Quick rant

I was behind a pickup truck this morning with a bumper sticker that floored me:

If you must burn our flag,
please wrap yourself in it first.

What is wrong with you people?

This was a brand new bumper sticker, not an old, faded tatty one. The W04 sticker was old and tatty, and I noticed a decided absence of any McCain/Palin stickers, but the brave stand the person in the truck was taking against the damned commie hippies was fresh on his mind, and apparently, fresh from someone’s emporium.

Much has been made of the resurgence of this mindset amongst the right since the election of President Obama, who is naturally going to take our guns away as well as, presumably, our white women, but to actually encounter it first thing in the morning was a bit much.

6 thoughts on “Quick rant

  1. I think the election of Obama is further radicalizing the Right … and thus marginalizing them, and alienating their centrists. Keep it up!

  2. I agree with both of you, in degrees.

    @Dale – I too find the sentiment of the sticker odious. I don’t have it in me to wish death (immolation or otherwise) on anyone at this point. It’s just not consistent with my beliefs. At the same time, I also find flag burning as a form of expression rather repulsive. Protest like crazy. Blog about your frustrations like mad. Sit down at lunch counters or in the front of buses. Flood the mailboxes of elected officials and editors with rants about what you find wrong in our nation. However, I am old school (some will translate that to redneck, but I don’t find that accurate) enough to believe that on the day you purchase or unfold the flag you intend to burn, you should also purchase your airline/bus/boat/walking ticket for whatever nation you think has got it right, because at that point your only objective is to symbolize your contempt, and the world has enough of that already. Be angry if you must, but channel it to some good purpose. Matches on fabric are a weak and ineffectual cop-out, particularly viewed in the light of those that died in uniform, pounded by firehoses, or mauled by dogs attempting meaningful change.

    @Jeff – You are absolutely right. There is a resorting taking place from the middle-rightward. So far, it resembles a three stooges routine. I hope for the sake of our nation that something more coherent and productive arises from the ashes, as both the debate and the balance have a place in good governance.

  3. Turff, my point was that it’s a non-issue. As Jeff points out, completely irrelevant since 1975.

    I agree that it’s a silly form of protest, but it is protected speech. Fred Phelps — flag burning. Hate it, but there it is.

  4. Turff, a flag is symbol, a piece of fabric I think the term you used. Nothing more, nothing less, unless you give meaning to it.

    You may not be old enough to remember the protests of 60’s when the flags were burned. However there were also other forms of protest used such as items of clothing, and various other things And we were condemned for doing those things. (I never burned a flag but had some clothing made with the flag pattern on it.) And took a lot of grief when I wore it. And yes I meant to show contempt, but not for the country but the leaders. And I also wanted people to know the flag was a symbol, not the country itself. So I should leave the country because I desecrated the flag, or do you actually have to burn it to be banned from the country?

    Now we use flag patterns for paper plates at political rallies and afterwards they are tossed in the garbage! To me a flag doesn’t have to be just a piece of fabric but any material that hold that pattern. People run around wearing flag shirts and literally wrapped in the flag. These are the very same people who criticized us for making fun of the flag – “the old love it or leave it” motto. My point being who is desecrating the flag now?

    Have you ever read the actually handbook for caring for the flag? It was never to be worn as clothing – so out goes George Bush’s flag lapel. And the proper method of disposing of the flag is by burning it!

    And let us not forgot how we got Governor Sunny Purdue into office when the former governor had the nerve to change the state flag pattern that was made in 1954 to re-inflame those grand days of the Civil War.

    I suggest you think about your love of country and just how desecrating a symbol hurts that country, other than your personals feeling. It’s like me going into a restaurant I don’t like and ripping up all the up all the menus thinking by doing so I have destroyed all their food.

    Maybe this could be a good beginning point for you to continue writing since you seem to feel some passion for this. I hope I have given you enough food for thought.

  5. I take a different tack to this thing. Why is this man sporting a bumper sticker about a non-issue? I would suggest it’s because the leaders of his political world have waved that red flag in front of him, and he obediently charges it. It’s like the teabaggers protesting being taxed without representation when in fact a) they have exactly the representatives they wanted, and b) their taxes have actually been lowered by the other party. They’re out their waving their teabags because they’ve been told that the Others are doing Something Bad. And their Pavlovian response is, and is meant to be, “Hulk smash!”

  6. @Terry – Just to clarify my position a bit… I don’t imbue the flag with any magical, eucharist-like significance. I just don’t have much respect for flag burning. The irony that only in such a horrible country would it in fact be legal to display your distain in such a manner seems to be lost on the burners. I guess you could more accurately describe my position as “If you have such contempt for our country, work to change it or (rather logically) leave.” I just don’t believe burning a flag (or a bra) is a good way to accomplish the “work to change it” part of that sentence.
    As to your point about the appropriation of the flag for dinner plates and political toy, I have little use for that either. I agree with you on this one.

    @Dale – I actually thought of using the teabagger example after I wrote my original comment. I find the sentiment and effectiveness of the bagging and the burning to be remarkably similar. I know that’s not exactly what you are saying here, but it’s true nonetheless.

    You are, however, correct on all points of what you are trying to say. If I was better read on the subject (marc?), I would make some point about it having something to do with the reptilian brain or somesuch (I only know the gist of this as learned from our fireside discussions, but it feels right). The “modern” version of the tea party also demeans the significance, relevance, and risks associated with the original Tea Party.

    Oh, and nice comic reference.

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