Liberals Should Push for Flag Burning Amendment

Liberals are passing on a huge chance to potentially tip the
constituency scales in their favor. Liberals could make plenty good use
of an amendment on flag desecration. Unfortunately, they appear blinded
to the potential bludgeon this amendment could be. The Democrats'
desperate need for a Rove-like soothsayer was never more apparent.
Right-wing Republicans could rue the day they force this amendment
through the state houses of America.

How? Stars and Stripes schwag is de rigeur for today's right-wing
Republican. On everything from ties, hats and even bug deflectors,
right-wingers feel naked unless they can wrap themselves in the flag. It
would appear that Republicans do not see the potential for problems were
liberals to pursue the old right-wing course of persecuting hippies and
progressives for displaying the flag everywhere during the sixties. An
American flag patch on the bottom of one's ratty jeans or a stylized
flag on one's motorcycle helmet and other such "protest" displays could
get one beat up, back in the day.

Unfortunately, you see the term "desecration" does have some ambiguity
to it. Is it burning the flag? No, it cannot be that, because the proper
disposal of a flag that is no longer in serviceable condition is for it
to be burned. To properly prosecute the perpetrator of a flag burning,
said perpetrator would almost have to admit that the burning was an act
of desecration otherwise the burner could simply state that the flag was
no longer in respectable condition. We would need to have "thought
police" to determine the true intent of a flag burning were the burner
to plead flag code adherence as an excuse.

Here is where liberals can really vex the right-wingers. In an effort to
narrowly define "desecration", the flag code is a perfect tool to remove
ambiguity. Failure to adhere to the flag code should by definition be
"desecration". Seems logical to me. To further remove ambiguity,
liberals should try to force in language more exactly defining the
current flag code as well as increasing the penalties for said
desecration to something quite onerous, for example, make it a felony
punishable by at least 5 years in jail. Liberals should get some
clarifications inserted in the flag code to make sure they will be able
to leverage the amendment for its maximum political impact.

Democrats could ask, what exactly are the criteria for making a flag
unserviceable and therefore mandating its disposal? In this digital
imaging age, it will be quite easy to distribute small cards with the
approved shades of red, white and blue. That way it will be easy to see
when a flag needs to be retired by simply comparing the colors on a
"candidate" flag that may have faded beyond acceptable limits to the
government approved "These Colors Don't Run" flag desecration color
match card. The flag code could also be enhanced to state exactly how
many foot candles of light must be falling on an American flag that is
displayed at night. In addition, the definition of rain should include
exactly how many drops per unit per square foot defines "rain" as well
as similar benchmarks for all other types of precipitation.

The flag burning amendment presents a tremendous opportunity to remove
the super (pseudo) patriots who fly the American flag 24/7 in front of
their houses and on their automobiles and these verbiage clarifications
will only sharpen the tool. These pseudo-patriotic persons are almost
exclusively Republicans and big Bush supporters to boot. The
pseudo-patriots regularly violate the flag code based upon my
observations. By flying the flag 24/7, the flag tends to become faded
and tattered in short order, but these alleged patriots never take the
flag down. Similarly, during raining or inclement weather, they do not
take the flag down as the flag code specifies, but let it fly in
drenching rains. This further damages the flag and disrespects it. Also,

by flying the flag of this nation 24/7 the pseudo-patriots leave their
flags up past sunset most of the time, if they take it in at all, ever.
The ability to remove these pseudo-patriotic flag desecraters from the
streets of America will definitely make things safer in America. After
all, flag desecration is a serious offense and sets a very poor example
for our youth. The flag code clearly states that the flag should be
brought in after sunset unless a spot light is shined upon it,
parenthetically; a porch light 50 feet away in a doorway would not
qualify. The flag code also clearly states the flag should be brought in
during inclement weather. If liberals can get an exact definition of the
official colors of the American flag, those that are faded and ready for
burning will be readily identifiable.

The most compelling reason for liberal support of the flag desecration
amendment should be the widespread display of the Confederate flag by
right-wing southerners. Everyone knows, of course, that the Confederate
flag was the banner of secession and treason, as the Union saw it. But
most people don't know that the Confederate flag design itself was a
physical desecration of the Stars-and-Stripes. It takes the physical
elements of the Union flag and rearranges them in a parody. It was meant

to anger the Union and symbolically split the flag as the south wanted
to split the union. Any and all displays of this treasonous banner would

have to cease. Continued displays of the banner could be viewed as more
than just desecration, but actual treasonous incitement of the masses.
With many conservative right-wing southerners cooling their heels in
Gitmo detention for flag desecration and potentially high treason, the
Democrats should have no trouble taking back the South

Think of the growth of liberal power as more and more pseudo-patriotic
right-wingers and Bush supporters are rightfully imprisoned for their
desecration transgressions. The liberals might even be able to get large
mandatory sentencing guidelines pushed through along with the amendment
to prevent right wing activist judges from trying to let their compatriots off with a wrist slap.

