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Comments Archive: 3-24 to 4-8-95

Received on 4-8-95:

Donald White writes:

Isn't it more than a little hypocritical for Newt and his fellow Nazis to yammer on and on about personal freedom when they're proposing dangerous amendments like this one?
Sumanth writes:
I am wasting my precious time mailing to a fourth grade lout like you; here's my point :

In the name of freedom of expression if you can do every goddamned thing that comes to your mind, then go ahead...
Create a home page for assorted rapists, mass-murderers, child-abusers...
types like you have a wide range of things to choose from, I think.
This is not hatemail; it's disdain-mail; I really can't find words to describe the actions of all you so-called liberals, but in reality perverted fetishists, and there's a limit to the things you are allowed to do within the confines of Society : think of that, if you really bother to.
My reply

Received on 4-7-95:

Bruce Lewis writes:

I am a fairly patriotic American and have nothing but disdain for the beliefs and actions of most so-called "liberals" today. However, I must say that your Wb page was one of the best I've been to. Unlike most of the Web denizens I've met, you seem to "get it"--to understand that the best thing about living in a free country like America is that it is FREE, and that people have the right to do WHAT they want WHEN they want (so long as they do not harm the person or property of others.) I am not a supporter of the current crop of so-called conservatives running the government and fully support your right to burn your flag, or any other property you may own. If we're not FREE to do what we like with our own property (including any flags me might own) then the ideals that the flag stands for are being dishonored--which, in my opinion, is a sin worse than flag-burning any day.
Received on 4-5-95:

George Finley sent an email to Newt Gingrich, and sent me a copy.

Dear Mr. Gingrich, I have just finished reading a story about a Mr. Warren Apel and his "Flag-Burning" page on the Internet's World Wide Web. I viewed the page with my six year old son, Derek who couldn't understand why any individual would want to harm or destroy our country's flag. I'm proud that even at the age of six my son is showing respect for a belief that Mr. and Mrs. Apel failed to bestow upon their son. I'm sure their shame and embarrassment is obvious.

My family fully supports the efforts of Mr. Solomon and yourself. Please continue the good work and efforts for a better America.

My reply - and my parent's comments

Marc Steier writes:
As a lawyer, sworn to uphold the constitution, and member of the National Lawyers Guild (progressive association of attorneys), I applaud your page. You should check out the cases of US v. Eichman, 110 S.Ct 2404 (1990) and Texas v. Johnson, 109 US 2533 (1989). Call the Center for Constitutional Rights in NYC for more. These cases, decided by a Right-Wing court, say that it is protected speach. 'nuff said.

Steve writes:
A local newspaper reviewed this page, and flamed it. This reminds me of a recurring thought every time I hear of proposed bans on flagburning:
Burn the Bill of Rights.
No one will notice. Many anti-flagburners would cheer.
Perhaps if Americans would restore the Bill of Rights, few people would be motivated to burn the flag.
Kirk Miles writes:
I was directed to this page by a not unusually biased article in the Dallas Morning News. While I could not access the graphics, the main issue was the replies and debates which your page sparked. After seeing the page, I am amazed once again by the filter which the media lays over information... Seriously, the News made your page sound like an edict rather than a forum for debate: "[Mr. Apel] wants others to join him [in burning the U.S. flag in cyberspace.]" Clearly, you are not asking anyone to do it; you give them the opportunity to do it. The paper also seeks to reduce the weight of your opinion by labelling you as a dabbler in things poilitical in saying that you were until recently only involved in poetry and music pages.

The News also quoted only negative opinions: the amazing Dr. Pitchford from your comments, as well as contacting the Conservative Link and the creator of the Vietnam Vet's Home Page. It appears that the author [Todd Coplevitz] neglected to read the pro comments from Vet Dan Thornsberry...or any other comments from the document itself.
Editor's Note: In fairness to Mr. Copilevitz, the article was written before Mr. Thornsberry's comment appeared.

Basically I am sad to say that this document was misrepresented, but of course, I can't be surprised as the News never surprises me in terms of its bias.

