Jul 3, 2007

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Cleaning out the archives looking for appropriate post fodder for the 4th of July.

Enjoy your day today, and stay safe,

Skylers Dad


The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.
Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.
George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.
Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14, 1781

The fabric of American empire ought to rest on the solid basis of THE CONSENT OF THE PEOPLE. The streams of national power ought to flow from that pure, original fountain of all legitimate authority.
Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 22, December 14, 1787

They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.
James Madison, Federalist No. 14, November 30, 1787

Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.
John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776



Just Ask Permission
By Tom Adkins

Does the First Amendment give us the right to desecrate the American flag? Or
is the flag a sacred symbol of our nation, deserving protection by law? Tough
call? I've got the solution.

For those who want to light Old Glory on fire, stomp all over it or spit on it
to make some sort of "statement," I say let them do it. But under one condition: They must get permission.

First, you need permission of a war veteran. Perhaps a marine who fought at Iwo Jima?

The American flag was raised over Mount Surabachi upon the bodies of thousands
of dead buddies. Each night on Iwo meant half of everyone you knew would be dead tomorrow, a coin flip away from a bloody end upon a patch of sand your mother couldn't find on a map.

Or maybe ask a Vietnam vet who spent tortured years in a small, filthy cell unfit for a dog. Or a Korean War soldier who rescued half a nation from communism, or a Desert Storm warrior who repulsed a bloody dictator from raping and pillaging an innocent country.

That flag represented your mother and father, your sister and brother, your friends, neighbors and everyone at home. I wonder what they would say if someone asked their permission to burn the American flag?

Next, ask an immigrant. Their brothers and sisters may still languish in their native land, often under tyranny, poverty and misery. Maybe they died on the way here, never to touch our shores. Some have seen friends and family get tortured and murdered by their own government for daring to do things we take for granted.

For those who risked everything simply for the chance to become an American, what feelings do they have for the flag when they pledge allegiance the first time? Go to a naturalization ceremony and see for yourself the tears of pride, the thanks, the love and respect of this nation as they finally embrace the American flag as their own.

Ask one of them if it would be okay to tear up the flag.

Last, you should ask a mother. Not just any mother, but a mother who gave a son or daughter for America. It doesn't even have to be in war. It could be a cop. A fireman. Maybe a Secret Service agent. Then again, it could be a common foot soldier. When that son or daughter is laid to rest, their family is given one gift by the American people: an American flag.

Go on. I dare you. Ask that mother to spit on her flag.

I wonder what the founding fathers thought of the American flag as they drafted the Declaration of Independence? They knew this act would drag young America into war with England, the greatest power on Earth. They also knew failure meant more than disappointment. It meant a noose snugly stretched around their necks. But they needed a symbol, something to inspire the new nation.

Something to represent the serious purpose and conviction we held for our new idea of individual freedom. Something worth living for. Something worth dying for. I wonder how they'd feel if someone asked them permission to toss their flag in a mud puddle?

Away from family, away from the precious shores of home, in the face of overwhelming odds and often in the face of death, the American flag inspires those who believe in the American dream, the American promise, the American vision. . . .

Americans who don't appreciate the flag don't appreciate this nation. And those who appreciate this nation appreciate the American flag. Those who fought, fought for that flag. Those who died, died for that flag. And those who love America, love that flag. And defend it.

So if you want to desecrate the American flag, before you spit on it or before you burn it . . . I have a simple request. Just ask permission. Not from the Constitution. Not from some obscure law. Not from the politicians or the pundits. Instead, ask those who defended our nation so that we may be free today. Ask those who struggled to reach our shores so that they may join us in the American dream.

And ask those who clutch a flag in place of their sacrificed sons and daughters, given to this nation so that others may be free.

For we cannot ask permission from those who died wishing they could, just once... or once again...see, touch or kiss the flag that stands for our nation, the United States of America...the greatest nation on Earth.


Reprinted with permission of Thomas D. Adkins (c) 1999 from
Chicken Soup for Soul of America by Jack Canfield, Mark
Victor Hansen and Matthew E. Adams.

13 comments:

  1. WOW!

    I don't believe in burning the flag, I find it disrespectful.

    There are other ways to protest your unhappiness.

    Have a great and patriotic day, Dad.

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  2. back in the days when it was legal to burn the flag in protest, some folken I worked with did just that. Then they got arrested. So much for the law.

    I used to think flag burning as a sign of protest was a good thing. Now I find I don't care as much and, like teri, think there's GOT to be other ways, cuz what do you REALLY accomplish in the end, OTHER than making people very upset??

