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anti-american or patriotic?

[click for bigger image; photo from dc indymedia]But we aren't supposed to call them anti-Americans. They are just patriotic protesters. You know, part of patriotism is expressing your ideas, trying to challenge the status-quo. That's what they tell me anyhow. And that's all well and good. Dissent is healthy. Debate is healthy. Even protests can be a great form of getting a collective voice heard. And we all have the right to hate the president, challenge his ideology or scream at the top of our lungs that his policies are unfair. But don't stand there and tell me that I'm wrong for calling these people anti-American. When you burn the flag, that automatically puts you in the position of being against the country. It is an act of defiance, an act of hatred. When one burns an effigy of a person, they are, in essence, burning that person. So when one burns a symbol it would have to be assumed that you are burning what that symbols represents. Oh, I'm not saying that the flag-burners don't have a right to their views. I'm not even saying that they are bad people for burning the flag. I just want them to be honest, and I want the people who defend them to be honest. They are anti-Americans. Most of them will admit it, and admit it proudly. It's the people who yell at me when I write about these things and say I'm stifling dissent by calling the protesters unpatriotic. You can hate the president without hating the country. I've done it, I do it sometimes still.

Patriotism is not the issue. Who can define patriotism anyhow? It's a very vague word, one that means different things to different people. To one person, patriotism is saluting the flag and singing the National Anthem. To another, it's loving your country enough to try to change what's wrong with it.

It's not patriotism I have a problem with. It's hatred and vitriol and anger that rises to rage. Yes, it comes from both sides and both sides fling it at each other on a daily basis. That's another issue for another day, however. I just want one of the people who accuse me of trying to crush opposition and dissent to say that yes, the people in the picture above, and thousands upon thousands like them, are anti-American.

What I'd like to say to those flag-burners is this: If you hate this country so much, you have two choices. Either go find somewhere else to live, or try to make a change. And I don't mean puppetry and protests and slogan shouting. Change from within. Run for office. Start locally, think nationally. Screaming at the top of your lungs day after day is not going to accomplish anything. You hate this country? Change it, help someone else change it, or leave it. Being a weekend protester is just not going to get the job done.

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We Don't Want Your Stupid War - October 25 Thousands rally in Washington to protest war Anti-American or Patriotic? What I'd like to say to those flag-burners is this: If you hate this country so much, you have two choices. Either go find somewhere els... [Read More]

Comments

I'm not at all for flag burning, but would like to point out one thing. Your description of the whole of these activities as un-american certainly reminds me of the "establishment" line back in the days of Viet Nam. Now I've gone and shown my age. Let's just haul them off to jail, or worse, as we did in the 60's and 70's. Let's not be too quick to judge the present lest the future proves us wrong...again.

Where did I say anything about hauling people off to jail? I thought I made it clear that I was all for free speech and dissent; I was merely pointing out that these people - the flag burners in the photo in particular - get mad when people call them anti-American, then they go and do things like that.

I facetiously suggested that the next step would be jail, as some of us have sadly seen in the past. I did not mean to imply that you said or suggested that.

I think there is a huge amount of frustation out there today. There are American kids dying in Iraq each day and it appears that the number 1 priority of the White House, State, Defense and CIA is to figure out how to blame the other guy.

What will it take for our leaders to take notice that something different needs to be done and then do it. Unfortunately,I fear, some of the actions required may reflect poorly on some of our leaders individually, while being good for the country, and are, therefore, delayed.

Someone remembers a different 60's and 70's than I do. In my 60's and 70's, judges appologized to arrested demonstrators and, before the ashes of their protest arson cooled, let them go.
There is a difference, one that escaped the keen minds of those years, between being opposed to a war and being in favor of the other side winning. To the extent that the result the demonstrators demanded thia time would likely plung Iraq back into slavery and douse the flame of freedom from Islamic countries, just as the demonstrators, then condemned Southeast Asia to bloodbath and dictatorship, they can only be described as anti-freedom, pro-dictatorship enemies of this country, acolites of evil who prefer ruling in hell to serving in heaven.

Protest this, scumbuckets.