Will liberals really pursue this opportunity with the necessary zeal to
change the political landscape? Probably not, after all, Dick Cheney
said it best, liberals believe in restraint and tolerance, not
imprisonment and exclusionary ideas of patriotism. Liberals will likely
continue to show that tolerance and see flag-burning as a necessary
evil. In the eyes of a liberal, unless the flag can be desecrated with
impunity, then it actually stands for nothing. When protected as if it
were a religious icon, then it stands for dogma, not freedom!


§ Display and use of flag by civilians; codification of rules and customs; definition

The following codification of existing rules and customs pertaining to the display and use of the flag of the United States of America is established for the use of such civilians or civilian groups or organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments of the Government of the United States. The flag of the United States for the purpose of this chapter shall be defined according to sections 1 and 2 of this title and Executive Order 10834 issued pursuant thereto.

§ Time and occasions for display

(a) It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.

(b) The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.

(c) The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all weather flag is displayed.

(d) The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on

New Year's Day - January 1
Inauguration Day - January 20
Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday - third Monday in January
Lincoln's Birthday - February 12
Washington's Birthday - third Monday in February
Easter Sunday - (variable)
Mother's Day - second Sunday in May
Armed Forces Day - third Saturday in May
Memorial Day (half-staff until noon) - last Monday in May
Flag Day - June 14
Independence Day - July 4
National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, July 27
Labor Day - first Monday - September 1 - 7
Columbus Day - second Monday in October
Navy Day - October 27
Veterans Day - November 11
Thanksgiving Day - fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day - December 25
Other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States
Birthdays of States (date of admission)
State holidays

(e) The flag should be displayed daily on or near the main administration building of every public institution.

(f) The flag should be displayed in or near every polling place on election days.

(g) The flag should be displayed during school days in or near every schoolhouse.

§ Position and manner of display

The flag, when carried in a procession with another flag or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.

(a) The flag should not be displayed on a float in a parade except from a staff, or as provided in subsection (i) of this section.

(b) The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.

(c) No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America, except during church services conducted by naval chaplains at sea, when the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for the personnel of the Navy. No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession thereof: Provided, That nothing in this section shall make unlawful the continuance of the practice heretofore followed of displaying the flag of the United Nations in a position of superior prominence or honor, and other national flags in positions of equal prominence or honor, with that of the flag of the United States at the headquarters of the United Nations.

(d) The flag of the United States of America, when it is displayed with another flag against a wall from crossed staffs, should be on the right, the flag's own right, and its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.

(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.

(f) When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the United States flag's right.

(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.

(h) When the flag of the United States is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.
When the flag is suspended over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, the flag should be hoisted out, union first, from the building.

i) When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.

(j) When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.

(k) When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker.

When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience.

l) The flag should form a distinctive feature of the ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument, but it should never be used as the covering for the statue or monument.

(m) The flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.

On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff. By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law. In the event of the death of a present or former official of the government of any State, territory, or possession of the United States or the death of a member of the Armed Forces from any State, territory, or possession who dies while serving on active duty, the Governor of that State, territory, or possession may proclaim that the National flag shall be flown at half-staff and the same authority is provided to the Mayor of the District of Columbia with respect to present or former officials of the District of Columbia and members of the Armed Forces from the District of Columbia. When the Governor of a State, territory, or possession, or the Mayor of the District of Columbia, issues a proclamation under the preceding sentence that the National flag be flown at half-staff in that State, territory, or possession or in the District of Columbia because of the death of a member of the Armed Forces, the National flag flown at any Federal installation or facility in the area covered by that proclamation shall be flown at half-staff consistent with that proclamation. The flag shall be flown at half-staff 30 days from the death of the President or a former President; 10 days from the day of death of the Vice President, the Chief Justice or a retired Chief Justice of the United States, or the Speaker of the House of Representatives; from the day of death until interment of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, a Secretary of an executive or military department, a former Vice President, or the Governor of a State, territory, or possession; and on the day of death and the following day for a Member of Congress. The flag shall be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day, unless that day is also Armed Forces Day. As used in this subsection -

(1) the term ''half-staff'' means the position of the flag when it is one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff;
(2) the term ''executive or military department'' means any agency listed under sections 101 and 102 of title 5, United States Code; and
(3) the term ''Member of Congress'' means a Senator, a Representative, a Delegate, or the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico.

(n) When the Flag is used to cover a casket, it should be so placed that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should not be lowered into the grave or allowed to touch the ground.

(o) When the flag is suspended across a corridor or lobby in a building with only one main entrance, it should be suspended vertically with the union of the flag to the observer's left upon entering. If the building has more than one main entrance, the flag should be suspended vertically near the center of the corridor or lobby with the union to the north, when entrances are to the east and west or to the east when entrances are to the north and south. If there are entrances in more than two directions, the union should be to the east.

§ Respect for flag

No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.

(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

(b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.

(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.

Bunting of blue, white, and red always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.

(e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.

(f) The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.

(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.

(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkin or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, 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.

(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. (Disposal of Unserviceable Flags Ceremony)

Standard Proportions of the Flag

hoist(width) of flag - 1.0
fly (length) of flag - 1.9
hoist of union- 7/13
fly of union- .76
diameter of star - .0616
width of stripe - 1/13