    Certainly don't spit on it.

    and don't ask a mother to spit on hers, either: just spit on your own. Quietly and privately. and if you do it in public, don't be surprised if someone with a nice chunk of hickory comes up and puts da' wood on'ya.

    enuff of this stuff!! Have beer and BBQ's and watch Transformers and go swimming and raise one of those beers to the men and women who have made this nation great! (then bend o'er and blow a big fart for those who bugger it up!!)

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  3. (I'm eating pork rinds & cheese all day so I can blow an extra special anti-amerikun fart for Anne Coulter and the other members of the Amerikun Taliban!! HA!)

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  4. (and I'm goin' out to buy some Michelob-- that all American brew-- to raise a few bottles to those men and women who have served our nation!! There's quite a lot of 'em, now that I think about it, so maybe I'll need a case??)

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  5. Teri: Thanks for the thoughts, have a great day yourself!

    BO: As an ex-Navy guy, it bothers me a lot to see folks trashing the flag. Go ahead and hate what the administration is doing, but honor what a lot of brave men an women have given.

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  6. A guy is driving around the back woods of Tennessee and he sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty-style house: "Talking Dog for Sale."

    The guy goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there. "You talk?" he asks.

    "Yep," the Lab replies. After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says "So, what's your story?"

    The Lab looks up and says, "Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA and they had me sworn into the toughest branch of the armed services...the United States Navy... you know one of their nicknames is "The Devil Dogs".

    In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country,
    sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders; because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years.

    The jetting around really tired me out and I knew I wasn't getting
    any younger. So, I decided to settle down. I retired from the Navy (8 dog years is 56 Navy years) and signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals. I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just retired."

    The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.

    "Ten dollars," the guy says.

    "Ten dollars?! This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?"

    "Because he's a damned liar. He never did any of that shit. He was in the Air Force!"

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  7. My ancestor, Jebediah, tried to desert the army during the civil war. He was dressed as a woman with material from a 12 x 20 flag.

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  8. Okay, so I totally made that up. But otherwise, I don't really have anything to offer.....

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  9. Do you remember a controversy here in Chicago-- an artist who dubbed himself "Dread Scott" Tyler? He had an art exhibit in which you stood on an American flag and wrote your feelings about the exhibit. Very clever.

    Tyler basically got hounded out of town-- he had death threats, etc. I knew people who knew him, and their impression was that he was pretty much an all-around dick. His exhibit was one of many jerky things he did.

    My personal feelings:
    1. I don't think it should be illegal to descecrate the flag. The 1st amendment is the most important freedom that we have.
    2. I'd never do it. It's offensive. People I respect have served this country-- some at great personal cost-- and if this is something they hold valuble, I respect that.
    3. I don't think that trashing the flag is an appropriate way of protesting this or any administration. That flag is a symbol of the rights we have as citizens to sweep away bad, evil or corrupt regimes.

    Let them burn it or whatever. Then hand them an airline ticket to Iran, and tell them to try it over there with an Iranian flag.

    And thanks to you and all other vets, SD!

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  10. I dunno guys, I don't understand why people get so worked up about this.

    First of all I will admit that at my stepfather's funeral, when the guardsman handed my mom the flag that had draped his coffin, and did that little speech, it was very moving. So yes, there is some powerful symbolism at work.

    But if you get upset when you see an American burning a flag, hey, it's their flag, too. They feel the way they feel about what you have to admit is some pretty fucked up and evil shit we do around the globe. So let them feel the way they feel, and you can feel the way you feel. But to declare that anyone who "desecrates" a flag has somehow psychologically harmed you, well I don't buy it. You choose to feel harmed by it, and I think you can also choose not to feel harmed.

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  11. BO: You never cease to amuse and amaze!

    Dick: I totally believed that - why did you take it back?

    JY: I don't believe in legislating against flag burning either. And I think everyone is entitled to their opinion. It's just one of those things in life that irk me.

    Vikki: Yes, we have ruined what little good rep we had around the globe. And it doesn't harm me to watch it, it does piss me off though. People have a choice to come to this country, we aren't still kidnapping and bringing them here in slave ships that I know of. let folks protest peacefully, say what they want to say, write what they want on signs, whatever.

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  12. a little late but better late than never

    my thoughts ... if you really feel the need to burn, spit or destroy the flag ... get the fuck out of my country ... enough said

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  13. I don't really give a damn about the flag. Yes, it is a symbol of the country, but it's really just a piece of fabric, when all is said and done.

    I AM upset about what people are doing to the actual country. That seems more worth my time and emotional effort.

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