FanDuel - WFBC

July 04, 2006

Monday's Great Flag Save: It was a typical 4th of July in 1976, until Rick Monday saved an American flag from an immediate burning. By the way, Happy Independence Day Sports Filter.

posted by chemwizBsquared to baseball at 11:38 AM - 77 comments

According to the article (and this other one linked to in this old SportsFilter thread), it was actually April 25, 1976. But happy Independence Day, anyway.

posted by Amateur at 11:44 AM on July 04

It's sad, but you have to wonder if Monday wouldn't be booed by a substantial part of the crowd these days.

posted by ctal1999 at 12:06 PM on July 04

What's wrong with twisting a few facts to make a story better? It happens all the time in tabloids.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 12:20 PM on July 04

Heck, it's not just the tabloids. It happens in all the major media outlets, too.

posted by ctal1999 at 12:32 PM on July 04

It's sad, but you have to wonder if Monday wouldn't be booed by a substantial part of the crowd these days. Why? Who would boo Rick Monday in a situation like that today? I respect the right to protest as much as anyone, but anyone running on to the field to disrupt a ballgame for any reason is not going to get a warm reception to start with. And while there's an anti-flag burning lobby, their opponents are not the pro-flag burning lobby, because that doesn't exist. No one's happy to see a flag go up in flames, least of all when it interrupts a ballgame. It's never a sign of good news, even when they do it in Iran, much less Dodger Stadium. I'm as hardcore a civil libertarian as you will ever meet, and I think the flag (by which I mean the piece of cloth they make in Taiwan and give away in malls and at Lee Greenwood concerts) is often overhyped to the detriment of the values that that strip of cloth actually stands for, but if I was at a ballgame today and someone ran out on the field with a flag and a lighter, well, there had better be more to that protester's statement than just a flag-burning, or I'd be thinking someone just wasted a lot of people's time.

posted by chicobangs at 01:21 PM on July 04

I watched that game on WGN and and it will always stay with me. What a great moment! I can also date myself by telling a joke that was around at the time. If Tuesday Weld (an actress from the 60's and 70's) married Rick Monday she'd be Tuesday Monday. Thank you and goodnight. And THANK YOU Rick Monday...

posted by ballen7065 at 01:22 PM on July 04

I don't know Chico. I hope you're right, but with all the debate that's gone on lately, I get the feeling that there would be a lot of folks bitching that Monday interfered with their First Amendment rights. Not a majority mind you, but a whole lot more than we'd have seen 30 years ago. As the situation stands now, they might even have a point. We don't keep the KKK and similar groups from saying and doing things that are absolutely repulsive because it's their right to express their idiotic opinions. The same can be said about flag burners (and I have the right to my opinion that they're disrespectful slugs), but it bothers me to see so many people rushing to their defense. Maybe it's just that I watch too many talking heads on cable news, but it seems there are a lot more enthusiastic supporters for that position than there used to be. It would be one thing if a few experts were saying "The flag burners have the right to express their opinions that way no matter how ill advised the majority of Americans think they are." It's another thing altogether to see them not only defended, but held up as paragons who are standing up for dissent and their First Amendment rights. It strikes me as odd that they choose to burn the flag. It's the most prominant symbol of, not our imperfect America, but the nearly perfect concept that gave us the First Amendment, and all of our other rights and freedoms, in the first place. The burners obviously don't see it that way. They see the flag as a representation of all that's wrong with the country, hence it's appropriate to burn it. Others, such as myself, see it as a representation of all the goodness that's inherent in our system from the time of the founding and into our future.

posted by ctal1999 at 02:48 PM on July 04

I am still trying to equate Flag Burning with Freedom of Speech. Un safe act, maybe, violent protest, maybe,unlawful fireworks, maybe. I just do not get the Freedom of Speech connection.

posted by saintlw at 03:35 PM on July 04

Amen, ctal!

posted by kcfan4life at 03:37 PM on July 04

I think the flag has too much crap associated with it. So everybody's perspective gets a little warped. Now, unless you throw your prostrate body across it and sacrifice your life so that it may again fly free, you're a traitor. ctal - really, dude - where are all the American flag burners? I think this was far more prominent in the 60s and 70s. With Vietnam. And history seems to side with the flag burners on that one. Remember - Monday took the flag, not from anti-American war protestors, but from a drunk and possibly deranged man protesting his wife's imprisonment in a mental institution. I'd call that a misfire rather than a threat to patriots everywhere.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:42 PM on July 04

I forgot to add - Happy Holidays USA! (I'm not being cheeky - honestly, have a good day.)

