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Making a politial statement with the flag—Part 2

barackhusseinobama.jpgTwo particular flag stories have dominated the news this past week. I didn’t include either in the daily news roundup, because the news policy of The Daily Flag is to bring you the flag news you’re not seeing. Both of these two stories bear some comments though.

No sooner had I written an article about the American flag not making a political statement, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama strives to make a political statement with the American flag. The link contains a video clip of Obama saying this, himself, in context. Make sure and watch it.

Obama Won’t Wear American Flag Pin | KCRG-TV9 Cedar Rapids, Iowa | News
Obama says he doesn’t like how the pin has come to represent patriotism in America.

The senator told TV-9, “I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest, instead I’m going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great. Hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism.”

Obama’s statement above is proof that many politicians don’t get it. He thinks it’s bad that the American flag pin represents patriotism. What? Here is the definition of patriotism.

patriotism, noun: love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it

How should I extrapolate from Obama’s statement? He wants to be President of the United States, but considers this fundamental form of patriotism to be political. Wearing the American flag in the form of a flag pin does represents patriotism, plain and simple. It doesn’t represent politics. Will Obama’s words represent patriotism or politics? What I want now is an explanation of what he finds objectionable about the US Flag Code.

The United States Flag Code (Section 8(j)permits Americans to “wear” the flag in two ways. One way is in the form of a flag patch. The guidelines for wearing a flag patch on clothing are detailed and specific, and most of us do not meet the criteria. But all Americans can wear a flag pin if they want to.

The other story garnering more than its share of the limelight is the removal of the Mexican flag in Reno, Nevada. This link provides live unedited video of what happened, just check the box labeled “Mexican Flag Flown Above Stars and Stripes at Local Business” and then “Play All Checked.” If you have trouble, here is another link.

Channel 4 Local News and Weather for Reno-Tahoe Region: Flag of Mexico Flown Over U.S. Flag at Reno Business
mexican-americanflags.JPGOn Monday afternoon we received a call from a KRNV News 4 viewer who said a business near downtown Reno was flying a Mexican flag above an American flag… which is in fact illegal.

To read the relevant Federal law, please click here.

This, after photos and comments about the flag were posted on Craigslist this morning. When we were able to have a photographer go and check everything out we found the story to be true.

It also didn’t take long before the situation provoked a strong reaction. If you click on the video link in this story we will show you , unedited, what happened.

I’ve looked at dozens of articles about this, trying to get the whole story. That’s been a difficult task, but I’ll try to decipher it all.

U.S. Immigration officials have been raiding local restaurants, picking up illegal aliens and deporting them back to Mexico, all according to U.S. law. These actions have stirred up a hotbed of protests from Legal immigrants and citizens alike. The local schools have witnessed protests from Mexican-American students, as well.

In the midst of all this emotion and political firestorm, a Mexican-American citizen bought two new flags for the flag pole outside his restaurant. (I don’t find any reference to any “raids” on his place of business) When the flags arrived, he ran them up the pole, Mexican flag first, flying it above the American flag.

Someone alerted a local television station about the scene and they dispatched a camera crew to the site, and upon arriving, they were met by Jim Brossard and his KA-BAR army knife. He proceeded to cut the hoist ropes to get to the flags. He left the Mexican flag on the sidewalk and took the American flag with him.

Later Brossard showed up on Fox News, interviewed by Neil Cavuto, explaining why he had done it. This link will take you to that short interview.

Video: Vet Who Cut Down Mexican Flag Flying Over US Flag Explains Why He Did It at Ian Schwartz
A veteran who cut down a Mexican flag illegally flown on top of the US flag is facing charges! Rep. Jim Brossard explains how he heard about the flag and why he did what he did:

Later off-camera interviews with the restaurant owner, provided these details.

  • He didn’t know it was against the law to fly another country’s flag above the U.S. flag
  • He had done it to show support for the illegal aliens.
  • No one approached him about the flags, either to remove or change it

At this point, everyone is wondering which side of this issue I will support. Let’s look at the different dimensions to this episode.

  1. A volatile situation was present with the protests and demonstrations
  2. The U.S. Flag Code details flag etiquette
  3. The U.S. Flag Code doesn’t provide for enforcement or penalties
  4. The Supreme Court has ruled almost everything comes under Free Speech
  5. The U.S. is founded on private property rights
  6. American citizens are guaranteed the right of peaceful demonstration
  7. No one spoke with the restaurant owner before cutting the flags down
  8. Brossard is an Army veteran

Lining up this set of facts brings into focus—both men were wrong. The restaurant owner shouldn’t have added fuel to an already volatile situation, and Brossard should have respected the rights of the individual, whom he once served to protect. The restaurant owner wasn’t respectful of the American flag by flying it underneath the Mexican flag, but he wasn’t asked to change the display. The protests and demonstrations already had every one in a tizzy and nervous about what would happen next. It was not only against the law to display the American flag as he did, but it wasn’t very smart, either. Brossard served in the Army to protect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, them proceeded to violate the rights of another American citizen.

Both men demonstrated a severe lack of judgment.

Imagine Brossard’s reaction if the restaurant owner had showed up at Brossard’s house and removed private property? But that’s what Brossard did to the restaurant owner.

Do I believe the restaurant owner had the right to dishonor the American Flag? NO!
Do I believe Jim Brossard had the right to destroy private property? NO!

You can’t have it both ways. This isn’t a foreign country where you can be thrown into a jail cell for an act of protest. This is the United States of America, and we’re better than that.

For the record, I wish it were illegal to burn the American flag in protest, and I wish the U.S. Flag Code had a means of enforcement, with fines and penalties after due process. But I believe in the laws of the land, too.

This is the very type of event that serves to divide us as a nation, and I’m sick and tired of bigotry and idiocy providing fodder for our detractors.

As I’ve said before, WE’RE BETTER THAN THIS!

4 thoughts on “Making a politial statement with the flag—Part 2

  1. Wooo, a bit a attitude today?

    I understand where Obama is coming from. Is the flag-pin some statement of superiority? Like a lot of outward symbols (cross necklaces, troop-ribbon-magnets), they smack of falseness even if worn sincerely. For a politician like Obama, that is one thing he would like to avoid people having to think about when they look at him. (Is he posturing or is he sincere?)

    Interesting contrast to the casualness that most Americans have to wearing t-shirts with flags.

    Oh, the other story is just a fiasco. Interesting, tho.

  2. Yeah, sorry for the attitude. The flag respect issues seems to be getting worse, not better.

    I agree on the Obama issue, to a point. I don’t have a problem with him not wearing a flag pin, and would rather he not, than be insincere.The part that upset me was what he said about the flag and what is represents. Then later he equated wearing the flag pin with showing support for Bush, which was what I’d just written about. It just got to me.

    And yes, fiasco is a good word for it, and now it’s happened again in New Mexico.

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