Burning the American Flag

Burning the American Flag, A Letter to Senator Feinstein


[I am submitting this piece in honor of Colin Rand Kaepernick because in his eyes, he feels an injustice has been committed against his people. Until those people feel apart of this great country, he has a right to protest. In kind, attacks of his not standing for the National Anthem deal in the realm of free speech assurances. In not standing for the flag is akin to being able to burn the American flag. Both acts are ultimate manifestations of the right to free speech and protest. A way to measure the morality of a position is how it infringes upon the rights and freedoms of another person. If someone takes offense in Kaepernick’s not standing for the American flag, and then demands that he do so, speaks of the need to control. It is egotistical in nature and beneath the intentions and spirit of our forefathers.]

Dear Senator Feinstein,


I noted your chief co-sponsorship of the constitutional amendment that would have given Congress the power to ban desecration of the U.S. flag and have so composed the following.


This whole issue has to be resolved and put to bed given the fallacy it embodies.


Your argument that as a young girl the picture of the Marines raising a flag on Iwo Jima gave you a ‘bolt of electricity’ and made you see the flag as “More than a symbol,” should not now preclude you from being able to tell the difference between seeing the flag as “More than a symbol” and so legislating that as the lawful interpretation.


A symbol is “An arbitrary sign (written or printed) that has acquired a conventional significance,” (See: wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn) which assumes, in your case, that the conventional significance is limited to your experience of the flag.


You cannot possibly legislate a particular interpretation, especially since the sign is an ‘arbitrary’ one.


Moreover, the flag is an inanimate object, which if your legislation had so enacted, would have been protected over the constitutional rights of an individual to elect to burn the flag as say for reasons that he/she wished to engage in the freedom of speech, the right to peaceably assemble, and/or to petition the government for a redress of grievances, if any of these be the cases.


People should always be more important than things: Flying a Flag over another Person’s Rights.


The very act of burning a flag is American.


It used to be the case that we could laugh at ourselves because we had the self-confidence that our flag would still be there.


The flag is nothing but a symbol. It stands for liberty and justice for all, even those who would burn the flag to prove this point. To weigh the punishment of a flag burner against the flag burner him/herself is to miss the point of freedom.The American flag must stand for eloquence of the idea that we have a right to act in a manner that supports our views, to protest, unless we are hurtful to another, but the pain someone may or may not feel to the viewing of an enflamed yard of fabric raked from cotton, the result of dried and stretched chemicals, and/or dyed (changed from its original form), forgets that I care more for the American or No American who burns our flag and his ideas for doing so than the flag itself.


The flag is nothing but a symbol that changes with the Americans who represent it. It can never replace the acts that gave it meaning, nor can it stand or have been memorialized unless those acts occurred. No one by burning the flag can erase this meaning, but a person who arrests or incarcerates another for burning the flag incinerates freedom.


Is there a psychological law at work in the mind of the person who wishes to stop flag desecration? Is it a person who would hope they could wield power over another, implying that they do not have power over themselves? Is it to blame when sympathies are not shared? Isn’t the person blamed more important than the condemnation?


I love my country and support the people in it; but I will not support the rights of an inanimate object over life itself. In fact, I do not fly the flag because I believe it is presumptuous. That which makes my country great are ideals that tolerate differences of opinion, embrace all peoples, but it is not so proud as to fool itself into thinking that it can stand on its laurels. The flag is a representation only of success or glory, this country shall be perpetuated in righteousness, not the laggard of blame. Our country’s greatness stands on the words of our forefathers and by the actions of good men who have followed them in protecting those ideals, not as symbols, but as actions against real threats. – Mario Savioni, Wednesday, June 28, 2006 12:42:21 AM.


  1. I remember having read about Kaepernick’s case and the burning American flag. God, this case is as ludicrous as the prosecution of a few Catalan pro-independence people that have occasionally burned a Spanish flag and/or a picture of Spain’s King Felipe VI.

    The latest case in Spain is comedian Daniel Mateo. The authorities want to punish this poor guy with up to 4 years in prison for just blowing his nose with the Spanish flag during a TV sketch: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12166686

    In sum, I couldn’t agree more with your eloquent letter:

    “a person who arrests or incarcerates another for burning the flag incinerates freedom.”

    Did you ever send this letter to Senator Feinstein? (I assume it is Diane Feinstein from the Democrats and former SF mayoress, right?) Did she ever respond?

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