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:46 PM on July 04

So... not sports related, huh?

posted by jerseygirl at 04:12 PM on July 04

The same flag returns to Dodger Stadium on Tuesday for the first time since Monday carried it off the field on April 25, 1976.

posted by yerfatma at 04:34 PM on July 04

So is it OK to steal someone's flag, even if they're planning to burn it?

posted by mr_crash_davis at 04:40 PM on July 04

Sorry, jersey. It's about a sports figure , what he did, and why, but I'll admit that's a pretty good stretch for a sports site. Weedy, you're right in that there aren't a ton of burners in the U.S. these days, but it's been a sore subject for 40 years. There have been several attempts to make it illegal over that time, but it's turned out that it will take an amendment to do that. It's back at the forefront because we just had it addressed in our Senate again and the proponents came up one vote short. Also, remember that burning the flag in protest isn't necessarily an anti-war action. It's an anti-America action. The guy in question here wasn't protesting the war, but he was protesting the situation his family was in and he blamed the U.S. in general for those conditions. The conflict here is in the fact that some people look at the flag as a piece of cloth, while others see what it represents. Those two views don't mesh well.

posted by ctal1999 at 04:44 PM on July 04

Well, crash, since what they planned to do was illegal (not burning it, but doing it on the field), I guess the flag should be evidence sitting in a locker at the station house. Somehow, I get the feeling that nobody was too worried about that detail at the time.

posted by ctal1999 at 05:07 PM on July 04

I don't know Chico. I hope you're right, but with all the debate that's gone on lately, I get the feeling that there would be a lot of folks bitching that Monday interfered with their First Amendment rights. I don't see how this would be a First Amendment issue. You have the right to free speech, but you don't have the right to disrupt a baseball game on privately held grounds. The government isn't restricting anyone's speech, so it has nothing to do with the 1st Amendment. See also: deleting comments/posts on a privately run website. It's back at the forefront because we just had it addressed in our Senate again and the proponents came up one vote short. No, it's back in the limelight again because it's an election year. Nobody had been clamoring for an amendment since...hmmm...2000? But the moment mid-term elections roll around and one party feels that they might be in trouble, guess what gets brought out of the trunk for another round of silly debates and posturing?

posted by grum@work at 07:12 PM on July 04

Look, you wanna burn the flag, burn the flag. As long as it's not the one hanging on my front porch, I could give a damn. Do I agree with it? Nope. Do I believe you've got the right to do it as an American citizen? Yes. And if you let the gays run off and get married, I don't think that's going to affect the sanctity of my marriage. Nope, I think me and the wife'll be just fine, thanks. On topic: Monday did the right thing, for a list of reasons, not the least of which was to prevent some dumbasses with an agenda from interrupting his damn game.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 08:04 PM on July 04

There is nothing I can add to this conversation that is sports-related, aside from the fact that I wiill always hate Rick Monday for what he did to the Expos in '81.

posted by chicobangs at 08:22 PM on July 04

Grum, you'd probably be right about the outcome of a court case, but there's no comparison between a federal court and the court of public opinion, which is where most of these arguements play out. I didn't say they'd be right to scream about being denied their first amendment rights, only that they would do it. Your point about it being about politics is valid as far as it goes, but I have to ask, so what? Any social issue that gets that much attention is a part of the political arena by its very nature. I'll grant you that it gets revved up every election season, but it sure doesn't go away in the meantime. It's also not the province of one party or the other. The Republicans were the driving force behind the last Senate vote, but Hillary Clinton was one of the first to get this round rolling. Remember that the only reason the pols drag this issue out is because it pushes buttons with the electorate. The demagogues come out of the woodwork. If it didn't strike a chord with the voters, they'd never bother to bring it up. That doesn't mean that the public debate isn't worthwhile, just that politicians will take advantage of it any way they can (which shouldn't surprise any of us).

posted by ctal1999 at 08:57 PM on July 04

Why I Love America narrated by The Duke. WARNING Not sports related. Happy 4th.

posted by mjkredliner at 10:02 PM on July 04

Thanks Weedy. I love this day. Cook outs. Friends and family. Cold beer and than you get to blow shit up. It dont get any better than that. Happy 4th to all and to all a good night.

posted by azdano at 10:23 PM on July 04

Why I Love America linked by ?! In case you missed it last time: a very good article about the incident. Regarding sports and politics: As I said last time: "politics do not belong at sporting events. For example, playing of any national anthem or song popularized by Kate Smith. If you disagree and insist on politicizing the sport, how can you not expect political protests?"

posted by ?! at 10:58 PM on July 04

Wow, I guess that I incited a lot of debate. For the record, my article didn't state when Monday carried off the flag...so I'm sorry that I messed it up. But still, American fans on the whole will stand up for players when they act as Monday did 30 years and 40 days ago. Plus imagine if those two with the match hadn't lit the flag on fire but had lit the field. That could have been pretty bad for the field and potentially the stadium. All things said, who saw that Cleveland/New York game...19-1 is just...dang!

posted by chemwizBsquared at 11:24 PM on July 04

I watched the Cleveland/New York 19-1 game. It was very enjoyable and fun and very sweet! As far as flag burning,They may have a right to express themselves, and so do I when I express myself when I beat the crap out of them!

