Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Blog, burner, blog

First, there's this from the Washington Post:

The Citizens Flag Alliance, a group pushing for the Senate this week to pass a flag-burning amendment to the Constitution, just reported an alarming, 33 percent increase in the number of flag-desecration incidents this year. The number has increased to four, from three.
Next, a few thoughts from the smart folks at

Flags mean nothing when what they stand for has been taken away. - 5000gallonsoftoothpaste

The day they ban flag burning is the day a million flags get burned in protest. - Dimensiation

I support the amendment because I used to believe in God, but then my church burned down and now I don't. - quietbs

"Countless men and women have died defending that flag," said Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., closing two days of debate. "It is but a small humble act for us to defend it."

"Our country's unique because our dissidents have a voice," said Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii. "While I take offense at disrespect to the flag," he said, "I nonetheless believe it is my continued duty as a veteran, as an American citizen, and as a United States senator to defend the constitutional right of protesters to use the flag in nonviolent speech."

Ten-point Toss-up: Which Senator above lost an arm in military service to this country and received the Medal of Honor? Hint: it's not Frist. - Cardinal

I hate people who burn our flag, but I love that I live in a country where people have the right to do it. I may not agree with your choices, but I'll fight to the death to defend your right to make them. That's what being an American is all about. - smuj

Like George Carlin says, leave the symbols to the symbol-minded. - rga143

You do not have a constitutional right to not be offended. - bloodfart

I fail to see what all the fuss is about. Americans should have the same right to burn their flag as any foreigner. - jamspoon

When do we get to start burning foreigners? - cabbyman, responding to jamspoon
Then there’s this amusing exchange I heard, of all places, on the Rush Limbaugh show yesterday:

“Rush, how come it’s okay for someone to burn a flag but it’s not okay for me to beat the hell out of that person for doing it?” - Caller

“Um, because that would be battery, my friend. There are laws about hurting people. The flag is an inanimate object. It doesn’t have feelings.” - Rush
Next: A classic quote from the movie "The American President":

America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've got to want it bad, because it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil who is standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the 'land of the free'? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the 'land of the free.'
And last, from yours truly: We’re blessed to live in a country that still values individual freedom. This freedom is available to everyone; it's a precious and rare thing.

If we can’t see eye to eye on the flag amendment, let’s at least agree that four flag burners so far this year does not constitute a national crisis.

What’s the real crisis? Conservatives losing political ground due to a lack of strong leadership in the White House.

So they drag out the issues guaranteed to motivate their base: Flag burning, abortion, and gay marriage.

And like dogs drooling at a bell, all the patriotic and God-fearing citizens are outraged. They write letters, call radio stations, comment on blogs – and most importantly – vote their candidates back into office.

The conservatives celebrate by doing little more than granting themselves pay raises and sharing the wealth with their high-powered friends via tax cuts until it’s time for re-election, when they pound the pulpits, play on emotions and claim once again they are the only ones protecting the flag and babies and the sacred institution of marriage.

To me, there’s nothing more despicable than an elected leader who betrays public interest – hell, betrays the Constitution – for political and personal gain.

True freedom means recognizing when you’re being manipulated.

True freedom only gets stronger with diversity and dissension.

Anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t deserve to live here.
I am listening to: Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues - Eels
I am reading: Not much
And I am: A proud American


You know who.... said...

Believe it or not, I agree with most of what you say, and I fully agree that the freedoms we enjoy here should continue to include the freedom for a handful of dildos to burn a flag once in a while. These flag-burning-fuck-stains do serve a purpose here. They give card carrying conservatives like me something to bitch about, thus exercising my rights of free speech.

The problem with free speech, on the grand scale, is two fold (and no I am NOT against free speech)
1) often times the people exercising this constitutionally protected right don't know what the fuck they're talking about, and/or their views are extreme and self serving.

You , or other bleeding heart liberals like you, will argue that people are smarter than I give them credit for and that the people who take the time to protest are doing so out of devotion and dedication to their cause (whether you or I agree with that cause or not) and that they have a solid understanding of what they're fighting for. Horse-hockey! Do you really think that even half of the people participating in the immigrant march really knew what they were there for? Do you think that even 10% of them have so much as a cursory understanding of the pros and cons of what they're marching for? Or were most of them there because someone told them to go, march, and carry a sign. The ONLY thing most of those people really understood was "this may help me get my papers". extreme and self serving to say the least.

2) the people listening to these fucking whackos aint smart enough to learn both sides of the issue before forming their opinions.

Take the your frequent target, the hate-mongering-ass-hats for example. Sure, you and I understand they're full of shit, but everyone who passes their little brainwashing-lemonade-stand aint as smart and savvy as us. Take the Klan for another example. the average Klansman knows very little other than "daddy says we godda hate the darkies". (Daddy also said "it's ok when Uncle Lester makes you rub his privates", but said we shouldn't talk about that outside the family) But Billy-Joe-Inbred can organize a rally and tell the adorning crowds that they too must band together and fight for what's white. And somewhere in the crowd there's a lost soul or two looking to fit-in and belong to something, and decides that Billy-Joe-Inbreed and Bobby-Lee-Monobrow must know what they're talking about (and damn don't they look bitchin in those robes and hats!). More disturbing than any of that is the fact that the top dogs in the clan (the 2 or 3 Klansman with an IQ higher than 60) all realize that the rallies will prompt a lot of attention and they'll get the free advertising, know to many as the 10 O'clock news. So their message and the appeal of the snappy uniforms goes out to a much wider audience.

The immigrant march through the Loop last month generated a lot of interest and emotional support from bleeding hearts sect. People were fascinated by the number of marchers and the peaceful way they voiced their opinions. One bleeding-heart blogger described "hopeful brown eyes and lots of smiles". But very few people will ever really take the time to learn and understand the counter argument (aka: the immigration act) or full social and economic impact of handing out citizenship cards like candy thrown from a parade float. Taking the time to understand all the counter arguments just doesn't have the same dramatic appeal as watching a hundred thousand 'smiles and hopeful brown eyes" take over the Loop. Now what if a hundred thousand conservatives took to the streets in a counter protest? Think the spectators would be equally accommodating? How long to you think it would take before shouts of "racist" echoed from the onlookers? The media attention would be similar to that of a Klan rally. But as they say, there's no such thing as bad press' so maybe I'll organize the counter march later this summer.

One last word on this idiotic, albeit constitutionally protected issue of flag burning.
My favorite example of someone expressing their rights of free speech on this issue was a great big biker dude in Sturgis wearing a large American Flag patch on his jacket with the caption :
Try burning this one mother fucker!