If your school or non-profit organization is looking for a web-based paperless voting system to run your prom court, student council, or board elections, you should consider Ecoballot. It's easy, fast, and inexpensive. Best of all, it's an environmentally-friendly way to reduce paper usage at your school.

Comments Archive: May - June 1995

Comments from May - June 1995:

Lisa Peite writes:

I have read through your homepage, just happening upon it unexpectedly. Reading some of the comments you have received have angered me. I am Native American. Under the symbol of the American flag, my people have been murdered, raped, and diseased. Our children were forced to boarding schools where they were beaten if they spoke their tribal languages, were taken away from families, and have died due to starvation, labor, and sadness. Our women were raped and their bodies mutilated by the bearers of the American flag. Lies were told to us, treaties were made and broken under the symbol of the American flag.
For all the comments of others saying to go to another country if you wish to burn the American flag, where would my people go? If my people burn the flag one must remember we inhabited this land called America thousands of years before the first American flag was sewn.
My people have died for the American flag in several ways. They have died under brutality of the government. They have died poverty that the US government to this day keeps them under. They have died protecing the Elders, women, and children from the brutality of the US policies towards the Native Americans in the name of economic gain and under the symbol of the American flag. My people have died in wars such as the Vietnam War. The soldiers of Native blood and also that of the African Americans were placed in the frontlines to be killed before those of white blood. My people have genocidely died under the symbol of the American flag.
Yet my people still honor the flag. My people still pledge the allegience to the flag and carry it with pride in our pow-wows. If my people were to burn the flag it should be their right. My people have inhabitited this land called American thousands of years before the first American flag was sewn. Millions of my people have died in the hands and the fault of the American government. If my people were to burn the flag, they have no other country to go "home" to. America has been our home thousands of years. We are home.
If it takes flag burning to bring what is right to American citizens, it should be their right. After all, isn't this the Land of Freedom?
Draw Pinky writes:
I applaud your courage in defense of free expression. When protecting a symbol destroys those things the symbol purports to represent, we're in some kind of serious conceptual trouble. I'm in a band in Sacramento, CA called Draw Pinky and we have been addressing this issue in a song appropriately entitled "Burn The Flag". I'm going to dedicate it to you the next time we perform it.
-- Jack Hastings

Lyrics by Debbie Jolly and Jack Hastings
Music by Jack Hastings

Standing on a corner watching the world go by me
Lost my job in the mill and every night my baby, she's crying
The rent is due, the landlord is knocking
Got no money to pay
God, I love living in the U.S.A

Burn the flag, the flag is burning
Over America
Burn the flag, the flag is burning
Bill of Rights going down in flames
Burn the flag, the flag is burning
Its been burning for a long, long time

They tell me we can go to a homeless shelter
Living like fleas on the cold underbelly of this nation
And I've got rights, the right to starve
The right to cry out loud
Come on everybody, let's make Tom Paine proud

Burn the flag, the flag is burning
Over America
Burn the flag, the flag is burning
Constitution is going down in flames
Burn the flag, the flag is burning
Its been burning for a long, long time

They got their Rush-talking, gun-toting, god-fearing tails in a knot
Spitting out empty words while this nation rots
And they say I'm wrong, I've taken a fall
I guess I'm just deaf to the call
Won't trade my self-respect for the right to crawl

Burn the flag, the flag is burning
Over America
Burn the flag, the flag is burning
How I love that red, white and blue
Burn the flag, the flag is burning
And my blood is burning too
Burn the flag, the flag is burning
And its burning in the flames of truth

(c) 1990 D. Jolly, J. Hastings
reprinted with permission from Draw Pinky

Craig Altenburg writes:
What a great page.......

Although I've never felt the need to burn a flag, the pending legislation just might make me change my mind.

The flag is a powerful symbol of many things that are good in this country, and one of the best of these is that we the people have the right to freely express ourselves. It seems to me that this proposed ammendment lessens the value of the very symbol that it is ment to protect.

