Freedom means a lot of things
July 4, 2006 7:20 PM   Subscribe

Santa Cruz's 2nd Annual Old Time American Flag Burn at Seabright Beach. Every holiday has its dissenters, or people who want to make a point. Some call it a celebration. Others, I'm sure, would call it something else.
posted by pyramid termite (28 comments total)
People like this make me proud to be an american vet.
posted by mischief at 7:27 PM on July 4, 2006

Personally, I'd like to round up a bugle playing boy scout and burn a lot of flags. Hint - it's supposed to be a rectangle and the stripes are supposed to be attached to one another.

Or maybe it's an ironic statement on the state of the union that I'm just not getting.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:36 PM on July 4, 2006

posted by keswick at 7:36 PM on July 4, 2006

"I disagree with what you say, but I'll fight to the death your right to say it."--Voltaire

Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, Voltaire didn't say it, but it's still a great sentiment and philosophy.
posted by John of Michigan at 7:37 PM on July 4, 2006

Just like abortions and gay marriages, you dont have to burn a flag if you don't want.

But really its always trotted out at election time by the self-styled conservatives. Frist went so far as to say that the flag is a symbol of freedom, so it must be protected from desecration. FYI the Irony Anvil(tm) is waiting in the wings to smash his brains out.
posted by MrLint at 7:41 PM on July 4, 2006

I don't see a problem with people expressing their disgust with the Bush regime. I wish I'd known about it, that's my beach.

Flag burning is soooo important that we must drop everything else (especially all those scandal investigations into the GOP leadership!).

Seriously, I care alot more about soldiers dying stupidly than I do about people burning a tarnished symbol.
posted by fenriq at 7:50 PM on July 4, 2006

Personally, I'd like to round up a bugle playing boy scout and burn a lot of flags. Hint - it's supposed to be a rectangle and the stripes are supposed to be attached to one another.

posted by mendel at 7:57 PM on July 4, 2006

Anyone who wants to ban the burning of the American flag doesn't understand what that flag means.

Flag burning is expressing political dissent by burning a piece of cloth. It is a gesture, and causes no harm and destroys nothing by itself.

An amendment to suppress political dissent, of whatever type, would destroy the real fabric of the flag in a way that no mere fire ever could.
posted by Malor at 8:20 PM on July 4, 2006

In principle I'd agree with the celibration. And of course as protest speech to counter the anti-flag burning folks. But from the pictures it just looks banal. Reminds me of a story of a guy in Ottowa peeing on the national war memorial on Canada Day. Just happened to be drunk, not pro or con anything. I have to say I find that extremely distasteful. And I'd agree with fenriq, there are more worthwhile things to work on, particularly if one's heart isn't in the flag burning thing and is there (purely for example) to score chicks or some such thing. I mean there's a person covering their face. But I like the idea of sharing personal feelings and beliefs about burning American flags.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:24 PM on July 4, 2006

/while engaged in burning them of course.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:25 PM on July 4, 2006

I would, if I were a member of our esteemed legislature, immediately vote yes for any anti-flag-desecration bill that came up while I was in office. Even if the penalty for doing so was being shot, and having your entire extended family shot, too (after all, one can't go too far in protecting freedom, right?), and if the definition of "the flag" was made so broad you couldn't pass wind while wearing any combination of red, white, and blue, or let the flag that the neighborhood boyscouts plant on your lawn touch the ground without suffering the consequences.

Not because I believe the flag should be protected to the detriment of the freedoms it represents -- or, worshipped as an idol -- heavens no! It's because I can't believe that we still have apparently serious national policy debates on this. It's because I believe it's sheer political opportunism that's behind that. And I'd so much like to see it over and done with that I'd simply support any anti-flag legislation.

And the more jack-booted, the better. Maybe after a decade or two of ridiculously draconians responses, people would start thinking again. Maybe.

Also, I support execution for those guilty of copyright violations, and if underage, their legal guardians. As long as they're attended by 50 public witnesses and broadcast on cable TV.
posted by weston at 8:32 PM on July 4, 2006

The freedom to burn a flag if one chooses should be defended. What should be banned is the giving of reasons why people outside America would want to burn a flag in the first place. Unless of course we don't want people to like us but just wanna conquer. I mean if we wanna be Ghengis Khan or Napoleon or whatever that's fine.

If we wanna police the planet, it'd be helpful if we actually gave people reasons to like that idea.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:39 PM on July 4, 2006

...I mean to say you should have the freedom to burn a flag if'n ya wanna... But ya shouldn't wanna. I mean you should have the freedom to wanna if you wanna. It's just.. whatever stimulus might cause someone to wanna? That's what we need to investigate.

On second thought, flags look cool when they burn. I mean viscerally and subjectively it's disconcerting and can even engender animosity but if you look at it objectively, it's really rather pretty.

We should just incorporate that into fireworks displays and stuff. Y'know. So that people would come to see burning of flags as a way to celebrate instead of a way to insult. So when the nonAmericans want to demonstrate how much they hate us, they'd have to do something other than burn a flag... Like, draw moustaches on it or something.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:48 PM on July 4, 2006

Clicked on the link; freedom and limbs still intact.
However, you made the baby Orrin Hatch cry.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 8:57 PM on July 4, 2006

As Jesse Ventura said, "If you buy the flag it's yours to burn."
posted by wfrgms at 9:19 PM on July 4, 2006

As Jesse Ventura said, "If you buy the flag it's yours to burn."