posted by The Tribster at 04:18 AM on July 05

When was the last time anyone saw a flag burned in America? Can't we move on to something that really matters... like banning gay marriage? (reaches for spoon, stirs pot)

posted by SummersEve at 04:29 AM on July 05

They may have a right to express themselves, and so do I when I express myself when I beat the crap out of them! That's it, beat those rights out of 'em! That's the American way! By the way, assault and battery, to the best of my knowledge, is still illegal in every state in the union, unless you're defending your physical well-being or that of your family...but, strangely enough, not a scrap of fabric that was likely made in another country.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:57 AM on July 05

Also, remember that burning the flag in protest isn't necessarily an anti-war action. It's an anti-America action. I would argue that it is one of the most American of actions -- exercising your right to freedom of expression. Anyway the flag loses some of its vaunted status when it is emblazoned on clothing, shoes, and umbrellas.

posted by bperk at 08:49 AM on July 05

Getting all bent out of shape over someone burning a flag is akin to getting in a twist because someone burned his daughter's prom dress after she got knocked up by that punk on the wrestling team. It's a symbol, and if people choose to burn it because the country's being repeatedly screwed by some runt or other, roll your eyes if you must -- the flag-burner just cares about his country the way that fellow cares about his daughter. She was gonna get screwed sometime, dad, and burning that dress ain't gonna change the wedding date.

posted by Hugh Janus at 09:30 AM on July 05

ctal: I didn't say they'd be right to scream about being denied their first amendment rights, only that they would do it. Do you think that if you're going to continue making assertions about what "they" would do and say and think, that you could substantiate it just a bit, pretty please? Because as others have pointed out, this is an article about an event that transpired thirty years ago. Tim Dahlberg, AP Sports Columnist, came up with a mawkish piece full of cliches stitched together with sentence fragments because he evidently was all out of ideas and said to himself, "I know! It's July Fourth! I'll write about something to do with the flag, um, what was that time that that player, whazzisname, grabbed that flag that those guys were gonna burn..." This was an article clearly written out of a sportswriter's desire for a nice long holiday weekend, and not as a reflection of some kind of flag-burning trend. So, please, if you're going to keep talking about the methods and motives of flag-burners, please come up with some actual examples, plural. Otherwise, will you concede that the bleating, hysterical reaction to the idea of flag-burning overwhelms the actual burning of flags by several orders of magnitude? Going to a ballgame tonight where, thank God, that awful piece of crap "God Bless America" will not be played,

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:41 AM on July 05

They stopped in front of the 370 sign in left center, put it down and started soaking it with a can of lighter fluid. If the flag touched the ground then it should have been burned. Monday did America a disservice. As far as the whole flag burning subject, it's just another icon that some people place way too much importance on. To me the flag means about as much as a crucifix, star of david or a golden calf, absolutely nothing.

posted by HATER 187 at 09:43 AM on July 05

there is too much put on "rights " somethings you dont do ,burning the flage telling me when and where i can display my God

posted by Ohio,Ger at 09:44 AM on July 05

there is too much put on "rights " somethings you dont do ,burning the flage telling me when and where i can display my God You can't display your God in my living room, assuming he/she/it would fit. Not ever. There, I just told you when and where you can (or rather, can't) display your God. Got a problem with it? there is too much put on "rights " I agree. There are too many rights out there. Let's start by abolishing some of yours, 'kay? Your rights end where my nose begins. Try to grasp that principle before you start in on the details.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:52 AM on July 05

According to the article it was actually April 25, 1976. America. Love it or leave it. (Tom Cruise as Ron Kovic, Born On The Fourth of July). Now if you want a REALLY great baseball story tied into July 4, let's talk about Dave Righetti no-hitting the Red Sox in 1983.

posted by dyams at 09:58 AM on July 05

Now if you want a REALLY great baseball story tied into July 4, let's talk about Dave Righetti no-hitting the Red Sox in 1983. You're being glib. (Tom Cruise, Today Show, 2005)

posted by jerseygirl at 10:49 AM on July 05

OK, people, I can't leave this alone. I know that we've gone far away from the "no politics" line, but my blood is up. First of all, freedom of expression means that you can make your opinions known, not that you can offend, harm, or inconvenience others by excercising them. Someone (It might have been a Supreme Court Justice...help me out here) once said that your right to flail your arms ends at the bridge of my nose. Yell and scream all you want, but don't incite me to anger by disrespect to my dearly held beliefs. Next, don't EVER say that the flag is just another piece of cloth. Far too many of them have covered the coffins of those who put it all on the line so we could sit around and bitch about who will or won't show up at the All Star Game. Stand at a US military installation overseas when Morning Colors is called away, or look up at the masthead of a US military vessel underway at sea. If you do not feel even a tiny grab at your heart, you have no feelings. Now I offer my apologies to anyone whom I have offended. I think most of you can understand where I'm coming from. Thanks for the opportunity to vent.