I'm changing my .sig to:

* * *   P r o t e c t   F r e e d o m s   n o t   F l a g s   * * *
Joe Roper writes:
a haneous crime may just be simpler way of saying it. thereseem to be some goodold boys who want capital punishment for these things.but when the revolution takes place,i will be on the side for revolution, and you can eat your hat if you dont believe me
Phill Richardson writes:
Issuses such as flag burning, term limits, telecommunications decency and "family values" in general are just tactics by politicians to distract voters from the true happenings in Washington. Real issues like the national debt, environmental protection, foreign policy, agricultural subsidies, etc. do not evoke emotions in the media or voters.

As the presidential primaries heat up you can expect even more jabber from our leaders. It seems the political strategy this season is to give more freedom to big business and big money while the huddled masses are fighting each other over TV tabloid news non-issues.

choon-kee-lee writes:
I am a Korean (not Korean American) working in the university Hospitals. I happened to note that you are broadcasting a WWW site for flag burning. Is it for your own pleasure or for confirming your conviction that there are a lot of people out there to share your thought?
You are doing this under the umbrella of your own country. I don't believe you could do this in certain countries like my home country because there would be nobody who even tries understand your thought.
I want you to think that it is only possible in this country where your guys have a guaranteed freedom of expression.
Do you imagine any Bosnian burining their flag because their country couldn't protect themselves ?
Tom Triolo writes:
I don't support an anti-flag burning amendment either. But I also think that any person who exercises his 1st amendment right of burning a flag is scum. I don't follow your logic in explaining why you have created this page. If you were really serious about opposing such an amendment you would realize that things like this only infuriate people and strenghten their resolve in supporting this legislation. Though I suspect that you may have other reasons for doing this that you're not revealing.
Reid Swick writes:
Its very good to think about why others burn the flag, especially in countries that the US economically, politically, and militarily dominates, such as South Korea, Panama, Iraq, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Peru, Chile. In those countries, the population doesn't have illusions about the US as "the best country on earth", or believe that the US flag in any way stands for freedom or the "right to speak." In many such countries the US flag stands for the foreign ambassadors and military advisors who train the military dictators, secret police, death-squads, etc. who TAKE AWAY any semblance of independence and freedom. US business benefits from a "favorable investment climate", absent domestic human rights.

Outlawing flagburning is tantamount to outlawing anti-patriotism (or mandating patriotism), legislating one (patriotic and mythical) view of the flag. "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

Jay Paul writes:
You have my respect for making a prinipled stand on a politcally unpopular cause. The current congress is about to take incredible liberties with our constitution and I fear the flag buring amendment is the the first step of many that will change this country for the worse.

The flag stirs the emotion, not intellect. This inspires kneejerk reaction from our politicians and citizenry.

Don't stray from your ideals, and optimism.

