Monday, January 16, 2006

Ms. Underestimated: GA Girl Cries "I'm sorry" for Flag Display

Ms. Underestimated: GA Girl Cries "I'm sorry" for Flag Display

Ok, How did I miss this one.

Lets begin with the following given if we may: I love the flag of The United States of America. Let me repeat this I LOVE THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!
I do not love the flag because it is a work of art. I do not love the flag because it is made of particularly nice material. I do not love the flag because it has interesting geometric patterns.

I love the flag because of what it embodies. I love the flag because of the form of government it represents. I love the flag because of the freedom it guarantees. I love the flag because it is such a mighty symbol for all the things I stand for. I love the flag because in our country, someone can denigrate the flag and it still means everything I just discussed because when someone denigrates it, without penalty, it flys higher still. In other words: burn it, stomp it, curse it, hate it, you can never kill what it stands for, as long as those that love it care enough about it, to let you do it.

Now I have had more than one chance to debate people who think that flag denigration is the equivilent of treason. I am of another thought. I believe that flag denigration is the equivilent of an acknowledgement or even an ersatz respect for the flag's symbol of the guarantee of the freedom of speech.

When someone burns or stomps on a flag, it makes me angry. When someone wears the flag as a patch on their jeans I have to admit I wonder about their good taste. When I see a tatered flag flying I usually will go up to the person in charge of flying the flag and remind them of how to fly the flag, and try to get them to replace it. I have even bought a couple of flags for people who love them so much that they'd rather fly a tattered flag than not fly one at all (often these people are the widows of Vets who are too old to be able to afford to replace their flag, but are flying it to remember their loved one and his service to our nation.)

However if we are ever stupid enough to outlaw flag denigration, then I will be the first to suffer arrest for burning her. I have too much respect for her, than to let those who would pay lip service to her symbol of freedom, quiet her powerful voice of dissent.

The post from MS. Underestimated is about a little girl (age 9)who loved the flag so much that she and her little sister painted one on a rock. Can you imagine the pride she must have felt in her accomplishment? Can you imagine how much pride she must feel in her flag to have taken the time to paint the symbol of freedom on this rock? Can anyone tell me how this little girl's work has tarnished the flag. Can you imagine what she feels now?

I have news for the Town Attorney in Duluth Ga. If someone paints a swatstika on a building and you prosecute him for the speech, OUR FLAG PROTECTS HIS SPEECH!!!
Now he may argue that his speech is being singled out as graffitti. He may claim that your refusal to take down the American flag makes his point that patriotic speech is protected and his is not. I do not think that is such a colorable claim. There is no doubt that the city could accept an American Flag as a gift and yet be in its right to refuse to accept the swatstika as a gift. No one can stop him from flying his disgraced flag (which by the way is a Hindu peace symbol misappropriated by the Nazi's) on private property. However he cannot force the government to fly it for him.

Guys who wave the flag are nice. The 81 year old vet who objected to the "rock" flag display in Duluth Ga. is proud of his service and proud of his country. He fought for the nation that flys that flag. The sad thing is, he just doesn't understand what he fought for. He has no concept of the Freedom that the flag represents.

If you love this country, you have to accept as part of it's fabric that someone else can come in and say they hate it. If you love this country, then you have to accept that someone else can come along and criticize it. If you love this country, then you have to accept that someone will come along and want to burn the symbol of the very freedom that gives him the right to burn the symbol to begin with. If that seems like a tautology, then I dare say you just don't get it.

There are many ways to show how much you love this country. Fighting a foreign enemy is one way. Fighting those that want to limit our liberty in the name of our honor is another. Today, in this column, I am fighting that fight. If I was on the city council of Duluth Ga. I would have moved that we place a small fence around the rock upon which that little girl's flag it is painted. This way the only people who would step on it are those that mean to do so. I would look at it as often as I can, and I would remind those that did step on it purposely, that the flag is so great, it lets them do that, and still keeps its honor.
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