Sunday, June 8, 2008


The American people were in a near state of revolution when the late Associate Justice Brennan found it unconstitutional to punish someone for burning the flag. Today respect for the flag is at a near low. Anyone who demands respect for the flag is considered not credible.

This entire issue about the flag is confusing to me in part because I am not nationalistic at all. For me, however, the flag is about saying to the endless number of Americans who have died in service to this country, you did not die without purpose. It also means to me that there is a freedom in this country worth defending. Respect for the flag is the only way we as a nation can demonstrate respect for those who have died in service to the flag and the freedoms for which it stands.

It boggles my mind that I am being attacked, albeit by only two or three people who are using my argument on the flag, as a distraction from the real issues. I have lost count on how many people who have seen the video have come up to me at the movies, gym or elsewhere and said "thank you for defending the flag."

Let’s have a little reality check. Did you know that under official etiquette that the Mexican flag is to fly at the same level as the US flag? I have seen this around town.

"(g) When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace."

So when I see businesses around town which displace the Mexican and US flag at the same height, I am just wrong and not credible for being angry. I find it contemptuous of everything the flag means to me when I see the Mexican flag and US flag flying at the same height. And for the record it has nothing to do with Mexico - it has everything to do with the US flag and the sacrifices which have been made under the US flag for the world.

This is where veterans have been fighting this official etiquette for years. We have won the argument in many cities around the US. In others we have lost. Etiquette is as much about how we feel about ourselves as that written into a discretionary code by a bureaucrat.

The etiquette does provide for the US flag to fly higher than the other displayed flags when there are 3 or more flags total being displaced. So maybe the solution is to fly the flag of Brownsville so here are three flags.

(e) The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.

The question veteran groups have been asking for years since these bizarre proposed rules of etiquette have been in place is, why is the US flag equal with Texas if there are just two, but superior if you include the City of Brownsville flag? It makes no sense.

Immediately after my appearance before the City Commission I posted on the BV the relevant Texas etiquette code which demonstrated I was not standing on the Flag Code as to my position. My position was then and remains a position of principal. A crime which should be punished with being declared non probabilis and non compos mentis, by those who oppose the flag and the freedom for which it stands. If I remember correctly it is, "I pledge allegiance to the flag," and not I pledge allegiance to etiquette as established by bureaucrats and politicos. But then I could be wrong.

United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Brennan wrote in the flag burning case, that if a person can be put in jail for burning the symbol of freedom, then the symbol of freedom does not represent freedom. (This is my summary of his words.)

Speech matters. To my detractors - distractions matter - they lack the intellect to argue why placing the US flag higher than the Texas flag is wrong. If your only defense is some bureaucrat wrote a book of etiquette saying the US flag only flies higher when there are three or more flags but not two, then you have no defense.

It is sad, and unacceptable that the City of Brownsville City Commissioners’ position on the issue will be based on a book of etiquette and not a reverence for the flag and the countless number of Americans who have died in service to the flag. But you see, it allows for them to discredit the voice who make the argument, thereby justifying their contempt for speech and the people of Brownsville. I will venture not a one will stand with the flag, because with politicos it is about standing on etiquette so they can say they are correct, and not on the honor of those who have died in service to the US flag.


Anonymous said...

The Flag Rules were created and advocated for by patriotic groups. We certainly are a country of laws. The Flag Code, though voluntary, gives us all a consistent way to display our flags respectfully. I honor your impulses, but vigilantism, even in something as benign as displaying a flag, doesn't create patriotism, it creates disputation. It doesn't honor those who gave their lives for our freedom, but trivializes them. They gave their lives protecting our freedoms; but our freedoms only have meaning when we agree to a code of behavior which allows us to thrive. Let the flags wave, and show your respect for the lives lost by helping your neighbors and by creating a better world.

BobbyWC said...

Doug Thanks for commenting - The essence of free speech is disputation - which means patriotism is disputation - you will note I never questioned anyone's patriotism - I questioned whether or not when then say "I pledge allegiance to the flag" they actually mean it or they are going through a routine expected of them.

The day we decide disputation is unpatriotic is the day we should burn the last flag - because the flag will be dead.

This debate has been going on for decades - sometimes we win sometimes we loose.

People died in service to the flag and protecting the world - the flag should always fly higher than any other flag - except on neutral territory - such as the UN -

Do you know the lines:

And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

When it stands equal to other flags it does not stand out to remind us of our freedoms and sacrifices of those who gave their lives in defense of the flag.

Exactly how do you honor those who died in defense of the flag by flying the US flag level with the Russian, Mexican, of French flag to name just a few? You do not

Bobby WC