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flag-burning amendment - Ilya Shlyakhter (notestaff) - letters to editors
July 3rd, 2006
11:17 am

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flag-burning amendment
Real patriotism

Re: "GOP's burning flag issue may pass," June 25:

I'm glad the flag-desecration amendment failed. It would wrongly equate patriotism with symbolic gestures like respecting the flag, rather than with more meaningful acts like conserving energy or exposing government misdeeds.

Patriotism, "love of country," refers to acts that help the country; the more helpful and the more difficult the act, the more patriotic. Worshiping the flag is neither very helpful nor particularly hard. Burning the flag is much less unpatriotic than, for example, crafting unwise policy. If senators who got us into Iraq want to ban unpatriotic acts, I suggest that they start with their own lawmaking.

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From:to_the_editor
Date:July 28th, 2006 01:58 am (UTC)

emailed reply #1

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From: Petersgrgm_AT_aol_DOT_com
Sent: Monday, July 03, 2006 7:31 AM
Subject: LEt's respect WHAT THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION WAS FOUGHT FOR First!
7/27/2006
"Real patriotism (Letters, July 3" was timely and appropriate. What is
REALLY patriotic is seeking to preserve the God-given rights for which the
American
Revolution was fought: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for ALL
PERSONS-- NOT just rich, white, property-owning males and DEFINITELY
NOT JUST
THE MOST PIGGISH! The BUSH that the BOSH Administration's policies
are is
aimed for the most piggish; when rights are secured ONLY for the MOST
PIGGISH,
they in FACT are guaranteed to NOBODY!
As for the Flag, it IS a symbol of what the American Revolution was fought
for, so I would NOT see fit to burn it (except PRIVATELY when it is too
worn
for display), make clothing of it (as opposed to apparel in red-white-blue
color combinations), put lettering or marking on it, etc. Similarly I respect the
OTHER symbols of the nation: the "Star-Spangled Banner" (and patriotic
songs
in general, the Liberty Bell, the Uncle Sam personification,
the Statue of Liberty, the Great Seal, historical sites like V
alley Forge and Old Strubridge Village, which symbolize life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness.
However, MOST important is to LIVE by what such symbols stand for!
Yes,
conserving energy and exposing government misdeeds are patriotic. the
NUMBER
ONE way to be patriotic is to help KEEP THE NATION's HOUSE IN
ORDER! Paying
fair share of taxes, having job where one can make useful contriibution to
society, being involved in one's church and community, seeking election of
persons
who will practice stewardship, and other things are part of this. Neither
flag-burning nor flag-WAVING is constructive, but helping keep the nation's
house
in order IS. Such can make America the most ADMIRED nation; striving to
make it the most FEARED as the Bosh Administration is bent on doing, is a
POOH-POOH PATCH! THAT does not protect a FLEA! Or a FLY! OR A
FLOOP!
So, let us see the symbols of our country, most notably the Flag, as just
that-- symbols. Let us not lose sight of the fact that the nation is NOT
Living up to what the symbols STAND FOR, and seek to CHANGE its
course, to TURN
THE BEAT AROUND, so that the United States can be truly the bEACON of
hope that
it is meant to be! THAT is what REAL patriotism means! I am Presbyterian,
active in Peacemaking, and formerly taught Sunday School. I work in a
record
warehouse; my sister does substitute tewaching (and formerly was full-time
Latin teacher); my brother is a veterinarian.
George M. Peters
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
From:to_the_editor
Date:July 28th, 2006 02:00 am (UTC)

emailed reply #2

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From: bwsaway_AT_tmo_DOT_blackberry_DOT_net
Sent: Monday, July 03, 2006 3:46 PM
Subject: Real patriostism

Another bad opinion from a left wing elitist bigot.
Eat me
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless handheld.
From:to_the_editor
Date:July 28th, 2006 02:02 am (UTC)

emailed reply #3

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john wear (johnwear_AT_yahoo_DOT_com) wrote:
I despise left leaning less-than-mental-giants who craft definitions to fit their needs. They are normally the same ones who redefine history so that the villains appear less villainous and the heroes less heroic. I say hogwash to all of you.

If you will take the time and make the effort to look up the true definition of PATRIOT in your dictionary, if you even own such a book, you will see that your brief definition of the word is only half complete.

