech, or in a variation of this, what do you think about a person or a group of people that mutilate, destroy, or desecrate the American flag in an effort to prove a point or protest against something?

As you might imagine, as a military member, I have a serious problem with individuals that would do this to our nation’s flag but at the same time, I do respect that we have a Constitution that gives us all the rights that we have and the ability to exercise them.

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117 Answers

Mizuki's avatar

Let us string them up by their gonads!

alterego's avatar

Could you explain why you have a problem with the burning of the American flag? Do you feel the same way about burning other pieces of cloth? What about other countries’ flags?

La_chica_gomela's avatar

i think that it’s a slippery slope. in a perfect world, laws would only be made to prevent people from harming themselves or others. a flag is an object, not a person, so i would not be in favor of a law against desecrating it, even though i do have great respect for it as a symbol of our nation, and i would be sad to see people disrespecting it.

laureth's avatar

The flag is a meaningful symbol, but itself is a patch of cloth and some thread. I think that to prevent the trashing of the flag, we’d have to trash that which the flag stands for, which would be the greater shame.

The freedom of speech and the glory that the flag represents are One. Without our freedoms, what would the flag be, but only a patch of cloth?

Jefferson wrote, ”...whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes…”

If Americans feel a need to burn the flag in protest, it usually means that the people upholding the flag are not doing their job. If the government is not upholding the Freedom that the flag represents, it has already been sullied far worse than any flagburners can. It is a wakeup call that what the flag symbolizes needs to be restored on a deeper level than just slapping the hands of protesters. It is a symptom of a deeper problem, and it needs to be addressed.

jrpowell's avatar

I don’t have a problem with burning the flag. People do worse things to it.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@alterego. You wanted me to explain why I have a problem with burning the American flag. I’m going on my 21st year as a member of the armed forces and I happen to be a very patriotic American.

I’m proud of our country and what it stands for (although our goverment needs a lot of work) and it just seems to me that desecrating the American flag is very disrespectful and disgusting.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@bluefreedom, Here is a really good wikipedia page on the flag desecration amendment that failed in 2006. This is a really interesting question, because during the Vietnam era, there was a lot of controversy around whether clothing incorpoating a flag design was desecration of the flag.

I would have to say that flag burning makes me sad, but it is a symbol, and the act of burning a flag is in itself a symbol of frustration. I would be more concerned about the ability for expression to be taken away. Who then, becomes the arbiter of “patriotism”?
What is the appropriate punishment? Imprisonment? Fines? Dousing the person on fire? How do you bridge to other things, like not singing the national anthem? Not putting your hand over your heart? Any time you open the door for one group to have authority over another, you set the stage for Taliban-like government to encroach.

laureth's avatar

Disrespectful and disgusting, yes.

However, removing the right to protest means that somehow, the terrorists have won.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@laureth. I understand that completely. That’s why I mentioned in my details above that I do respect that we have a Constitution that gives us all the rights that we have and the ability to exercise them.

I guess it is just hard for me to find a happy medium between the two.

galileogirl's avatar

I think people who burn the flag as a protest are fairly ineffectual and the symblism is passe. There are a lot of things that people do under the 1st amendment that I find personnally objectionable like people who spew obscenities like…..well like a bunch of drunken sailors. However the Constitution was not written to protect my refined sensibilities or yours. The Supreme Court ruled in Texas v Johnson that no state can make a law agaist desecration of the flag.

dalepetrie's avatar

A flag is a piece of fabric. It’s what the flag represents that’s important. And they can never destroy that by burning a piece of fabric.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@Bluefreedom, it’s hard the way the parable of the prodigal son is hard to get a good grasp on.

I tell you what makes me cringe even more, Bluefreedom. I was at a political rally, and there a young man, waving a flag, yelling “the U S of F——ING A is #1” And the crowd around him cheering. To me, that’s far worse than flag-burning, and far more disrespectful.

People who burn flags generally have complex issues with our government and its policies. They are disenfranchised.

alterego's avatar

What does the flag represent? I still don’t understand.

Does it simply represent American?

The word “America” also represents America. Is it more or less offensive if someone burns a piece of paper with “America” written on it? Is it better or worse than someone saying that they hate America? What about shredding the flag? Is there something particularly disrespectful about burning?

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I say this, as someone who had their phone tapped by our government for 2 weeks after 9/11. Without my consent. And no real cause. Criteria: I’m a naturalized citizen, born in Canada. My husband, whose family has lived on the same farm in KY from 1850 to 1990, travels one way flight segments for his job—4 cities in 5 days, every week. My nephew (husband’s side of the family) took a $20,000 class to learn to fly a 747.

dalepetrie's avatar

It represents the ideals of America, freedom is the thing that most quickly comes to mind. And I see a big paradox in saying that people have fought and died for your freedom of expression, to then deny people a particular form of freedom of expression.