posted by Howard_T at 10:58 AM on July 05

You're being glib. (Tom Cruise, Today Show, 2005) Love it!

posted by dyams at 11:06 AM on July 05

You instigator, you.

posted by jerseygirl at 11:14 AM on July 05

Well said, Howard _T and Dyams. I'm mighty proud of "That Ragged Ol' Flag".

posted by mjkredliner at 11:16 AM on July 05

there is too much put on "rights " somethings you dont do ,burning the flage telling me when and where i can display my God Your God? Tell ya what, I'll give you a whole freakin' list of places you can't display "Your God," including public schools and private properties. Also, I don't appreciate the way you misspelled "flag." I'll just bet you did it on purpose, to bring disrespect to Old Glory. God just called, he'd like you to be quiet. Someone (It might have been a Supreme Court Justice...help me out here) If you don't know what the hell you're talking about, it's always better to just keep it to yourself; otherwise, you run the risk of looking like an idiot. Yell and scream all you want, but don't incite me to anger by disrespect to my dearly held beliefs. You getting angry is not my problem, it's yours. If you have such little control over your emotions, perhaps you should never leave the house. Next, don't EVER say that the flag is just another piece of cloth. You're right...my bad. The flag (if it's a quality one) is actually several pieces of cloth, stitched together.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 11:18 AM on July 05

I wish somebody would light Dusty Baker on fire, or just fire him!

posted by weeklyguy at 11:28 AM on July 05

Well that's not nice, now is it?

posted by jerseygirl at 11:34 AM on July 05

You know, there was a decent discussion about Rick Monday, the Dodgers, the 1970's, and what baseball means to American culture to be had here, but this thread has kicked that discussion in the teeth. Take this to Metafilter. A pissfight about the state of flag-burning in this country has no place on a sports site.

posted by chicobangs at 11:44 AM on July 05

Oh, Howard. Now you're making me take the other side. I agree with the second portion of your comment, but you're entirely wrong about freedom of expression. Can someone harm you? No. At least not physically, but they have every right to promote their own ideas even if that would be to your disadvantage (short of causing you physical damage). Inconvenience you? The recent "sick outs" that were organized across the country to protest proposals to deal with the illegal immigration situation were perfectly legal...and specifically designed to be as inconvenient as possible. There are limits when it comes to actually obstructing you from going about your own pursuits, but causing inconvenience is a legitimate aspect of protest. Finally, offend you? Are you serious? You truly think that you are granted the right by the Constitution to never be offended by someone else's opinion? I tend to feel the same way about the flag that you do, but as the situation stands today, the Supreme Court has said that flag burning is protected under the 1st Amendment. There are some legal limitations on speech and expression (libel and slander, lying under oath, dangerous speech such as yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater, inciting riots or violence, etc.), but at this point, flag burning isn't one of them. I hate to see it happen, and I wouldn't be upset if the American people choose to protect the flag as the symbol of all that's right with our country, but that's not the present reality.

posted by ctal1999 at 11:48 AM on July 05

Good God, people! I've rarely heard such a disenfranchised lot! The flag isn't about where it was produced or what it is made of. It's about the symbolism behind it. To call it another piece of cloth is a grotesque slap in the face to all those who fought and died for it dating back to the birth of this great Nation. That's right..I said this great Nation. Regardless of your political views, that piece of cloth should mean something to you, whether you are a liberal, moderate or conservative. I still get chills when I hear the Star Spangled Banner and, believe it or not, God Bless America. I do not understand how one can say they love this country out of one side of their mouth and call the flag "just another piece of cloth" out of the other. Sorry, off my soap box. Back to Sportsfilter.

posted by willthrill72 at 01:34 PM on July 05

So... start the Anchorman quotes now? Okay. Oh, Ron, there are literally thousands of men that I should be with instead, but I am 72% sure that I love you!

posted by jerseygirl at 01:37 PM on July 05

The flag isn't about where it was produced or what it is made of. It's about the symbolism behind it. To call it another piece of cloth is a grotesque slap in the face to all those who fought and died for it dating back to the birth of this great Nation. Okay, sorry to all for feeling the need to respond to this, but this is a pet peeve. Soldiers don't fight and die for the flag. They fight for rights and freedoms that, for many people, are represented by the flag. They aren't protecting the actual fabric. You folks understand what symbolism is, right?

posted by bperk at 01:51 PM on July 05

Yes, I'm intelligent enough to distinguish the difference. In no way did I mean to imply that soldiers fought and died for the actual, physical flag. However, they spilled their blood for their country...my country...of which that red and white striped fabric with the blue field and white stars is the symbol. Then again, the visual of the WWII marines planting that flag on Iwo Jima and the fact that it has become synonomous for many with heroism, patriotism and sacrifice, may put some holes in the argument that the flag is just a flag.