Patriot - a person who loves his country; zealously supporting and defending it and its interests.

The callous act of burning one of the very important symbol of our wonderful nation is NOT and act of patriotism...nor is the denigration of our government. "Helping" the country by subversion is not patriotic by definition. In your pea brain this so-called "helping" may be something worthy of praise but to me it is similar to (if not the same as) a terrorist's attack on our shores.

If you burn a flag in my presence and you will see who gets "helped" (out the door).

-A Vietnam Marine veteran
From:to_the_editor
Date:July 28th, 2006 02:03 am (UTC)

emailed reply #4

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Ilya Shlyakhter
From: "Joseph Hammell" (joseph_hammellAThotmailDOTcom)
Sent: Monday, July 03, 2006 9:04 PM
Subject: Why The ANGER ( ? )

Dear Ilya:
Hello. May I please introduce myself? I am Joe Hammell, a " Desert Storm "
Army soldier ( 1974-
1995 ) and veteran of " Operation Desert Storm " ( 1991 Iraq duty ). I read
your letter in today's
Philly " Inquirer " and am disappointed that so ( obviously )
INTELLECTUAL a person is - just as
obviously - so ANGRY. WHY do you hate so much? Soldiers GIVE to this
nation our blood, sweat,
tears, and - if need be - our lives. Because it is only what the nation has every
right to expect of
those of us who had the PRIVILEGE to wear the uniform. That is WHO we
soldiers are. We are
bleeding for your right to live in freedom. And all you can do to honor that is
BURN a flag? That
is a disgrace on every grave at Arlington. WHY are you so ANGRY? For all
your intellect..... you
are NOT the Psychologist I am through mere life experience. I sense
bitterness and anger in
you. WHY the hate ???
Joe
From:to_the_editor
Date:July 28th, 2006 02:06 am (UTC)

Re: emailed reply #4

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>And all you can do to honor that is BURN a flag?
No, and I didn't advocate flag-burning.
But neither is prohibiting flag-burning a meaningful way to honor soldiers.
Making sure they're not deployed unwisely, making sure they're well
led and have everything they need (both at war and at home) is a
meaningful way to honor them.
So when senators who have not honored the soldiers in these much more
meaningful ways suddenly decide to "honor" them by prohibiting
flag-burning -- I point that out.
Just like, when elected officials push for public displays of the Ten
Commandments --
while governing in ways that contradict these commandments -- I point that out:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9406E5D6103DF937A35750C0A9639C8B63
You may read my other letters at http://ilya.cc/lett

There is not a tinge of anger or hate in my letter. You may note that
it doesn't have any words in capital letters, or any exclamation
marks. Quite unlike your email to me.

I respect what you've done; it's much more meaningful than the empty
gestures of some senators. Sorry if I caused you any pain, but if you
re-read the letter you'll see that it was not directed against people
like yourself at all.

All the very best to you,

Ilya
[User Picture]
From:aregjan
Date:July 28th, 2006 08:19 pm (UTC)
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Nice formulation -- laconic and to the point!
From:to_the_editor
Date:July 29th, 2006 07:46 pm (UTC)
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thx :) nice to hear after some of the other comments :)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 17th, 2006 04:22 am (UTC)
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Your article on patriotism brought many new thoughts to mind regarding our perception of what patriotism really is. At first glance I disagreed strongly with you, because I am sickened by flag burning, after all, this nation is MY nation and I love it. But, after I read further, I understood your point, real patriotism brings real change... real love for the nation works at a higher level than just "respecting" it's flag, but it should reach the level where it "respects" those who it represents. The stakeholders... those who the government should represent, whose voice (on behalf) the president should speak.

Thanks for the insight. Could I possibly quote your article on my website at some point in the future? (with proper credit of course)

Respectfully,
Bob W. Hargis
Independent candidate for President 2008
bob at hargis dot info
[User Picture]
From:notestaff
Date:October 17th, 2006 04:24 am (UTC)
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you're welcome to use my letter.
i'm certainly not advocating flag-burning. i just wanted to point out
that "respecting the flag" gives people a way to feel "patriotic"
without really doing much for the country. so efforts to "sanctify
the flag" are not harmful in themselves, but do indirect harm by
giving people an easy cop-out from the actual hard work of being a
good citizen.
best,
ilya
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