My view of “patriotism” is “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

PupnTaco's avatar

It doesn’t bother me. I’d be more interested in the validity of their argument and why they had to make such a dramatic point.

And yeah, the flag has been more than desecrated by some of our poorly-considered actions around the world already.

galileogirl's avatar

Somehow I am less offended by symbolic desecretion of the flag than by real desecretion of the Constitution.

EmpressPixie's avatar

My feelings on the flag can best be summed up by a quote from The American President (a great movie and trivia: West Wing was born from left over pages of the script): You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can’t just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I had the distinct feeling that when I asked this question, it would end up being a little divisive and although it turned out to be just that (although not on an extreme scale by any means), there has been a lot of excellent and intelligent input from everyone. Thank you for that and for the thoughtful give and take.

buster's avatar

People that burn flags are wimps. I don’t think it should be illegal. But if you hate this country that much come on burning a cloth isn’t making much of a point nowadays. They think there daring and tough burning a flag. Burning a flag is easy. I think these protestors need to grow some balls and set themselves on fire or form a blockade around the capital building. Burning a flag is the equivalent of throwing spitballs in school. And another thing Im 26. Im going to vote for Obama even though I don’t like him or McCain. And I think Bush wasn’t the best president but I dont whine about him. All politicians, presidents, cops suck. But Im seeing a lot of young people who have never paid attention to politics their whole life. This group spouts off things like Bush sucks Obama is god. Not because they really believe this but because its the cool and trendy thing to say. If you believe it that is great but all you people who are acting like sheep and jumping on the bandwagon because someone else is telling you too your wrong. Your a bunch of sheep. This stuff is serious. Think for yourself. Young people who think for themselves this isn’t directed at you. But you people who chose your ideals so you fit in with the click at college or the coffeeshop your a mindless puppet. Same for people like my sisters who vote republican. They could care less and dont know the difference. But my father tells them how to vote. Does anyone understand what im saying?

La_chica_gomela's avatar

i know what you’re talking about, buster. i agree with you. i feel sorry for people who can’t think for themselves.

laureth's avatar

Buster, I agree – to a point. My grandfather was a gunner’s mate in the navy in WWII (like his father before him, in WWI) and then became a Detroit policeman whose tenure overlapped the riots in the late 60’s. He kept people safe and helped keep order, without which we (paradoxically) don’t have much freedom. He was not a jerk, and not all cops suck.

KatawaGrey's avatar

When I was younger, I was one of those kids who “hated” this country. Then i grew up and realized how good I have it here. I would never burn a flag. I don’t think people should have the right taken away, but I don’t think it is ever a good course of action. Ever. Honestly, if I thought it would stay contained to flag burning, I might want it outlawed, but everyone here knows that if that went, then there would other “little” things that became illegal and then “bigger” things until we had a full scale attack on the first ammendment.

Maybe that’s a little dramatic

aidje's avatar

First, let’s distinguish between idle rebelliousness and thoughtful indignation. Now ignore cases of idle rebelliousness, and assume that I’m talking about the thoughtfully indignant—not a kid with an anarchy symbol on their backpack because they hate their parents, but a person who has read and respects the likes of Howard Zinn, Tolstoy, and Jacques Ellul.

I would argue that flag-burning is one of the clearest enactments of that for which the flag stands. Thus, flag-burning is one of the highest honors that can be given to the flag. When a flag-burner is arrested, those who carry out and approve of the arrest are the ones who desecrate the flag. When a person burns the flag, they are not protesting the flag itself—they are usually protesting something that is being done in the name of the flag, but which is itself a desecration of the flag.

laureth's avatar

@KatawaGrey: That’s not as overly dramatic as you might think. It’s arguable that the little hole in the 4th Amendment (unreasonable search and seizure) that Mothers Against Drunk Driving opened with their breathalyzer checkpoints is what paved the way for things like the PATRIOT Act to become so easily accepted by the American public.

augustlan's avatar

I wouldn’t do it, and I may not agree with others who do, but it is their right to do so.

Bri_L's avatar

I just watched an interesting piece on Sunday Morning. It was about what Patriotism meant to us today. It was very interesting to see all the different things people said and more importantly what iconography they attached it to.

@ Bluefreedome – I thank you for your choice and for everything I have as a result of it. I am not nor have I ever been in the military but I would guess that anyone who is in it develops a much greater sense of affection for the flag than most of us civilians. I completely understand why you would be offended by someone burning the flag.

But it seems that you did what you did to defend America and all she stands for. I don’t agree with burning the flag. Not just because I feel it is an entirely negative image and completely infective for making your statement. But I do believe in people’s right to free speech.

There are a lot of other examples of free speech I don’t agree with ether. Hate filled ranting picketing and so forth. Things like the KKK.

As long as it isn’t endangering peoples safety. So be it.