posted by willthrill72 at 02:04 PM on July 05

Soldiers don't fight and die for the flag. They fight for rights and freedoms that, for many people, are represented by the flag. From everything I've ever read and from any veteran I've ever asked, my understanding is that they fight for the guys next to them.

posted by yerfatma at 02:14 PM on July 05

the visual of the WWII marines planting that flag on Iwo Jima and the fact that it has become synonomous for many with heroism, patriotism and sacrifice, may put some holes in the argument that the flag is just a flag. No, it doesn't. The flag is just that. A flag. A strip of multi-colored cloth. The emotions you feel when you gaze at it lovingly are yours. All this "disrespect the flag and you disrespect the troops" bullshit is just that: bullshit. As far as the Iwo Jima photo is concerned: On Feb. 23, just four days into the battle to take Iwo Jima from the Japanese, Marines climbed Mt. Suribachi, the island's highest point. Using a 100-pound length of pipe that was part of the Japanese army's rain drainage system, the American flag was hoisted into place. It was the first American flag to fly on Japanese territory. But Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal , down on the beach, ordered the flag taken down for posterity. An underling then ordered a bigger flag be placed at the top of Mt. Suribachi. The second flag, the one in the photo, was taken off a ship sunk by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. The replacement flag was carried up the cliffs by Gagnon. He and the five other flag-raisers, and photographer Joe Rosenthal, had nothing to do with the first flag. ---From USA Today

posted by The_Black_Hand at 02:26 PM on July 05

I've got a pair of boxing trunks a-la Apollo Creed/Rocky. I wear them when I'm working out. Is that bad? Stay in school and use your brain. Be a doctor, be a lawyer, carry a leather briefcase. Forget about sports as a profession. Sports make ya grunt and smell. See, be a thinker, not a stinker. - Apollo Creed

posted by forrestv at 02:32 PM on July 05

I've got a pair of boxing trunks a-la Apollo Creed/Rocky. I wear them when I'm working out. Is that bad? Aaaaah! The holy stars and stripes of the National Ensign, touchng your dirty parts?! Defiler! Desecrator! Commie! Dear God, man, don't you know they're more than just shorts?

posted by The_Black_Hand at 02:43 PM on July 05

That's what I thought. But ROCKY AND APOLLO wore the same design! Are they not living and breathing Americana?! I'm so confused.

posted by forrestv at 02:55 PM on July 05

But ROCKY AND APOLLO wore the same design! Are they not living and breathing Americana?! After Rocky IV, I'd have to say Apollo Creed is not.

posted by yerfatma at 03:18 PM on July 05

Americana, just not living or breathing.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:39 PM on July 05

I get chills when ever I hear James Brown's rendition of Livin' in America from Rocky IV

posted by HATER 187 at 03:53 PM on July 05

Ah, they will live forever in the hearts and souls of good men and women everywhere. (types this as he wears his stars and stripes trunks and hopes he never runs into Rick Monday or the two bozos with the matches)

posted by forrestv at 04:35 PM on July 05

forrestv, if you ever find yourself pantless in a major league left field, I think you have bigger things to worry about than Rick Monday.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 04:48 PM on July 05

"I am still trying to equate Flag Burning with Freedom of Speech. Un safe act, maybe, violent protest, maybe, unlawful fireworks, maybe. I just do not get the Freedom of Speech connection." sy flag Bill Hicks talks about flag-burning... Not a big deal. Just sayin'.

posted by the red terror at 05:49 PM on July 05

A Flag may be a flimsy bit of cloth, or a beautiful banner of silk. It's intristic value may be trifling or great; but its real value is beyond price, for it is a precious symbol of all that we and our forefathers have worked, lived, and died for-- a free Nation of free men and women, true to the faith of the past, devoted to the ideals and practice of Justice, Freedom and Democracy.

posted by beermn at 06:57 PM on July 05

beermn: I hear a lot about the ideals and I see precious little of the practice. Any other ex-Scouts here? Children of Marines? I've burned. I'll burn again. lil brown bat and The Black Hand. You've nailed this thread over and over again. Thanks. Now, let's get back to sports... What if they had got the flag burning and Monday injured his hand? Maybe he would have dropped out of baseball and wouldn't have caused Blue Monday? And you know what that would have meant....? The Expos win the Series! The Expos win the Series!!!! I can dream. I'm a Dreamer. And not the only one.