Received on 4-4-95:

King Solomon writes:

The time has come the Walrus said to speak of many things; of sealing wax and sailing ships and cabbages and kings...it's all in the meaning of words and how they are delivered that gives them substance and meaning. The act has no meaning. My reverence for national sysbols reflects my genuine respect for this country and what it has been and could be. The symbol is merely a reflection of the individual's concept of the instituion or person represented. Anyway, I'm a wire head and wanted to see the graphics. Curiosity is not a crime and may kill cats, but I don't have to be in fear in this country. Besides, being Jewish, I remember what Hitler did to those who failed to respect the national emblems of Germany. We're a little above that I hope. I don't tell me that this isn't a fair comparison after all, those people believed in their flag a deeply as we do ours. I may not like the jesture, but I'm not the one to stop you...even if I did, and I ain't saying I do..that's my usiness and none of yours....(:
Mike Silverman
(of the Liberal Information Page) writes:
Great page...I know some Republicans who would have a heart attack if they saw your page (so I will of course make sure they see it :-)
Dan Thornsberry writes:
Great Page! It's about time these right wing idiots realized that only the STUPID die for a flag. When it's time to fight, they park their little rich kids asses in some elite university to sit it out.

I didn't go to Viet Nam for some crappy piece of cloth. Matter of fact, they never asked me if I WANTED to go!

The right is ready to destroy the freedom behind the flag in an insane attempt to protect the symbol.

Robert Whitsitt writes:
I absolutely believe in the right of adults to do in private anything they want. And to pay the appropriate penalty when it is stupid (such as dying of cancer from smoking, or of AIDS for participating in unprotected sex).
Dangerous public behavior, such as driving while drunk, is another matter. Lock 'em up while you're treating their disease.
Burning the flag in public as a protest is offensive to many. How should we handle it?
Well, "offensive" is not the same as "dangerous," so it cannot be compared with drunk driving. Is freedom of speech the right of any ass to bray in public?
In the past, that was a problem. Now it is less of one in some cases. The answer is yes, bray away, as long as it is possible for others to avoid listening. The Internet is the perfect vehicle for possibly unpopular causes.

Rob Carr writes:

I applaud the courage of your conviction in protesting yet another stupid action on the part of the Republicans' rapidly degrading pandering to the ignorant, small, and mean. Until recently, America was not only successful in overcoming the ugliness within us, we were ashamed it was was even there. Now, however, we revel and embrace the culture of dumb and extoll attitudes that animals would consider uncivilized.

It has always been legal to burn the flag. In fact, it is one of the recommended ways to dispose of an old or obsolete flag. Therefore, legislation against flag burning is not against the act so much as the thought process motivating this act. It is a scary and small time when laws are enacted against thoughts and ideas.

Peter Oberbreckling writes:

I agree with you 100%. People are missing the point. Rather than expend energy attempting to prevent people from burning the flag, wouldn't we be better off if we expended energy attempting to make people to not to want to burn the flag?

John Walker writes:

I'm glad to see that people are beginning to make use of the electronic media to express their opinions.

While I've never felt compelled to burn a flag, I fully support others' rights to do so, so long as their actions do not infringe of their fellow citizen's rights (i.e., the right NOT to have a flag burned on their front lawn!).

Please continue to pursue your activism. This country needs more people like you who are concerned with the greater issues of freedom of speech, etc., and not with the lesser concerns of our elected officials.

Received on 3-27-95:

Chris Williams (from U.K.) writes:

Good page. How good to see someone really using this hardware's capacity. The issue seems to be the classic one of when art stops and politics begins. Who knows? I burnt your flag a lot, and enjoyed it: I hope I was doing it for reasons more to do with freedom of expression and opposition to cultural hegemony than anti-Americanism (some of my best friends, etc.).

PS In the 1960s the British government introduced 'guidelines' advising all motorcyclists to wear helmets. A lot of motorcyclists already did. As more and more began to wear helmets, the cry from the government went up for it to be made compulsory. Their justification? Most people already wore them. In the end, they were made compulsory. While the legal basis of my government is different from that of yours (I have NO rights in law), I think the moral holds true. 'If you do what the government advises you to, pretty soon they'll make it compulsory.' The hurt and fear caused by people resisting states is about 1% of that caused by states resisting people.