AstroChuck's avatar

The flag is a symbol (and nothing more) that represents a nation that’s constitution allows it to desecrate it. Why do so many people have difficulty with that?

Bri_L's avatar

@ Astrochuck – Given that the flag is a symbol, as people can’t hold America up full size and all, I don’t think that it is being disputed that it is a right to burn the flag.

But surely you can understand why a solder or others would find that disturbing?

It is not unlike the Presidential race. I find the idea of Palin this close to the Presidency insane. But, others don’t that is their right and they have the right to vote for her.

jholler's avatar

I’m a combat veteran as well, with just under 16 years of service, and I came to terms with this question some time ago. I believe that it should be your right to burn my flag, and I have offered my life to defend that right. In return for my sacrifice, I expect you will understand that I will express my extreme displeasure rather quickly and efficiently should I happen to see you exercising that right.

Zaku's avatar

I’d feel like America would be much more abused by laws against people who try to express themselves by flag-burning, than by having the flag burned.

The America I was taught to value was “the land of liberty”.

imfreeimfree's avatar

Desecrating the flag is nasty. We are already in a state of self-hatred in America, all we need is loathing for the flag.

It’s illegal to chop up a dollar bill, yet no one would really get arrested for it. A flag law would be the same—unenforced unless someone went all McCarthy on people.

Burning our flag should just be unthinkable, in our hearts as Americans. Media should pride themselves on ignoring acts of flag-burning for the same reason they wouldn’t broadcast news alerts and helicopter shots of the latest graffiti: no glory for perpetrators.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@imfreeimfree, interesting you would say that about media coverage. Where I live, gang activity gets absolutely no press, unless someone is murdered. Then, the death is covered, but only in a minor way.

jrpowell's avatar

@imfreeimfree

“in our hearts as Americans.”

And why exactly should I be proud to be born here? My parents fucked here, should I be proud of that? If my father was still alive I would punch my father in the dick for not fucking my mom in France.

I don’t root for the local sports team because that is stupid. It is the same reason I don’t provide a “reach-around” for the country I was born in. Sweden sounds nice.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@johnpowell: are you proud of your family? I mean, you just happened to be born into it. You had no control, maybe you should have been born to that nice family next door, or that rich down the road.

If you are really that dissatisfied with the US, please bear two things in mind: 1) you are allowed to vocalize your distaste for the country and you won’t disappear the next day. 2) There are literally millions of people who want in. If you don’t like it that much, go to Sweden, and make room for one of the multitudes who want in.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I understand where johnpowell is coming from. There are a lot of disenfranchised young people in the country. They have been failed by families, by schools, by community. Their reference point is different. There’s whole generations where, with a 50% divorce rate, “traditional family” means single mom with kids.

When parents argue about child support or whose turn it is to take the kids for the weekend in front of the kids, what does that teach about family? When you have learning problems, but school doesn’t have adequate resources and your mom doesn’t make enough to pay for a tutor and your dad won’t pay it because it’s not in the divorce agreement, what does that teach about the system?

All I’m saying is that for a lot of people who are born here, life experience can foster disengagement. Coming as an immigrant you have the expectation of having to work hard to make a better life for yourself and your family. For people who are born here, the descent down the slippery slope catches them by surprise. Parents are not always aware of what they are teaching, and the foundations of a lot of things, including patriotism, are taught in the family.

MooKoo's avatar

I guess burning the flag is okay, but when it goes into really desecrating it, I don’t believe that it is a right. Afterall, the flag stands for our Nation, which without, we wouldn’t have the right to be able to burn the flag in the first place. People who have a problem with the government, need to get off their butts and do something in a peaceful way. Such as get into politics themselves and try to change something, instead of whining about their problems, rallying, and desecrating the very things that give them the right to be able to do all of that in the first place.

fireside's avatar

I think the biggest desecration of the US flag was when they used it as a book cover for the Patriot Act.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@MooKoo: People who have a problem with government DO get off their butts and do something about it in a peaceful way. They burn the flag in protest as the march on Washington. It is an established and valuable tradition. They usually also write the congressmen and senators and do other things to protest. Honestly, by the time someone is burning the flag, they’ve usually also done a LOT of other stuff to protest as well.

Also, stop rallying? Rallies give movements the momentum they need to go state-wide or national or whatever else. They are a valuable part of the process.

Believing that something can be better doesn’t mean you don’t think it is great right now. It just means you think it can be even better.

breedmitch's avatar

When a flag is worn out or no longer serviceable you’re supposed to give it to you’re local American Legion Post. The veterans there will dispose of it.
According to the US Flag Code

US Flag Code. TITLE 4 > CHAPTER 1 > Sec. 8(k). It states:

“The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning”

So veterans burn the American flag each day with no problem. This makes me think it’s the politics of “flag burners” they have a problem with, not the act itself.