posted by ?! at 07:50 PM on July 05

Sorry, lbb. I guess I got under your skin (again). First, you're right. The article itself wasn't exactly stellar. Still, it was just the starting point for the discussion that followed. Now, you wanted examples so I'll oblige as best I can. I often surf the cable news channels, but I don't keep a log of times and channels. What I can tell you from memory is that, in the month or so leading up to the Senate vote, I saw Susan Estridge (I think on O'Reilly), Christina Vanden Huevel (I believe on CNN, don't recall the show), Alan Colmes (on Hannity & Colmes), and Terry Mc Auliffe (I think it was on MSNBC with Chris Matthews). All of them expressed the general feeling that it was abhorent that anyone would even consider restricting free speech in that way and, while screaming may be too strong a term, they were all pretty energetic about defending the rights of flag burners. There were others as well, but they weren't immediately recognizable and I don't have any details for you. I'm not even saying they're wrong. According to the Supreme Court, flag burners are within their rights. It just bothers me to see so many people who are downright eager to come out in support of an action that so many Americans find to be extremely objectionable. After all, the KKK and Neo-Nazis have the right to spew their filth at public rallys all across the country. Plenty of people defend their right to do it. Hell, I'll even defend it, but I'll make it clear that I don't agree with anything they say or do. I 'd expect the same attitude from most people about flag burning, a grudging admission that they're within their rights to do it but that it's a repulsive act. Instead, I've seen all too many who were all fired up and ready to go to the mat for them. I think what it boils down to is that there are two very polarized points of view. If you look at the flag and see a design on some material (and that doesn't mean that you don't love the country or aren't patriotic, just that you don't attach those feelings to the flag), why would you care if someone wants to burn it? On the other hand, if you look at the flag and see something that is the embodiment of all the lofty concepts and immeasurable sacrifices that have brought us to the present day, why wouldn't you be very angry if someone wants to burn it? That's what the flag represents to me, and I know I'm not alone (because I've heard the same thing from others and because many of the comments in this discussion have been in the same vein, but please don't make me go get you examples). I don't think the flag represents America's darkest hours any more than the cross represents pedophile priests. It represents the best of our history and aspirations for the future. Unless there's an amendment passed, burners have the right to light up Old Glory to their hearts' content...but remember, just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

posted by ctal1999 at 08:58 PM on July 05

Well put, ctal, especially the last line.

posted by weeklyguy at 09:25 PM on July 05

Sounds like you can't walk down the street in the US without being hit by a burning flag. I'm sick of soundbite politics.

posted by SummersEve at 06:27 AM on July 06

Hold on, the kids are out in the front yard burning flags again, guess I'll have to give 'em a blast from the Hose of Patriotism. Which, of course, is hooked up to the Spigot of Freedom.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 06:59 AM on July 06

THB: THAT was pretty freakin' funny.

posted by dyams at 07:21 AM on July 06

Ctal, defending someone's rights to burn the flag is not the same as defending someone burning the flag. One of the most fundamental rights that we have in this country is the right to criticize our government. The vehement defense of the right to burn the flag is likely because it is a political protest -- usually aimed at the government. Why wouldn't we be vehemently against the government wanting to restrict our ability to criticize it?

posted by bperk at 08:08 AM on July 06

Hold on, the kids are out in the front yard burning flags again, guess I'll have to give 'em a blast from the Hose of Patriotism. Really making an effort to get to Level 3 Sex Offender this year, huh? Its nice to see that sort of commitment and dedication - its the American Way.

posted by jerseygirl at 08:36 AM on July 06

bperk, like I said, burning the flag is a legal form of protest, at least for now. There's nothing wrong with defending that right (any more than defending the rights of the KKK or Neo-Nazis, as I've also said). It's not the fact that people will defend flag burning that bothers me. It's that so many of the defenders today seem almost gleeful when they do it, or are downright vitriolic to those who think the flag is worthy of protection. Defending flag burning isn't new, but I think that enthusiastic attitude about it is, for the most part, with the possible exception of the Vietnam era (the second half of which was pretty much one big protest). There are those that see fabric, and those that see what the fabric is meant to represent. It seems like the vast majority of Americans used to fall into the second camp (and no, lbb, I don't have copies of the polling data from the last several decades or bar graphs and pie charts in support of that statement, so please don't ask). It seems that a lot more people are falling into the first camp these days (again, lbb, no solid data for back up, but that should be OK since the word SEEMS is subjective in nature and doesn't in any way imply factual research, just an impression from casual observation), and that's what I've been bemoaning since the start of my comments.

posted by ctal1999 at 09:56 AM on July 06

ctal, i think that's simply the backlash of politicizing an issue. While it stirs up your base, it also stirs up the other side's. But again, it's soundbite politics and people will see and hear what they want to see and hear.

posted by SummersEve at 10:15 AM on July 06

It's not the fact that people will defend flag burning that bothers me. It's that so many of the defenders today seem almost gleeful when they do it, or are downright vitriolic to those who think the flag is worthy of protection. I don't feel any glee, but I do feel a certain amount of vitriol when it comes to the government, the same government that hasn't secured our borders, hasn't devised a true exit strategy for Iraq, hasn't fully handled the Taliban in Afghanistan, continues to cut the benefits for the very men and women sent into these conflicts, and can't safeguard the personal information of over 26 million veterans, feels they have the time to fuck around with something so shallow and transparent as doctoring the Constitution of the United States to cramp our ability to exercise our right to free speech, all for the sake of rallying the base and protecting their power. Yeah, that pisses me off. Just a bit. I've burned two American flags in my life, both of which were being retired from use, and both times I used the flag disposal method prescribed by the VFW. I've never burned ANY flag just to prove a point, and I seriously doubt I will ever have any reason to do so. I don't support flag burning any more than the faithful neocons who run this country, but damned if I don't support your right to do it, and I will continue to support that right.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 11:08 AM on July 06