I can remember throwing snowballs at President Reagan's motorcade when I was in college. Somehow, I thought that what I was doing would make a difference. It never dawned on me that I could make a difference, and it didn't involve me freezing my ass off on a Minnesota January afternoon.

You want to change things? Get involved in the political system. Your voice CAN be heard, but you're not going to be taken seriously if the best you can come up with is burning an American flag.

Puppets, vomit-ins, vandalism, flag burning and such is juvenile behavior to begin with--it is unlikely to sway the opinion of what I would imagine is the intended audience, those people who haven't made up their minds about the rightness of a given cause. Only a juvenile mind could believe that it would.

"There are American kids dying in Iraq each day" -- yeah, kids who joined to military in order to make that difference you go on and on about, a real tangible difference that involves actually doing something: removing evil scumbags from power over helpless people, for one thing. The "kids" dying in Iraq know exactly why they are there. Don't defame their honor by treating them like helpless little children.

I'm not sure you know where I stand.

1. I voted for Bush.
2. I did not agree with going into Iraq to begin with. Bush's sales pitch just didn't feel right.
3. Now that we are there, we must do it right.

I think we need to send another 50,000 or 100,000 troops or whatever it takes to win this war and get it over with. Now is not the time to be negotiating with the UN and other countries for support, that time has long past. Bush, Rumsfeld, et. al. need to put aside egos and finger pointing and get the reources that are needed to Iraq now.

I'm with you Michele, the Ninja Flag-Burners Against America (NFBAA) ARE Anti-American.

Notice what also seems to be a very poorly drawn anarchy symbol spray-painted on the flag. What the hell is that supposed to mean? Is the US already an anarchistic nation, and you're protesting that, you crazy duct-tape-wielding Ninja? I don't get it.

I have nothing against protest or peaceful assembly. (Keyword: peaceful.) They are part of an array of tools for social change.

I personally think flag-burning is counterproductive, but within the allowable limits of protest. (Stupid but not actionable.)

I do think that a lot of protesters have this mob-mentality that they get high on. When in a large group of people, it's easy to feel powerful, like you are making a difference. The feeling is palpable, but in many cases, it's an illusion, because the true power of the protest has been diluted. If you protest at the drop of a hat, if you try and force your opinion onto people in the small things (like where they shop or buy their clothes, for example) then you can't expect the same action to have relevant power when it comes to stuff which really DOES matter.

You may or may not recall my rants on the subject when the G-8 came to Kananaskis and protesters flooded the streets of Calgary in an attempt to show their side to big corporations. In actuality, the big corporations were inconvenienced only the most minimal ammount, but mom-and-pop shops downtown took a huge hit because they had to board up windows and cut back hours. Furthermore, a lot of us who lived and worked downtown went about cautiously the entire four days of the summit, because quite a few protesters seemed to think that violence and looting were acceptable. Nothing major ended up happening, beyond some kids getting arrested for vandalism, but the protesters sure put the fear of God into some of the people whose side they claimed to be on--the little guy.

I voted for Bush. I feel our best more is to make Iraq a democracy. It will change everything in the middle east.

Yes next are Syria, Iran, and North Korea.

Then if people stop preaching hate we might finish in twenty years. To imagine that we might finish sooner is to pretend to be incredibly naive. Most people realize that chasing out dictatorship and putting people on thier own takes a great deal of time.

Why hasn't the UN returned control of Kosovo to the natives? How many years has that been? And they expect Iraq will be done in weeks or months? Incredibly naive to pretend anyone ever thought Iraq would take less than years...

International A.N.S.W.E.R. is a front organization for the Communist Workers World Party. These groups sponsored these "rallies". The individuals that joined these protests are, therefore, either Communists or useful idiots.

Which is it? Dissent and protest are admirable, except from Communists and their apologists/sympathizers/sycophants. I cannot be in the middle between patriotic Americans who either support or protest the Bush Administration and Communists.

This is sad. If things are so bad, why are these losers getting away with all this and not being sent to the camps next to where the black helicopters are parked? This is just a bunch of Bush Haters who cannot even give a REAL reason to dislike him. Go fig. Hey, more photos of these worthies along with some Clowns for Saddam at:

http://www.petbunny.blogspot.com/

the fact that this coward wears a blank hanky over his face says everything about the strength of his constitution and the weight we should lend to his "act" of political defiance.