Comments received from 3-25 to 3-26-95:

Dr. John H. Pitchford writes:

How much would you like to bet that you really don't support the idea of "freedom of expression" and that you are really just a cultural anarchists?
How about (as a test) you set up a virtual burning of a Star of David. You don't have the balls do you? You wouldn't do that because your support of "violence" against the signs and symbols of culture and civilization is "selective."
You hate America so you wish to destroy its image, its symbol. Oh sure its just a symbol, right? Well, so is a virtual Star of David. So you think you support "freedom of expression?" Talk is cheap, lets see you set up a virtual burning of a Star of David. Won't do it will ya? Why? Because you are in reality a culture NAZI. Destroying that which you hate just for the joy of it, just like the Nazis of 55 years ago.
My reply
Al writes:
I did not burn your flag. While you are right that a flag burning amendment is a waste of time and further shows how this country's priorities are totally misdirected, I do not see any positive aspects to flag burning either. You don't see women actively having abortions to protest against politicians who want to reverse a woman's right to choose, right?
My reply
Gary Arbuckle (from Canada) writes:
Speaking from the outside, looking in: have any of those legislators ever considered the effect these rather surrealistic debates have on the image of the USA in foreign lands? Have they ever considered indicting themselves for making their country look like an oversized lunatic asylum? I suppose they want to make the USA awesome, but they're making it steadily more ridiculous, if not contemptible. Example: my mother, a rather conservative lady on the whole, cried when Kennedy was shot, but when Hinkely tried to pop Reagan off, her only comment was, "You'de think with all those guns they could shoot a bit straighter." And the trend continues....
Not to mention the open invitation this is to all those who dislike the USA for reasons bad, good, and indifferent. Think I'll start a flag and Zippo shop if this goes on.....
Will somebody please explain to Newt & company that fetishism is a perversion?
First comments received on 3-24-95:

Jan Hanford writes:

American used to be such a nice place . . when it was FREE!
John N! Swegan writes:
I dislike people who are always "doing things for my own good." The last time I looked, I was an adult, I could vote, I could drink, I could drive (it's a no-no, tho, to drink and drive...but that's what cabs are for) I am upset that the reps (Which, by the way, I did NOT elect---although I did vote) are out there to protect me from myself. This is as ludicrous as turning veggie bashing into a hate crime, as fellow zonies know) Now they also want to ban pornography from the internet...next it will be religion!!! THAT one has me the most concerned. (check out http://www.primenet.com/~swiggy)
Church of SPAM
Phoenix Arizona
(In SPAM we trust)
Alan writes:
I believe that when politicians wrap themselves in the flag, burning it becomes MANDATORY!
Bradford A. Patrick writes:
You have created an intriguing display. I think YOU should have something more productive to do with your time.
Here's a section of E.J. Montini's column, quoted from the Arizona Republic, March 5 1995.
Crime - that's and obscenity.
Poverty is an obscenity.
So is governmental bureaucracy.
It's undeniably obscene that Americans die for lack of health care when we supposedly have the finest health-care system in the world.
Congressional privileges are obscene, and political-action committes, and elected hacks who bow down to party bosses rather than listen to voters in their home states.
I find it particularly obscene, also, when the people we send to Washington to solve our most grave and difficult problem decide that our most grave and difficult problem involves people who burn American flags.
Still, there's room for a compromise here.
An easy one.
I figure we'd all agree to ban the act of burning the flag just as soon as J.D., Matt and Bob ban the act of wrapping themselves in it.

From March to December of 1995, while this amendment was being considered in Congress, this page collected a large volume of comments from the public, all of which are on display in the Comment Archive.

The Flag Burning Page generated quite a volume of email. Most of it was posted right here. Messages like "Why don't you do the Nation a favour and kill yourself." (actual quote) would just clutter up this page. People who send flames like this one are given a chance to rewrite their thoughts before they get posted to the Flag Flames Page

Warren S. Apel