Mizuki's avatar

I heard that if a Democrat is President then it is OK, even advisable to burn the flag. No?

Siren's avatar

fireside: I like your answer. I agree with all the commenters who subscribe to the notion that it is indeed “just a piece of cloth” and the symbolism behind it is what is important. Bluefreedom, I think you are passionate about your country but seem to indicate that above all, you would turn a blind eye towards what the government is/is not doing OVER criticizing it in any direct way. I believe people who are burning the flag are the same folk who are simply trying to get their message across about our government and its policies, NOT the country at large where we all live and work.

Obviously, if someone feels they hate the country strongly enough, they WILL leave. Apparently those who are staying are trying to change what they don’t like.

I think it’s somewhat petty and superficial to be “uptight” about flag-burning. Kind of reminds me of the haughtiness and “upper classman” attitude foreigners are always attributing us Americans with. Let’s forget the flag burning issue and focus on REAL issues which affect us all!

aidje's avatar

“Obviously, if someone feels they hate the country strongly enough, they WILL leave.”

That’s not necessarily true. Some people can’t afford to leave. Others value their communities or families too much to leave. Others may dislike this country, but not like any other country any more than this one. In that case, leaving would be pointless.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@Siren. I am passionate about our country and our rights and everything they stand for. I’m certainly not against someone being able to exercise their first amendment rights and I would never try to dissuade them otherwise.

I also understand that the flag is ‘just a piece of cloth’ but it is one that has a significant meaning for me because I look at it as a symbol or representation of America. Once again, I just find it disrespectful and it saddens me that someone would have to do bad things to our flag.

As far as our government is concerned, I definitely haven’t turned a blind eye toward their abject failure to competently run the country over the last 8 years (George Bush being the worst president we have EVER had) and I’ll be the first to criticize them. As a military member, I’ve had reason to be keenly aware of what the government has been doing (or failing doing in most cases when it is anything intelligent) and I’m looking for a responsible change in leadership (hopefully) after tomorrow’s election.

MooKoo's avatar

Just so you know Bluefreedom, Bush isn’t the worst President. Just so you know, he hasn’t been the one in control of the congress. Just so you know, it’s the democrats. Just so you know, Clinton along with the minorities of this nation, are the reason the economic is in the situation it is. Bush, in my opinion has been a great benefit to this country. If we were to have another Liberal in office, we would be having much worse problems than we are today.

Burning the flag in a form of protest isn’t right, because by doing so, you’re basically saying that you don’t stand for the government that is allowing you to have free speech. It’s as simple as that. Burning the flag to retire it, is a completely different thing. I’m an Eagle Scout, and therefore I have witnessed many flag burning ceremonies, been part of many flag burning ceremonies, and I get a good feeling from doing it. Reminds me of what this country can be, and what it has been in the past.

AstroChuck's avatar

Clinton along with the minorities of this nation…

MooKoo, are you for real? When is the next klan rally where you are?

EmpressPixie's avatar

Just so you know, MooKoo, your response was racist. Just so you know, MooKoo, it was also untrue. Just so you know, AstroChuck could have been using approval ratings by which GWBush is, in fact, the worst president we’ve ever had. Just so you know, his approval rating is the lowest a president has ever had. Just so you know.

breedmitch's avatar

@AC: Just so you know, some people get off on guns, Just so you know.

MooKoo's avatar

@AstroChuck: Yes. Who passed the law to get pretty much everyone in the nation a loan, so that they could get in a house? Clinton, and the congress that was governing with him. Who failed to pay back these loans, as pretty much any intelligent person would have guess, the minorities, that were living off the government pretty much in the first place. Now guess what, once again, the government is having to fix things.

Don’t you understand? The Liberal way of government is ridiculous. Give, give, give, and trust the people to do the best with what they’re given. Well, as long as you keep giving, they’re going to keep taking and never learn any better. Then you’ve got to fix everything, so you can continue to give.

Government needs to regulate what’s already there, not give and give and give.

@EmpressPixie: Eh’, what? It wasn’t racist. Why is it when someone mention the word minority, racism comes into play. We are a country of equal rights, right? Then get over what has happened in the past! It’s done, finished, we need to focus on what’s happening now. I honestly hope Obama makes it into presidency, and lives through his first term, just to show that there is some hope for this country, and that there can be tolerance. If he makes it though, I honestly fear for the man’s life. On the other side though, I’m afraid for what will happen to this country if he does make it. Number one, the man is a puppet, and nothing more really, and the men in control of the strings, are good at just that, pulling strings and pressing buttons. Number two, if he were to be assassinated, this country will be on the brink of civil war/mass chaos.

I’m not racist, at least I try not to be, but the definition of racism is so…blurred, anymore, that I’m not sure what it means to be racist anymore.