I couldn't agree more. There is something incredibly dishonest or willfully stupid in defending an Anarchist burning our flag as a patriotic act. Those that defend his act as patriotic obscure the full meaning of his act -- which is his anger, his HATE, for our Nation.

Let him do it. (And let him show his face so that his act has meaning instead of being just a poser move to get hippie chicks). But don't tell me that it's for love of country or that it's good for my country. The stark reality is that, in spite of his Anarchist views, he can do express his HATE because of what's Good in the Republic.

And just to prove that I am, in fact, amenable to protest, let me offer that if he really wanted to dissent patriotically, he could have done it by flying his flag upside down. That's a more powerful symbolic act of displeasure at the way the Republic is being run by the government, and one that is more likely to be thought-provoking than bile-provoking.

But then again, who I am kidding? He's an Anarchist. He really thinks that he can do better than this Nation with no state, no laws, no Constitution, no Civil Liberties whatsoever.

More at http://andrew_redux.blogs.com/redux/2003/10/protest_patriot.html

The problem is even if they get elected, they can only change their area.

Most Americans don't agree w/how they want to change the country. That's why they need the courts. The 9th circuit isn't overturned 75% of the time for nothing.

And while most Americans listen to what they have to say, they don't agree w/their infitite superior wisdom. And it's getting so frustrating that they have to lash out.

Hence the look at me, look at me! actions. They also fail to realize the 60s and 70s are OVER. Been there, done that.

I don't agree. Sure, most people who burn the flag do it to burn a symbol of America, because they hate America. But I'm sure there are also people who do it to protest the government, not the whole country, people who see it as a symbol of the people in office, not the whole nation, and people who do it just to get shock value and draw attention to their cause, which may not be "we hate America."

One of the problems with the idea of leave the United States or try to effect change through normal channels, is that it's fairly difficult to leave the US and find work elsewhere. If it were relatively easy to find good employment in a another country, I probably would move.

M, that's a rather thin distinction, in my opinion. When you have a government of citizens, who are elected by other citizens, it's hard to find the difference between "country" and "government". Unless, of course, a Communist government is elected, in which case the elite can dictate to the masses with impunity.

Right, Josh, and if it was easy you'd have millions, be dating a supermodel, etc. Having worked outside the US, I'll tell you it's not hard to find work. What's hard is dealing with the environment you end up with (oh, except in Europe, where they won't let you stay without independent wealth anyway). If that's how you feel, adios.

In grade school, I use to volunteer to raise the flag in the morning until our group raised the flag upside-down by mistake. Our error was broadcasted over the school’s intercom system that was interconnected to all the classrooms. We marched back to the flagpole and corrected our miscue immediately. If you have ever had the privilege of raising our nation’s flag, you would know that you must even adhere to a set procedure in folding up the flag. Under no circumstances, should you allow the flag to touch the ground, or by tradition, the flag should thereupon be burned. Burning the flag at a peace march to make an anti-war statement is despicable, and Betsy Ross should stick needles up their asses. But, today, with all the shock and awe that exists in our country’s entertainment industry, flag-burning is only a few demerits below Roseanne singing the national anthem.

Mitigating if favor of the flag-burners’ rights is the question of where are flags are manufactured. Whether the sewing together of our “stars & strips” is outsourced to a third world country like our military forces’ uniforms are---in keeping with the outsourcing of some of our American icons like Levi jeans. To be more civil in its disobedience, flag-burning should be executed with dry-cleaner’s fluid, cleansing the symbolism of the flag while leaving its fabric intact. Just a thought.

I think i see where youre coming from however i think that burning the flag is fine. Its drawing attention to the person, so they can say theyre peice to a larger audience. and yes most people that burn flags are anti-American but most of them are stupid and dont know anything besides that they hate america, dont know why just that they do. The few smart ones arnt against america, well maybe the government but not against the people are doing it to push the bounderies and to get attention.