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Comments Archive: 4-25 to 4-27-95

Received on 4-27-95:

Chad Jones writes:

During the Persian Gulf Folly, a newspaper out where I lived (the San Bernardino Sun) printed a flag in the middle of the paper for people to put in their windows. It was pretty sickening.
Would recycling that paper be considered desecrating the flag? And how about the yellowing from showing it in the window.
I personally wanted to burn one of the paper flags and put it in my window but my roommate probably would have shot me.

There's a lot of debate that centers around the men and women who have died defending the flag and that burning it dishonors them. My opinion is that they were not defending the actual flag, but what the flag stands for. I think that the flag itself stands for your right to burn it.

Mike Hirtle writes:
Thanks for the image and for stirring up the old controversy.
Why is it that a lot of people think that we who want to protect the freedom to burn the flag would ever want to burn a flag???
Dan writes:
I was amused by your setup, and by the messages you received. Jim was right on - the flag is just a symbol. Everyone agrees that it's not an issue of whether you can burn a piece of cloth, but whether you can express disgust with the U.S.

I personally think that it takes an idiot to burn the flag, simply because it's like getting up on a soapbox to announce "this country sucks!". I think this is a wonderful country, and if you don't - fine - give me suggestions on how to improve it. But, foolish as what you're expressing may be, you have a right to express it.

Anyway, let's not get too hung up on this. (Sheesh, man, do you REALLY think someone will be arrested for a "sun-faded flag bumper-sticker on your car window"? Get real.)

Claudia writes:
Would rather see people burn some of the political pimps than the flag, or better yet, lobbiest. The flag represents most of us.
Although if you're that unhappy, or crazed, you should have a right, (provided it's your flag, not mine).
Would like to see aliens (such as San Diego students) who were burned over Calif Prop 187 last fall and publically set fire to US flags--arrested and tossed out of the country, after being so throughly caned first that they're afraid to come back. But not by US Government. What happens in California is our problem and our business, it's up to us to deal with it.
Received on 4-26-95:

Jon Zimman writes:

Thanks for your page. Perhaps the real obscenity is, with all the other problems this nation faces, that congressmen are wasting time and tax dollars on anti-flag-burning constitutional amendments that have nothing to do with what the Constitution was established to do: "... establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."
Mark Padfield writes:
I cannot express to you, in words, how much I despise flag burning. I do, however, recognize the basic rights laid out in the Constitution. I would more than likely react very harshly towards an individual that was burning the flag, but you do, in my interpretation, have the right to burn the flag. Just because most people would like the practice stopped, myself included, does not mean that we can change the laws.

I think you should step back and think, though. If it weren't for this flag many of us could be living under an even stricter form of government. Think about what life could be like under a flag of a different color. I cannot condone this practice but I wish you the best of luck in your struggle. (I always liked the underdog.)

Sarah Raven writes:
I thoroughly agree with your defense of the first amendment. It is hands-down the most important paragraph ever written. And I also dread the day when burning a piece of cloth becomes illegal. Does this also mean that if I draw a little flag on a piece of paper that I can never throw that paper away? See how ridiculous this gets?! The Conservatives really know how to waste our time and money, and the power of government. It should be protecting US, not a symbol of us. Let's work on *real* issues, like the rights of *humans* (not cloth), crime, domestic violence, etc. The fact that those two men spent an hour talking about everything BUT the issue shows how phenomenally stupid the men themselves and the issue are. They couldn't even stick to discussing actual flagburning for an hour. What would they have said? How can you really defend something so unimportant? We should not be forced into patriotism. When the government does something for me, maybe I will voluntarily respect its symbols. I am seventeen, and I pay income tax and sales tax, yet I cannot vote. Taxation without representation! When the new Congress gives me rights, perhaps I will not want to burn what they hold so dear. But what has that piece of cloth done for me?
An Anonymous Person writes:
Who cares about this flag burning issue? At worst, it boosts the sale of flags, thus helping the US economy. If you burn enough of them, I'm certain that we can get the national debt under control. I think I'd better get off the net now and call my stock broker to tell him to invest in cotton and nylon. Please be sure to use only BIC lighters when burning your flags as I am going to invest in them also.
Joe Timmerman writes:
hey man. i'm not into flag burning. i don't think it's the right way to say our government sucks. it is a SYMBOL but it stands for what people fought for freedom. i know you served in the army and i respect that. i think someone needs to look at our government and change something. too much money is being taken from funds for well justified causes. the idea is right but the means is wrong. give me some information on your cause, maybe i agree, but right now i'm a little confused. thanks for time.
Tom Regan writes:
Love the page. Mind you,it's not that it makes me want to run out and burn an American flag - why bother. But the point that it makes is well-taken.
You know, since the President made his comments about hate speech the other day in Minnesota, the right (especially the talk-show hosts) have been crawling all over themselves to attack him for his "attack" on their freedom of speech. No doubt many of the same people who are angry at the President for this "attack" are the same ones condemning you for expressing your freedom of speech on this Web page, not seeing the inconsistency in their positions. Ironic, isn't it. Then again, those on the right have never been known for their ability to recognize irony - William F. Buckley excluded, of course.
Keep up the good work.
David Milanaik writes:
I want to know what would happen if-