I like how you guise took the line, ‘Just so you know’, and ran with it. ;)

breedmitch's avatar

@MooKoo: Just so you know, my side is for more government regulation. (”Government needs to regulate what’s already there”)

MooKoo's avatar

@breedmitch: Glad to know I’m not the only one out there who believes so. :)

EmpressPixie's avatar

Because the appropriate way to refer to people who took those loans out—who came from all groups racial groups—would have been less educated and less affluent. Not “minority”. Many loan companies used incredibly underhanded tactics to get those loans out including saying that they were doing the paperwork for 30 year fixed mortgages while actually prepping ARM mortgage paperwork, then saying “sign here, here, here”.

While some of the loan takers are certainly at fault, equally if not more of the lenders are for using awful practices. All sides are to blame.

AstroChuck's avatar

MooKoo, you might want to stay away from the TV and radio tomorrow. It could be a little depressing for you.
Just so you know, a minority is likely to be your next president. There goes the neighborhood.

PupnTaco's avatar

Mookoo: check your facts about congress (GOP 2000–2004). There’s plenty of blame to go around on both sides.

EmpressPixie's avatar

A well educated, affluent minority member would not take out a loan s/he knew s/he could not afford. No one would. However, a poorly educated person when told “you can have a house if you just sign here” would go for it. And unfortunately in this nation that intersects greatly with minority members. But the issue was education. (And wealth. Someone who is poorly educated but incredibly rich might not care that they took out a stupid mortgage.)

The word “racism” is only coming into play here because you are inaccurately attributing something that relates to education to race. Ergo.. racism.

breedmitch's avatar

@MooKoo: And just so you know, I’m an uber-gay, Liberal, elitist, East Coast, blue state, socialist loving, media believing, Bush hating, Hope having, Democrat Faggot.
Happy election day!!

MooKoo's avatar

@AstroChuck: Just so you know, you’re sounding more of a racist than anyone participating in this conversation at the moment. You need to wake up and take a look around.

@breedmitch: K.

@EmpressPixie: Thank you for being mature and sharing an educated opinion about the topics under discussion. I completely agree that all sides are to blame. This can all be tracked back 30 years ago, or more. You start raising someone, and that person is always given everything, what’s the point for that person to get an education? There isn’t, because if he wants anything, he can just ask for it. Who’s fault is that? Why the government’s of course, for just giving to people who don’t deserve it. Life is tough, and people need to wake up and see that, but it’s like someone trying to quit smoking, it’s a habit. And when you have generations of minorities, and yes non-minorities as well, being raised in an environment where they’re just given what they need to live, well, that’s cool with them, but in the long run, it simply won’t work, as we’re finding out the hard way today.

My point is, when things are given to you, and you are raised to be happy with what is given to you, what’s the point of getting an education in that person’s mind? There is no reason, because they’re happy, to an extent with what they have, and what they’re given. And if they aren’t happy, well, then with an un-educated mind that they now possess, most of the time they turn to drugs, stealing what they want, and so on so forth. It’s just the way the mind operates when that is how it has grown and matured through out it’s young life.

Even if we were to take away all of this give me this and that, the people of this country I don’t believe would seek an education to get the things they now need and want, because they feel they can’t. Therefore, they turn to the thievery, and the police force that would be required to control what I feel would be mass chaos, simply doesn’t exist.

The people of this country need a good slap in the face, and a solid role-model to look up to. A role-model that most of the country simply doesn’t have, in their home life, where it is needed the most of all.

MooKoo's avatar

@PupnTaco: Sorry, I didn’t see your response. You are correct, there is blame on all sides. For the last four years though, it has been the Dems in control. There are corrupt on all sides. That’s why I like to just title the government as the government instead of the splitting of Democrats and Republicans. That’s nigh impossible to do though. lol You kinda’ just have to name people, and not just their party. ;)

breedmitch's avatar

So.. We’re burning flags?? We’re not burning flags?? Where do we stand?

MooKoo's avatar

@breedmitch: Well, I think I’ve made my point clear that I believe you should only burn a flag when retiring it. Even when doing this though, it should be done with care and have it’s own ceremony.

Otherwise, it’s a disgrace to the nation to which allows us to have soo much! Including the right to even express yourself in the form of burning the flag.

jholler's avatar

I am enjoying this thoroughly, and not only because I’m not on the receiving end. In all fairness though, I do have to point out that “minority” doesn’t always mean black.

augustlan's avatar

@MooKoo: The amount of people going on to higher education has increased a great deal in the recent past, minorities included. I think your logic is flawed with regard to people not seeing a need to get an education.

AstroChuck's avatar

I fucking hate patriotism. It’s a round world last time I checked.

jholler's avatar

I fucking hate disloyalty, unappreciativeness, apathy, the UN, fundamentalist muslims who kill my friends, mosquitoes, and the sound corderuoy (sp?) pants make, so there.

galileogirl's avatar

Do you hate all these things equally? Is this all you hate? I think if you want to share things you hate, you may want to make it more comprehensive and a little organization might help.

