Back to the Flag-Burning Page

Reply to Chris Overstreet

A lot of people have called me on this. Let me start out with my canned reply - I think injecting a little humor into a political statement makes it more palatable, easier to read, and less threatening.

For example, Mike Royko v. William Buckley. I don't doubt that Buckley's smarter, and a more logical thinker, but Royko is just more fun to read. I could come out screaming about rights and act all angry, but if I read something someone wrote that sounded like that, I'd probably just "hang up" on them - writing them off as loonies.

>After reading your webpage, I'm still not sure how burning our flag is
>somehow an expression under free speech.

Yeah, I get that one too. It may very well be that the SC made a mistake by including it as such. To me, it's a political protest, and all non- violent, unobtrusive protest must be protected. I don't, for example, support the rights of Klansmen to burn crosses in other people's yards, or for abortion protesters to shoot doctors. We have to draw the line somewhere, and I think it should be when other's rights are violated. (In case those were both classic liberal examples, I also don't support destruction of logging equipment to save trees.)

To me, its more the delineation between desecration and flag-retirement. They are the same act, yet one will be punishable simply because of the thoughts of those who perform the act.

>Additionally, I don't see the connection between flag burning and giving
>laptops to the homeless.

Cheap shot at Newt, I admit it. I take 'em where I can. Here's another:

What's the same about Newt, Bob Dole, and Pete Wilson?
A) They are Republicans
B) They are for "traditional family values"
C) They have been through at least one divorce

Answer - all of the above

>If you are attempting to demonstrate what you consider to be absurdity by
>being absurd, you have failed. I consider our flag a symbol of our nation's
>honor and history, and don't find any humor in the subject.

I also find the flag to be a symbol of honor. And freedom. I just happen to find a little humor in the subject. There have been some REALLY funny editorial cartoons regarding this issue, which I'd like to post as soon as I get copyright clearance. I don't think we need to be completly sober and serious about all of our political opinions.

>People who would burn the flag, in my view, wouldn't mind burning other
>symbols of the nation, such as the original Old Glory, the Constitution, and
>federal buildings in Oklahoma.

How about effigies of their Congresssmen? Bruce Springsteen albums? Photocopies of the Constitution? Rand-McNally road atlases of D.C.? Where do you draw the line as to which of these should not be protected behavior? Don't take that to mean I support the OK City bombing. That was a tragic event. No one has the right to do anything like that. But burning a flag? It's a stupid way to protest, but I support the right to do it...

>Lest you think I'm aged and intractible: I'm 28 years old, and a white male
>who, in general, isn't angry.
>I welcome any reply, and especially any answers to my first paragraph above.

I hope I answered your questions. Let me know if I didn't.


Warren S. Apel