You and I are actually in agreement then, TBH. I'm not overly happy with our government at the moment either, but like I said, the flag doesn't represent our darkest hours (at least not to me, and it sounds like not to you either). I'm pissed about the borders, and the treatment of our vets. I understand the "big picture" that the administration has for Iraq and Afghanistan, but I'm getting sick of all the "unexpected" set backs. As to "doctoring the Constitution", I feel a little differently about it than you do (but not virilently so). If enough Americans feel that the flag is sacred enough to protect from ill treatment that they can push through an amendment, I'm OK with that. I don't support flag burning and I sure wouldn't miss it. Having said that, is it as urgent as any of the other issues you listed? Hell no! Of course, you have to realize that the arguement that's often used against that logic is that you could pick literally any time in our history and point to items that would be more pressing. If the legislators didn't make a conscious effort to bring it up, it would never see the light of day...and both sides would miss the chance to rally the base during election season. Still, just because the pols are demagogues on the issue doesn't mean that the issue itself doesn't have validity (which is probably why so many of us outside of government get so fired up whenever the issue rolls around again).

posted by ctal1999 at 01:52 PM on July 06

ctal: Sorry, lbb. I guess I got under your skin (again). Hardly that, son; you've got exactly zero ability to stop me should I ever wish to burn a flag, and your attitudes against flag-burning are of the milder sort, hardly anything that would "get under my skin". First, you're right. The article itself wasn't exactly stellar. Still, it was just the starting point for the discussion that followed. The article was the piece of shit from which a beautiful garden might grow? Oh my. I don't think so, but again, you feel free if you want to. Now, you wanted examples so I'll oblige as best I can. I often surf the cable news channels, but I don't keep a log of times and channels. What I can tell you from memory is that, in the month or so leading up to the Senate vote, I saw Susan Estridge (I think on O'Reilly), Christina Vanden Huevel (I believe on CNN, don't recall the show), Alan Colmes (on Hannity & Colmes), and Terry Mc Auliffe (I think it was on MSNBC with Chris Matthews). All of them expressed the general feeling that it was abhorent that anyone would even consider restricting free speech in that way and, while screaming may be too strong a term, they were all pretty energetic about defending the rights of flag burners. Whoa up right there. You haven't answered my question. What I asked was as follows -- I'll add emphasis to try and keep things on track this time: So, please, if you're going to keep talking about the methods and motives of flag-burners, please come up with some actual examples, plural. Otherwise, will you concede that the bleating, hysterical reaction to the idea of flag-burning overwhelms the actual burning of flags by several orders of magnitude? ...in response to your statement: I didn't say they'd be right to scream about being denied their first amendment rights, only that they would do it. Clearly, the first amendment rights of which you speak are the first amendment rights of the flag-burners. You made a statement about flag-burners protesting an incursion on their freedom of expression; you made statements about what flag-burners would and would not do by way of protest. I responded to ask you WTF flag-burners you were speaking about, and asked you for examples of same. You responded with the names of people speaking in defense of the right to burn a flag. You are now talking about a different matter altogether, and you are not answering my question. It just bothers me to see so many people who are downright eager to come out in support of an action that so many Americans find to be extremely objectionable. Like men sleeping with other men? A lot of Americans find that "extremely objectionable". Some Americans find it "extremely objectionable" that other Americans eat meat. I find it "extremely objectionable" that some Americans drive SUVs and that other Americans assault my senses by advertising of SUVs. Get used to it. I think what it boils down to is that there are two very polarized points of view. No, there aren't. There are many different points of view, and a failure to see shades of gray that thus reduces them to black and white. If you look at the flag and see a design on some material (and that doesn't mean that you don't love the country or aren't patriotic, just that you don't attach those feelings to the flag), why would you care if someone wants to burn it? If I'm not a gay man, why would I care if someone wants to discriminate against gay men? On the other hand, if you look at the flag and see something that is the embodiment of all the lofty concepts and immeasurable sacrifices that have brought us to the present day, why wouldn't you be very angry if someone wants to burn it? Because how can I be "very angry" about someone burning the flag and not be "very angry" over American flag underwear or American flag beach towels or American flag stickers on someone's SUV? Because how can I be such a dunce as to believe that burning a flag in any way negates or harms these "lofty concepts and immeasurable sacrifices"? That's what the flag represents to me, and I know I'm not alone (because I've heard the same thing from others and because many of the comments in this discussion have been in the same vein, but please don't make me go get you examples). Oh, arrgh, if you're gonna debate, please follow the debate. I never asked you for examples of people who feel as fervent as you about the actual physical embodiment of the flag; god knows there are a metric buttload of 'em and they're all up in everyone's face telling us all how they feel about the flag, as if we asked. I never asked you for examples of people who support the concept of flag-burning, either, but you gave me those. I asked you for examples of flag-burners. I don't think the flag represents America's darkest hours any more than the cross represents pedophile priests. Guess you never listened to the words of the Star-Spangled Banner, then. It represents the best of our history and aspirations for the future. To you. But you do not and never will own what that symbol means to others. Unless there's an amendment passed, burners have the right to light up Old Glory to their hearts' content...but remember, just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. A statement that applies equally well to politically-motivated dufus-ass legislation to curtail fundamental American liberties. So once more, I'll ask: where are these flag-burners? Stack 'em up, and we'll see how they measure up in numbers to those who would deny the right to burn the flag -- and then we can talk about which represents the greater threats to this nation's "lofty concepts".