For example, I think you might also hate intellectuals, brussel sprouts and getting newspaper ink on you hands as well as many other things and in listing them you might try alphabetically. That way we can all more easily check your list against ours.

Another idea would be by degree of hate. In order of strength of hatred is disloyalty really worse than murderous fundamentalist Muslims as you seem to indicate on you list? Or maybe you don’t hate murderers more than the sound of corderoy as long as they aren’t killing your friends.

Anyhow, thanks for sharing.

jholler's avatar

actually, that’s just a random sampling. I’ve seen too many polls.

noraasnave's avatar

This dilemma with the Flag is really interesting. On one hand the 1st Amendment was meant to protect our freedoms. However, the Flag means different things to different people groups.

To the Iraqis the American flag means liberation in many places or military occupation in other parts.

To the people that burn it, they use the flag to express their feelings in a somewhat shocking fashion.

To the Marine that has seen the Flag draped in honor over hundreds of fallen friends and comrades it holds a entirely different meaning. The flag speaks to us of integrity, sacrifice, obedience to a higher standard, a harder life, divorce, fatherless children, husbandless widows, Grieving parents, as much more than my feeble words can express.

This seems to be the ‘rub’. It is very sad, that we as Americans at all levels have lost the ability to step outside of ourselves and see the flag from someone else’s perspective. We are callous and insensitive to everyone’s opinion or expressions but our own.

It speaks too clearly about Americans, that instead of investing our lives into the flag to make it mean more than the sum of its part, we now use the flag as a cheap, shocking expression of how unhappy we are with policy. What have you given to make the flag mean something? What have you sacrificed? What are you willing to?

There will always be many that will keep asking what the country can do for me, and there will always be a few that quietly give thier lifeblood to make our flag mean something, even if only to them and their family.

laureth's avatar

I guess we must consider what, exactly, our soldiers fight and spill blood for – the piece of cloth, or the government behind it.

If they’re fighting for my country and its ideals, I will support them as well as I am able, call them heroes, and thank them from my heart for the freedoms they preserve when fighting in a just and warranted war.

If they are fighting for the piece of cloth more than for the freedom, well, that makes me wonder what could possibly be so worthy about the nylon. It looks more idealistic than real. And while I am honored that they would fight for a symbol, what would mean more to me is fighting for freedom.

jholler's avatar

Ultimately, we’re fighting for the man next to us, nothing less. We serve however, for the American way of life that the flag represents, not the piece of cloth itself. I know it’s just a piece of cloth, and as I said before, I believe in your right to express yourself by burning it. But don’t try to tell me you’re only burning a piece of cloth…when done in protest, you’re symbolically destroying the way of life I’ve fought to guarantee you, and you’re shitting on my memory of good men and women who willingly offered their own lives to secure that right.

MooKoo's avatar

@laureth: What they’re fighting for, and why they’re fighting for are two different things. They’re asked to serve their country for which that flag stands for, and that is why they’re fighting. They’re fighting though, for everything that they know and hold dear. They’re fighting for their lives, and the lives of all of those who have made any significant positive impact upon their life. And all of that, is due in thanks to the great nation that America is, and the flag is a representative/symbol of all that.

@augustian: Really? That’s interesting, because I have heard nothing of this, but it begs the question, if so, what are they doing with their education? Are they graduating? Are they using it to get a better job after school? It’s not all about just going to school, because I know the government pays minorities to go to school, but that money that they’re given, what is it going towards?

My neighbor’s son is enrolled in a local community college, and takes just enough classes to get by. Why just enough? Because as long as he is in school, the government will give him a check for $1,000.00 every month. Therefore, he’s not really in school, for say school, he’s there because he’s basically getting more free money for going.

Yes, this is only a small example, but I can’t help but to believe that there are many more doing just as my neighbor is, and collecting all the freebies they can.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@MooKoo, I’m not following your point about education? My husband collected social security while in college because his deceased father paid into the system. He stayed in school through law school, and collected $860 a month 35 years ago. My daughter went to college on a full academic scholarship and was paid $8,000 a year for living expenses; she got that because she worked her ass off academically, and was accepted to two law schools at age 18.

Both my daughter and my husband fit your description of “free money for going”. What tis your point?

jholler's avatar

I invested in the Montgomery GI Bill when I first enlisted, now I’m a full-time student (in addition to full-time firefighter) and I get money from the government “just for going” as well. $1321 a month for up to 36 months isn’t bad for a $1200 investment 16 years ago.

Siren's avatar

@Astrochuck: I fucking hate patriotism. It’s a round world last time I checked.

I couldn’t agree more. By the way Mookoo, we’re ALL immigrants to this country. And minorities aren’t the only demographic getting handouts by the government.