John S. Reynolds writes:
My respect for our leaders and the flag is not in question here. I want to point out that I have served in the Marine Corps for four years, participated in both Desert Shield and Storm (both by volunteering) and consider myself just as much a patriot as any other American.
I must challenge each individual to concentrate on the seemingly "clear and present danger" of flag burning. Does this action present a threat to our society?
I would pose these questions to those who find it necessary to amend th constitution over flag burning: As an "advanced" society, should we deem it normal - even patriotic to rally around what is simply a symbol of freedom? I find it a disgrace that older, presumably wiser men and women should take up this flag burning cause with such wanton abandon. Should we not embrace the fact that we are ABLE to burn the flag if we so desire? Are we to become like other 3rd world countries who persecute their people for demonstrating their beliefs and feelings? To what end does punishing people who find the need to burn the flag take us? How does a constitutional amendment for such a demonstration benefit our society? Is this a current, pressing issue - one that needs to be dealt with immediately before turning our attentions to trade wars/ Bosnia/ international and internal problems? How many people do you know that burn the flag?
In order to keep my letter short, I would simply ask that those in favor of this action to ban flag burning put aside their campaign rhetoric, nationalist zeal, religious fervor, or other outside influences. Ask yourselves what this will solve for the American public. Think of how history will someday judge your actions. Are you opening the door for other censorship and prejudice to follow?
I would ask that all concerned please re-consider this drastic action.
Jason Seawright writes:
How can a person who claims to be in his or her right mind oppose people's right to burn the American flag? Have our symbols become more important than what they're supposed to stand for? If so, we've taken a good long step down the road toward fascism, where symbols can replace freedoms.
America is founded in freedom and responsibility. Americans have a constitutional right to freedom of expression, unless that freedom of expression recklessly endangers or harms others for no good reason. Burning the flag doesn't really seem to fit those circumstances where freedom of expression can, in good conscience, be abriged. It is a harmless act, except possibly in its symbolism. Yet, even its symbolism damages no one's reputation and endangers nobody. Indeed, the only way that burning a flag may be less than harmless is by the rejection of one of the things that we as Americans are taught to take for granted--the sanctity of the flag. Perhaps if we begin to question this trained notion, we will eventually question some of the others that we are raised with. These assumptions form the basis of the power enjoyed by the American established classes, so they are understandably hesitant to let even the weakest of these assumptions be challenged.
In the end, unwillingness to let the American flag be burned basically amounts to an effort at thought control. Wanting to burn the flag is thought-crime and it might lead to even worse thoughts, so we must stop it now! ;)
Mongo the Cat Carouser writes:
Warren, I couldn't agree more with what you're saying, and less with what you're doing. The constitutional amendment guys are making hay out of your well-reasoned protest. Too bad. I suggest, in lieu of burning old glory, you let us set fire to Ron Reagan. Cheers, and good luck. (By the way...where did you Arizonans get all the damn water? I haven't seen so much greenery (and clever indianesque superhighway sound barriers) since Macchu Picchu. (Hope I spelled that right!) If I ever get to your neck of the woods again, I'll call up and let you buy me a drink. You're probably a very interesting fellow.
Chris Hudson writes:
I would like to take this time to express my thanks and appreciation for the page that you set up to symbolically burn the flag.

I don't understand why so many people got bent out of shape when you created this page. Some people treat the flag as a religious symbol. They feel that it is sacred The only thing sacred to me is my Orthodox Christian Faith. I do not hold an allegiance to any nation. Especially not to a nation that does so many horrible things to people in the third world. I don't believe an allegiance can be made to a country and to God unless your country reflects the teachings of God, which our country sadly does not. If it did, we would have to have a more socialistic autocratic government with a single leader whom is spiritual in nature. Health care would be provided for all, jobs would be for the common good not for means to make a profit. Children would respect their elders instead of making fun of them.

I could go on and on and probably write a book explaining all the imperfections our nation has, but I know you don't have all day to read email.
Thanks for allowing me to express my opinion.

Anthony Zachary writes:
Congratulations, on an excellent web page. Needless to say, the death threat you received, had it been issued against an American citizen by, say, an Islamic country, would have the same people upin arms and calling for American intervention. One rule for the one...

It is convenient, I have always thought, that living in the United Kingdom as I do, burning our own national symbol is more readily challengable (I don't think the Queen would like being burned anway :-) ) without resorting to such draconian measures.

Good luck, and watch out for the bullets ;). Remember, "glory is the shadow of virtue, and will follow it wherever it goes." (Seneca)