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:09 PM on July 06

lbb, the only reason that I mentioned getting under your skin was because you seem to have zeroed in on me. This isn't the first time that we've had a less than pleasant exchange. That wouldn't be a big deal except that it always seems to start when you respond to a comment I put up by slamming it, even though there are a half dozen or so comments from others that are similar to mine. I'm not saying that you only go after me, but it's starting to feel like you don't miss an opportunity to either. That's why I figured that I must have done something to really tick you off, but I have no idea what it was. I assure you, whatever it was, I didn't mean to make an enemy of you. I've disagreed with a lot of people on this site, but it's usually just a reasoned give and take with an effort to persuade. With you, it feels personal, and I don't get that. It's like being in a knife fight instead of a discussion. There are a few things I could say in response to your last comment, but I don't think it's wise. We kinda went over the edge on this one and we aren't going to help matters by keeping it up. We each misunderstood a couple of things toward the beginning (and, I admit, they were both my fault), but I have a sneaking feeling that we'd have ended up in the same spot, misunderstandings or no. Maybe I'm off base here and you don't have a target painted on me. It could be that I just happen to be the one to have set you off recently, or maybe you just like to play hardball and I gave you a good opportunity. I could indulge in pointless speculation all night, but if I did piss you off somehow, I'm truly sorry. I'd really appreciate a heads up on what I did, just so I can try not to repeat it.

posted by ctal1999 at 07:22 PM on July 06

ctal, at this point, instead of continuing this line of inquiry here, perhaps you should go to l_b_b's profile, get her email address, and take care of it there.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:50 AM on July 07

Maybe I'm off base here and you don't have a target painted on me. You're off base here, dude. I'm not sure how many times I'm gonna have to tell you that, so I'll say it one last time, and you can take it or leave it. Damned if I can figure out how you interpret someone saying, "Right, but that's not the question I asked; can you answer that question, please?" as being "set off" or "playing hardball" or being "pissed off" or being "zeroed in on [you]" or any of the various other out-to-get-me scenarios that you've come up with. I will close with the thought that there's quite a bit of irony in your belief that I've somehow got it in for you. Half a dozen people disagreed with you and made the same points I did, so how is it that you chose to respond to me in this way? From our first interaction you decided that I had it in for you -- based on what? I don't know who you are, where you live, what you look like, how you vote, and I really don't care. I don't make assumptions about any of that! I don't have some mental profile of you, and I'm sure not saying, "ooh, here's that jerk ctal again, time to give it to him again, uhhhh letsee what he's saying so I can give him shit about it." I'm responding to your words, dude; I don't know who you are! If anyone's got a target painted on 'em in this exchange, it ain't you. Sheesh almighty, I am done with this.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:42 AM on July 07

Thanks for the reply, lbb. I promise you that I have no intention of targeting you. I take you at your word that the same is true in reverse. I guess I mistook intensity for animosity, and I'm sorry for painting you with that brush. As I said earlier, in rereading the chain of comments, I see two areas where we each misunderstood the other. In the first instance, you misinterpreted my meaning, but it was because the sentence was poorly written and the meaning was unclear. In the second instance, I was already getting defensive and I failed to read one of your responses properly. I rushed through it and went right into reponse mode. If I HAD read it thoroughly, it would have been obvious to me that you had misunderstood my earlier statement. Instead, I thought your questions were an attempt to steer the discussion away from what I'd said and into a similar vein that favored your arguement. As it turned out instead, I shot off a reply and got a little smart assed about it to boot. Both misunderstandings were my fault, then I decide to get snarky. All in all, my bad. You seem pretty fed up with all of this, so I didn't want to go into detail on where things went wrong on this one. If you're curious about it, I'd be happy to explain, but if you'd rather just drop it, consider it forgotten.

posted by ctal1999 at 11:06 AM on July 07

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