Come back with some stats—or get outta’ fluther by noon!

galileogirl's avatar

What? Gunfight at the Fluther corral. When is the movie coming ouy?

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

<—- and some of us are more immigrant than others.

Here’s sample questions from the old test and from the current version.

NO CHEATING!

Bluefreedom's avatar

I just took the old test (and I did not cheat), and I answered 85% of the questions correctly.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I just took the current version (and I did not cheat here either), and I answered 85% of these questions correctly also.

BTW, thanks for posting those, Alfreda.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

You’re welcome! :-)

Siren's avatar

@Galileo: The movie is coming out after the elections, apparently. :)

EmpressPixie's avatar

I got 100% of the new one, but 85% of the old one. Of the three I missed, one was what form I would have filled out to become a citizen which had I needed to fill it out, I doubt I would have missed.

Didn’t cheat on either of them.

MooKoo's avatar

@AlfredaPrufrock: See, there is the difference between your husband and my neighbor. He went to school for the purpose of getting an education, and got the education, and put the welfare system to a good use. Used it for the exact purposes and reasons for which it was created. The only problem is, is that there are soo many people like my neighbor, just simply trying to pull one over on the welfare system, and they are doing it. Open your eyes, and quit being so self-centered. Please.

By the way, a full academic scholarship, is different than the welfare program from the government. That money is a scholarship from the school and your daughter honestly earned that money.

@Siren: No, we’re not. That’s a load of tripe. This country wasn’t here before the pilgrims came, for they created the country. How can you be an immigrant to something you created. We are immigrant’s to the land, not the country. Some of us are immigrants yes, but if you are born in the country, or can trace you lineage to the birth of this country, you are most definitely, not, an immigrant.

laureth's avatar

The pilgrims didn’t create the country, they just settled here. Otherwise, the Mayflower Compact would be the law of the land, and not one of many failed experiments on the road to the writing of the Constitution.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

The only non-immigrants are the Native Americans.

laureth's avatar

LaChica, ...and they came over from Siberia. ;)

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Actually, that’s only a theory, there’s no conclusive evidence of it.

laureth's avatar

Where do you think they came from?

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Where do you think Europeans came from? Where do you think Africans came from? Were do you think Asians came from? Where do you think the universe came from?

The way I see it, we’re still figuring that out, and we don’t know for sure yet. Laureth when I made the statement, it was in support of your arguements that are actually related to this thread.

I don’t want to argue with you about this. I think we’re just looking at two different sides of the same coin, and it’s pretty tangential to the question at hand.

EDIT: P.S. very interesting article, Breedmitch, I’ll definitely read it.

laureth's avatar

Um… Africa, actually. I wasn’t getting into a religious debate. But it’s pretty clear that people originated in Africa and spread out from there.

fireside's avatar

I always figured that we must have been shuttled here when the planet between Mars and Earth was destroyed. But that is just a theory, there’s no conclusive evidence : )

Or maybe the Tigris-Euphrates river basin, dunno.

breedmitch's avatar

@la chica: I highly suggest Journey of Man. An amazing PBS documentary that shows, through DNA sequencing, exactly how and when man populated different areas of the planet.
The way I (and science) see it, we do know…

fireside's avatar

lol, wait, laureth, are you saying the universe came from Africa?

laureth's avatar

@fireside: no, just homo sapiens sapiens

MooKoo's avatar

@laureth: The pilgrims were the beginning of this country. No, they didn’t found it, but they are the ancestors of those that did create it. Also, notice near the end of my post, that I said you need only trace your lineage to the birth of the country, the United States. The pilgrims, were the ones who took the first steps though. ;)

fireside's avatar

aha, the known universe : )

laureth's avatar

If you count the Pilgrims, you should also count the Jamestown folks who were here to make a buck and the criminals shipped to Georgia.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

—after reading through the article, i concede that i was mistaken…i should have never listened to russell means…)

EmpressPixie's avatar

If you talk to some of the folks in VA today, it was really all the original Virginians that made America. Everyone else can go hang.

I say this very lovingly, my mother’s family is there.

galileogirl's avatar

Since part of my family was in VA in 1634 I guess they made the country along with the German-speaking relatives who landed in PA in 1720, in Irish from Sweden Chicago in 1870 and Ireland 1885 and in California from Asia in 1945 and 1965.

Siren's avatar

@Bluefreedom: If you did well on the citizenship tests, how does that prove you are less of an immigrant than others, when ALL immigrants to the US must pass it anyways to be citizens? This only means, following logic, that you are at the very least AS much an immigrant (and not more!) than they are.

I am glad you bothered to take the test, however. Should we all take the test periodically to prove our dedication to this country? Would that appease those upset about the flag-burning/demoliting/desecration?

AstroChuck's avatar

Incidentally, only some of the settlers from the Mayflower were pilgrims. A good potion of them were not. The religious pilgams referred to these other settlers as “The Strangers.”