And in doing so, illuminated the only true, long lasting American value: property.
posted by wilful at 10:00 PM on July 4, 2006

Burning your country's flag is its own punishment. Like name-calling ('Rethuglicans', 'barking moonbats') and conspiracy nuttery, it tags the person who does it as a crank.

Flag burning is political suicide. Doesn't need a law against it.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:24 PM on July 4, 2006

Then again, this goes on in Santa Cruz. The same town that has collectively acted like a festering asshat to military recruiters.

"Poison Oak, 35, of Aptos, said he wanted to "reclaim the flag. Not only those who support President George W. Bush can wave the red white and blue.""

I have the strangest feeling that the event was filled with plenty of "Bush is teh sux!!11!!" commentary.

Mr. Oak seems blissfully unaware of the fact that there are many of us that do not support Bush, but still wave the 'red, white, & blue.' We just don't feel a need to burn flags 'just because we can.'
posted by drstein at 10:34 PM on July 4, 2006

I wish they were more passionate in their flag burning ritual. Seems like a bunch of dumbasses burning flags just because they can. "Hur-hur, we're burnin' it cuz they don't want us to."

Get a fucking reason to burn the flag, plz. Not just because it's SHOCKING.
posted by puke & cry at 11:02 PM on July 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

This version of the US in 2006 deserves to have its flag burned. Yesterday was a day of mourning for me. For the first time in my 42 years of life, on 4th of July I had exactly zero feelings of patriotism of any sort and, in their place, only shame and disgust.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:38 AM on July 5, 2006

Hey, I just figured out a new form of self expression. I can walk around with my underwear on the outside of my pants... BECAUSE I CAN! Also, I will gargle applesauce.
posted by Clamwacker at 2:24 AM on July 5, 2006

Flag burning is expressing political dissent by burning a piece of cloth. It is a gesture, and causes no harm and destroys nothing by itself.
It also hurts feelings and America has become a nation obsessed with laws enacted to protect the feelings of a few at the expense of the many. Perhaps that sweeping generalization is too broad but I don't think it is far off.

I found the images to be more disturbing than I expected, (I'm a veteran), but I still can't support a law making it illegal.
I don't see a problem with people expressing their disgust with the Bush regime.
I think that is where I see this as the wrong gesture for disagreeing with the President. The flag does not represent the President, (he has his own seal/flag for that). Burn that. Create an effigy. Burn that.
This version of the US in 2006 deserves to have its flag burned.
Don't lose faith. The current administration is out of touch but it is just that, the current administration. Don't let apathy take hold.
posted by geekyguy at 2:30 AM on July 5, 2006

Patriotism sucks, ban flags, not the burning of them.
posted by twistedonion at 2:48 AM on July 5, 2006

Well, its a bit tinfoil hattish, but I can't help but notice two things a) flag burning seems to be rather passe, when was the last time you actually saw an American protester burning an American flag? b) The government is really pushing an anti-flag burning amendment in what seems to me to be an effort to distract people from more real problems.

When the two facts are taken together, years and years with no flag burning combined with an intense desire on the part of the government to pretend that flag burning is a serious problem, the sudden appearance of a group dedicated to burning flags looks a bit suspicious.

I'm not saying that the people involved were actually paid to do this by the Republican party, but I am saying that if I found out that they were it wouldn't really surprise me that much.

Not, I suppose that you can't find genuine fruitloops who really do get into that sort of thing, and if this event had taken place *before* the big vote on the amendment the timing would have looked a lot more suspicious, but still. These days protestors wave flags, they don't burn 'em.
posted by sotonohito at 9:30 AM on July 5, 2006

to quote julia childs speaking to mr T " you can't burn a flag if you cook it slowly in a wine sauce"
posted by beachgrrlmusic at 10:38 AM on July 5, 2006

Santa Cruz was like Berkeley's kid brother for a few decades. It tried really hard to fit in with all the rebellious intellectuals that hung out in its basement, but between its brighter moments it eventually acted like the awkward moronic child that it is, and that's all anyone remembers.

But, with funding cuts to the UC system over the last few years and enrollment on the increase, these sort of empty "fuck the man" gestures are seen by an increasingly-large crowd of sensible people as exactly that. Enrollment will climb from 15,000 to 25,000 within the decade, in a town that boasts (at a generous estimate) 60,000 residents total. Beyond the minor scandals that hit the news media with the spin of, "Oh, look at those wacky Santa Cruz kids!" there's a mass of preppy, entitled students that didn't get into UCLA or Berkeley.

Sure, Santa Cruz is a quirky place. And sometimes, it's a great place. But less and less it's the place that everyone thinks it is.
posted by sixacross at 1:54 AM on July 6, 2006

“I’ll tell you this much about the United States, we are sure bringing about world unity. ‘Cause the one thing that unites the entire planet — hatred of us. It’s like you all became one big nation called ‘The rest of the world’.”

“Well, actually, we did. In fact, we’ve got our own flag.”

“Oh yeah? What is it?”

“Same as yours, but on fire.”
posted by fullerine at 12:46 AM on July 7, 2006

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