A Discussion on Burning The American Flag - Let's Keep It Civil (1 Viewer)


A new beginning
Oct 28, 2014
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Tampa FL
So I saw a bunch of military vets flipping their shit on facebook over someone burning an American flag and applauding a guy who attacked the flag burner, and it prompted me to start this discussion.

A lot of the vets arguments were that the flag burners were disrespecting our country, or the soldiers contributions in protecting democracy and freedom.

I come from a family with a pretty heavy military background (on both mine and my wifes side, covering the army, navy and marines)

I have never served, and am not personally offended by someone burning the US flag, although I would not do it myself. Likewise, I don't take any great pride in our flag, and I'm not absorbed in the cult of military/hero worship. I don't envy the jobs of soldiers and certainly wouldn't want to do it myself (I'll stick to videogames or paintball, thank you very much!) but my not caring about our flag doesn't mean I hate our troops. On the contrary, I support our troops (stop sending them off to godforsaken countries where the only good they're doing is lining the pockets of overpaid government contractors)

Here are my arguments:

1. If you support the assault of a U.S. citizen that is burning the U.S. flag, then you oppose freedom of speech and expression, the very rights you claim our soldiers are protecting/defending, no? In addition, it just lends validity to those that argue that the military is full of brainwashed jarheads who only know violence and have little else to offer to our nation or society except to be sent off to 3rd world nations as fodder.

2. Do you honestly believe that the soldiers sent overseas were "protecting freedom & democracy"? and keeping us "safe from terrorism"? I would counter that none of these were the real goals or accomplishments of their deployments, regardless of what those in power would tell you, and may have actually done the exact opposite of those stated goals.

3. Do you honestly believe the soldiers deployed were protecting our "flag"? Does our flag matter more than our people?

4. Those burning the flag are not necessarily doing it out of hate towards soldiers, our "nation" as a whole, etc. My belief is that the majority are doing it because they are disenfranchised with the current ruling class and the direction they have steered our nation. They are tired of all the corruption in government and our legal system and are acting out because, at least for the moment, it's a nation that is more free than many out there today.

5. This is where you'll probably argue that I'm right about this nation being more free than others and that those who don't like it should go overseas and see how they like it there better and that'll teach em! So essentially you're saying they aren't entitled to wish for our nation to be better, or to be permitted to express their dissatisfaction with the current system freely and without threat of oppression.
You'd likely get the same reaction from the same people if you burned a Bible in front of them. But I don't think they could really argue that that should be illegal. To me, it's exactly the same.

Now given that, burning a flag OR Bible is a pretty crappy, non-constructive thing to do. I have NO understanding why anyone would feel the need to do this (regardless of their personal beliefs) when they could, like, go play a video game, or go get drunk, or whatever instead.
Flag burning is a real life example of someone trying to get you on tilt. Your best interest is normally served by not going on tilt, either in a poker game or in real life.

Ok, so someone has an opinion I really don't like. That is not too uncommon, though the flag burning is a bit dramatic. Still, I don't have any proper reason to become violent or over react in other ways. The burners want an over-the-top response and I am not going to give it to them. The best way to extinguish the behavior is to ignore it. It might not be so easy to do, but not giving the flag burner what he/she wants is the best weapon. Not to mention, you will stay out of jail etc. by not responding violently.


PS What does piss me off are people flying badly tattered / soiled flags. Back in my days as Scout Master, we would go all over town trying to get those types of flags down and properly disposed of. Most folks were easy to talk into giving up the bad flags but every so often we would get a stubborn one.
Agree with the replies here. The flag is just a symbol. George Carlin does a great job of giving a similar viewpoint to Hicks. Protest by burning a flag? What a pussy. You want to stage a demonstration, do it like they did in Nam and light yourself on fire!
'The United States Flag Code (4 USC Sec 8 Para (k) Amended 7 July 1976) states: "The Flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning." '

It's just a symbol. And I haven't saluted that symbol, or the national anthem, since the day I returned from Vietnam, and realized what a sucker I'd been. Or recited the religion-infested pledge of allegiance since 1954.

Sadly, I can't avoid using the religion-infested currency. :(

Family and friends are what matter. Larger conglomerations, not so much.
Maybe those flag-burners simply felt it was no longer a fitting emblem (nothing to do with the flag's condition, however), and were merely destroying it with dignity. Certainly doesn't sound like they were breaking the law...

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