BBLL3 writes:
You are doing a damned good thing here. Those who would support an anti-flag burning amendment to the Constitution would do well to read Orwell's "1984". (I too am/was an Eagle Scout!)
Douglas Reissener writes:
Although I have my respect for the flag, I have much more respect for the ideals it's supposed to stand for.
What comes next after the legally-mandated worship of our religious icon, The Flag? The lagally-mandated attendance at the Temple, your local IRS office? Tithings to our legally-mandated, formerly publically-elected, Priests? I thought there was supposed to be a seperation of church and state.
Bruce Jackson writes:
Thanks for authoring The Flag-Burning Page. I heard references to it a few places but only stumbled onto it now. As far as giving the flag an exalted status goes, I don't see it. The people who fought and died in wars were attempting to defend our rights, freedoms, and way of life, not a national symbol. Those who value the symbol more than the substance have a rather odd perspective. Those who treat the flag with respect and reverence are using their right of free speech to express their views. Those who burn or desecrate the flag are expressing other views. The idea that a constitutional amendment should be put in place to allow only one of these forms of speech to be expressed is repugnant. This is not the freedom we value but coerced indoctrination. I added a link from my home page to your Flag-Burning page in the hope that more people see it.
joey Elwell writes:
Flag-burning is a representation of larger concerns of national economic security, a unorganized nation makes for a poor nation. A good example would be the Japanese. America can't move on if the people don't care. Just my two cents.
Ed Price writes:
My preoccupation is how we restore respect for the flag and the country it represents. As I read the list of politicians upholding flag burning, I couldn't help but conclude that independent of "flag burning" these are people I would like to see replaced. In simplest terms, flag burning is just another expression of the radical left and right's visible expressions of disenchantment with the growing encroachment of government in our lives and the venality of too many of the politicions who masquerade as representing us.
John Burkholder writes:
It will be a great day when patriotism is measured not by devotion to symbols but rather by devotion to the principles upon which this nation was founded. Freedom of expression is one of these principles. Good work.
Giuliano G. Valentino writes:
Althought I am Canadian, I have a strong interest in maintaining the American right to freedom of expression. I think that it is vital for any democracy to survive. If the congress there can see nothing better to do then to legislate a purely symbolic action as the one being discussed, what can be next? And what does this hold for contries as heavily influenced by the US as Canada?
a fellow arizonan writes:
just wanted to encourage you to keep this site!!! i am not very happy with our legislators either. i agree with you, i dont necessarily want to go out and burn a flag, but jeepers, if i wanted too, i'd like to have the right to do it! do you have any information on how we combat these thinly veiled fascists? keep on burning baby!!
Jon Coyle writes:
Hey buddy, you had better not screw with the flag. If some die hard patriot, probably someone who has fought for this country, gets a hold off you, you'll wish that you never even thought of burning a flag. You have the right, but what good will it be if you are dead?
Martin H. Booda writes:
Kewl. But don't you just hate it when you step on a burnt marshmallow with your Keds? It just never comes out. Worse than chewing gum.
Michael Francis writes:
If this stupid bill becomes law I'd put a flag on all my advertising flyers that way they can't throw them away.
Peter J. Phelps writes:
Actually, what I see is the representation of a symbolic burning of a representation of a symbol. Kind of like taking a shower while standing in the next room. Like with so many things, this symbol and this idea are fraught with meaning, but only for each beholder, and surely different for each. While I was in the Boy Scouts, we were taught the proper way to dispose of a damaged flag was incineration, preferably in a private place. Now what?
I agree fully with the thesis that the proposed amendment is a hollow gesture of mawkishness, but I don't support the idea that the flag is a completely meaningless symbol. Don't torment well-meaning fools, it only encourages them. Better yet, ask them what the flag historically symbolizes and be ready to tell of the history that is really behind the flag. Flags are innocent pieces of cloth. Upsidedown! the symbol of distress! Fly them at half-mast to acknowledge the shameful deeds done by those "in service" to the flag. It isn't the winners that write history books, it's the survivors. "The winners" decide which ones you get to read. Suppression of symbols only make them that much more important to their champions.
David Jennings writes:
If you are so unhappy about the condition of this country then go out and volunteer to help the homeless or the whales, or run for office.
Spitting on the flag (per se) does do anything but piss people (like myself) off and get you the attention you seem to craving.....
My Reply:
>If you are so unhappy about the condition of this country then go out and
>volunteer to help the homeless or the whales, or run for office.

If you had read all of my writings on the page, you'd know that I've already run for office, and plan on running again.

>Spitting on the flag (per se) does do anything but piss people (like
>myself) off and get you the attention you seem to craving.....