I don't there is much argument among citizens whether or not violence or theft or molestation or rape or murder or any of these other types of crimes are wrong.
Disputation surrounds things some people think are wrong and some people think are right- Homosexuality
Limits (speed limits, age restrictions, environmental protection laws)
Flag burning
Now people with sense know that some taxes are neccessary to pay salaries and improve, maintain, and build public facilities- but then people argue-are taxes to high or are they being spent wisely- who knows? It seems that these matters must be left to politicians and constituents and that they should fluctuate as necessary or as they do.
As for the other things-
Flagburning-this is legal-what harm is coming from it-any? It seems to me that this is nothing but a freedom of expression.
Most narcotics (drugs deemed to have no medicinal purpose) are nationally illegal save for alcohol.
Homosexuality is hotly contested in many states as is censorship and firearms rights.
My point is what would happen if all laws remained as they are but drugs were legalized
homosexuality was nationally legalized
all forms of censorship were abandoned
speed limits were repealed
and all guns were legal and sold (with backround checks)
Would all hell break loose-
or would most people continue to live as they do while the rest of the people who felt restrained by the laws were finally free to do what they wanted or do what they felt like without being persecuted?
I think that there should be a trial period allowing these things. Change would be rampant and it would be immediately clear which things worked out and if any of them did not work out- they could prohibited again- at least the chance would be there- the attempt at making a "free" yet "civilized" society would be realized
But what about the draft and the scores of other things I have not thought of? After a while it seems to me like we are just chasing our tails- but I would like to see this trial- this would be a risk that I would take and that I would hope other people would take in the name of freedom, to make this country as free as it can be- but, of course, without making it a disheveled mess.
Who knows-but it's better to have some plan than to just burn a flag like some pouting child- but if people want to be pouting children and they don't hurt anyone or make a mess- than let them.

Nate writes:
excellent page. I fully support the right for americans to be able to express themselves by desecrating the flag. f**k blind obedience and Newt gingrich.
Received on 4-25-95:

Bob Durand writes:

It would seem to me that the threat of getting one's ass kicked by his neighbors would dissuade all but the most rabid flag burner. No law would punish like a pummeling from the neighborhood VFW guys.
My reply
Steve Waterman writes:
Hurray! Good luck - I am a political science student who has also served his time in the military (Army). I served for the right to burn the flag. These folks just wrap themselves up in the flag, pretending to love it and for what it stands. Bullshit. If the Contact on America is fulfilled, I may have to resort to Civil Disobedience, made popular by Thoreau, Gandhi and Martin Luther King - all great men.
What is the deal with those who want 'smaller' government? They seem to create more government to make it smaller. Well, we need to get rid of this organization, so let's create ten more to oversee the operation. What kind of 'conservatism' is this?
Ultimately, a government is only as good as the people whom it governs. Perhaps we need a little more work on ourselves, and a little less on others. What was that about a mote in your brother's eye and a plank in mine?
"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."
Josh Allen writes:
thank you for giving me the opportunity to do in a virtual way something I've never had the opportunity (or the balls) to do in reality.
A friend of mine celebrated July 4th by burning a flag in the middle of Annapolis, MD...I hope to do something similar soon.

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