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@Mookoo, I curious to know how you know your neighbor’s son is bilking the system, and only doing just doing enough to get by? I would also like to know the name of the government program that he’s going to school under, because I work with teens and I have several that are college material but have no way to pay for it.

MooKoo's avatar

@AlfredaPrufrock: My neighbors are good people, don’t get me wrong. They are black, which for some reason, means they are still a minority, when in my opinion, blacks are no longer a minority group. Anywho, I don’t know the name of the program. Sorry, but I’ll see if I can find out. By doing enough to just get by, I mean going to school for five years for a two-year degree, not working on the side, and just collecting whatever he can from the government, and sitting on his butt at home. How is he still in the school, well, its Wallace Community College, one of the most corrupt Community Colleges I have ever seen. Especially the one in this city. He’s a good guy, but just thinks that living off the government is fine, and it isn’t. Their are others who, like your teenagers you are working with, are ready and WANT to go to college, but can’t because they don’t have the fund. This kind of thing sickens me, and is my reasons for my strong hatred of the welfare system. It’s good, but it’s corrupt and needs to seriously be… renovated.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@MooKoo: Minority status is given based on fact (blacks only represent 12.8% of the US population according to the 2004 census) or treatment by the perceived majority (women actually represent slightly more than 50% of the population but are considered a minority because of historical lack of empowerment and continued struggles for equal rights and treatment). 80.4% of the American population is white.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@Siren. How did you connect my taking the citizenship tests to anything about immigrants? I didn’t even post any comments about immigration or immigrants, anywhere. As far as people taking the citizenship test periodically to prove dedication, that’s solely on you. No one prompted a reaction like that from you.

As far as appeasing those of us that are distressed about the treatment of the American flag by some, we don’t need to be appeased and we never asked to be. We’re here just to voice our opinion and join in a spirited debate. It is okay for me to have an opinion, right Siren?

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@MooKoo, a friend’s son only graduated because he realized he couldn’t be 26 and in college, with 20 year old girlfriend who graduated. I think some of it comes from not knowing what to do, and being clueless about how to launch themselves into adulthood. Boys have it harder than girls; it’s exactly like Catcher in the Rye.

Siren's avatar

@Blue: I connected your answer to Alfreda’s question:

Your answer:
I just took the current version (and I did not cheat here either), and I answered 85% of these questions correctly also. BTW, thanks for posting those, Alfreda.

With Alfreda’s question/comment:

<—- and some of us are more immigrant than others.
Here’s sample questions from the old test and from the current version.NO CHEATING!

In answering the question (if we decide to follow some logic here), you acknowledged there is a “link” between doing well on the citizenship test and being “less” of an immigrant.

Either that, or you just wanted to WOW! us with your great score. Or, you’re veering off topic yourself. Your own question. Take your pic ;)

Is this not a spirited debate? Take a deep breath Blue. I won’t burn the flag in front of you. Promise.

Bluefreedom's avatar

Well, it was a stretch for you to connect the two. If you’re WOW’d by my great score, then that is just you because others read my posts for the content of them and not anything to do with score. As far as me veering off topic, um, no. It is a spirited debate and it looks like it’s going to remain that way. Take a deeper breath, Siren, and try to enjoy yourself here. Fluther isn’t the end all, be all of anyone’s existence.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@bluefreedom are bonding. :-P teeheehee

Bluefreedom's avatar

Maybe I’m just too uptight and I need to agree to disagree better. Sorry for being all jacked up everyone. :o)

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I meant to say you and are bonding. :-)

augustlan's avatar

@Alfreda: I think you’re still missing a word in there…

Siren's avatar

And on my part, I apologize for provoking you Bluefreedom. I will now commence self-flagellation to display my morose…no dirty jokes, please

Bluefreedom's avatar

No worries, Siren. :o)

It wasn’t a bad exchange between us, just spirited like we mentioned previously. On another website (which shall remain nameless) that I visit less and less these days, I’ve been witness to discussions that break down into arguments, trollish type behavior, name calling, and things of this nature.

That’s why I like Fluther so much because people are so easy to talk to and get along with, it is moderated very well, and the whole atmosphere is just so relaxed and easy going.

Siren's avatar

I like this bird!

@AlfredaPruFrock
Please tell us what you were trying to say. The anticipation is killing me literally

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Okay, okay…I will spit it out and proofread it to boot…maybe I need to use my normal vocabulary. Here’s the official statement:

“In spite of starting out on what appears to be oppositional opinions, Bluefreedom and I have found that we have a great deal of common ground in our thinking, and respect for the other’s point of view. We’re bonding.”

Lordy, that was difficult… teeheehee

Bluefreedom's avatar

Difficult maybe, but you made it sound very cool, Alfreda, and that works just fine for me! :o)

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