The only attention I want is to bring this issue out in public (which the media isn't doing enough of) and quash this proposed change to the Constitution. Most veterans I've corresponded with agree with me. I don't think burning the flag is a very appropriate method of expressing negative opinions, either, but I don't want it to become illegal.

David Jennings replies:
>Constitution. Most veterans I've corresponded with agree with me.

Most? The position of the American Legion (the largest Veterans organization in the world) is that we support a consitutional amendment. I really wouldn't know what veterans you must be talking to....

>I don't think burning the flag is a very appropriate method of expressing
>negative opinions, either, but I don't want it to become illegal.

Well, if attention cravers (like yourself) wouldn't have the urge to do it in public and on web pages there would not be an issue (and accordly not need for a law). Shit, under Clinton's Terrorism bill you will be lucky if you can sneeze in public.

Do you realzie it is illegal to burn U.S. currency?
Just because you have the right to do somehing (like be gay) doesn't mean the whole world wants to share in your "glory"

My Reply:
> I really wouldn't know
>what veterans you must be talking to....

My Dad, for one. The Maintainer of the Veteran's Web Page (Bill McBride) for another. Check out the flag burning comments list for more.

>Well, if attention cravers (like yourself) wouldn't have the urge to do it
>in public and on web pages there would not be an issue (and accordly not
>need for a law).

Name three people besides Gregory Johnson and myself who have burned a flag in public. It's not such a common act that the Constitution needs to be changed for it.

>Do you realzie it is illegal to burn U.S. currency?

That is because U.S. Currency is the property of the Government. It is also illegal to spray-paint the Washington Monument, for the same reason.

Now, if the Government wanted to outlaw flags that it had not produced (just like anti-counterfeiting laws do) and then sell flags only through federally approved flag-distribution outlets, and maintain ownership of those flags, then we could pass laws against it. Owning a counterfeit flag could be a crime, so could burning an official one. Another crime could be unlicensed use of the flag on stickers, T-shirts, etc. Sound good? Not to me....

Nick A. Norfleet writes:
This is the biggest waste of cyberspace I've seen yet! When are you people going to understand that if it were not for that "piece of cloth" as you call it, this country wouldn't be where it is today? People have died FOR the flag, been wounded FOR the flag, and served FOR the flag. I myself have served for what the flag stands for and witnessed lives being lost to protect the flag. There is no one going to purposely destroy the greatest symbol of American freedom in my presence. If you don't like what the flag stands for, then you can find another country to live in and I promise you, you will beg to come back. There is no greater country than the U.S. and even though our government has screwed it up for the past 40 years we can and will put it back together. Maybe you should visit the "Flag of the United States of America" server located at http://www.elk-grove.k12.il.us/usflag/ and learn something about what the flag stands for and means to us Americans. It also has a page on flag etiquette, I suggest you learn it.

My reply

Cody Wilson writes:
I just saw the article in Newsweek and had to get online and see it for myself. Although I don't condone anyone burning the American flag, I feel that congress has many other more significant problems that they should be dealing with. For congress personell to put so much time and tax payers money into a proposal, as described here in your pages, that should be against the law. Whatever happened to "for the people"?

I understand and can appreciate both sides of the argument on this proposal, but at the same time everyone must realize that no amendment or penalty imposed by anyone will stop the individuals that want to burn a flag. There is the death penalty in many states for murder, but people still keep getting murdered. Freedom of expression is a constitutional right even if a person doesn't like the way someone else is expressing themselves.

I think the homepages that you have created here mirror the problems that elected officials have in deciding how to "serve the people" that elected them. Is this the best way that any elected official can be spending their time? Is there any possible way that elected officials could spend their time trying to pass legislation to help America overall instead of concentrating on "Micro Politics"? I don't have the answers but all I know is that if I spent my time persuing trivial items such as this, I would be living in one of those "government operated" homeless shelters.

My compliments to you for bringing this information to the public. Let us hope that some congress aids will read these pages and try to get their bosses to concentrate of improving government instead of abusing 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