Burning Old Glory isn’t the Only Way Our Flag is Scorned
A fella in Baton Rouge caused quite a stir this week when he announced plans to burn an American Flag in LSU's Free Speech Alley.
Free Speech Alley is a long-standing tradition at LSU, dating back to the 1960s, where students use the venue to exercise their right to free speech and expression.
In the end, the guy didn't burn Old Glory. His reluctance probably had something to do with the hundreds of protestors who descended upon the site to decry his actions.
They were armed with water guns (filled with something other than H2O, I'd wager) and ready to let loose the metaphorical dogs of war upon the rabble-rouser. There was a large police contingent available to give protection if the guy decided to carry out the act.
He didn't. And there was no violence. At least none on the record.
"With our commitment to free speech occasionally comes events that offend our standards and values," LSU Chancellor Michael Martin said."Burning an American flag offends the vast majority of the LSU community. Still, freedom of speech ensures that even objectionable expressions of opinion will exist. While we accept this reality, please join me in continuing to express our support for this great nation and the symbols that represent it."
I'm an advocate for free speech. That's kind of a given with my job. But flag burning? Well, flag burning just gets under my skin a little too much.
The right to free speech is a key component of our individual liberties, but I just don't believe the right should extend to the desecration of the Red, White and Blue.
That flag represents our rights protected by the Constitution, including the freedom of speech.
A violation of the flag is the same as disavowing those same rights.
Flag desecration is the desecration of our American traditions and for the men and women who have fought and died to protect them.
The protestors who came to boo and heckle LSU's flag burner understand my point.
But there is another point they apparently missed. A lot of them, heck, probably 75 percent of them were disrespecting the flag as well.
I've seen the news videos as well as some Youtube postings about what transpired on Wednesday.
The protestors, too many to count, were decked out in flag clothing.
I'm not a fan of such paraphernalia.
The United States Flag Code states the flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding or drapery. But there sure are a lot of American flag shirts, hats, underwear, bandannas and the like for sale and being worn all about our American communities.
Now, you'll hear interpretations of that tenant. Saying that the clothing items or bedspreads or thong underwear aren't actual flags (as in cut from Old Glory) but just replicas. Justification, right?
Not in my opinion. Because the flag code goes on to say "a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica should be worn on the left lapel near the heart."
The code makes specific mention of a flag patch and a flag lapel. The code uses the word "replica" in those instances. The code doesn't use that word to approve flag boxer shorts.
There are no laws against such displays. Just as there are no laws against burning the flag. The code is just that, a code, guidelines. The code is not law.
Wearing a flag shirt shouldn't be equated with flag burning. Not saying that.
But they are both in poor taste. And both are disrespectful.
Oh, and for what's it's worth, if you are flying a flag in your yard, it's supposed to come down every evening.
If it doesn't you're supposed to make sure it is properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
Just another point from the code that a lot of folks ignore.