Thursday, October 04, 2007

Xenophobia Meets the Stupids

  • Mexican-American citizen owns business that looks to be a bar in Reno, Nevada.
  • Flies Mexican flag above American flag on pole in front of business.
  • Someone takes a break from busy life and calls local TV station to inform them of national emergency.
  • Slow news day plus questionable decision made by news editor equals news team dispatched to bar.
  • As cameraman approaches, a feller who claims to be a vet and claims that the provenance of the long knife in his hand also is from the US Army, lowers flags and liberates Stars & Stripes while tossing the Mexican flag to the ground. Makes profound statement.
  • Cowed bar owner retrieves Mexican flag and goes back into bar.
But then it really goes to weird, as the local anchor who clearly was doing her makeup in civics class offers up this profound inanity:

"Federal law states it is illegal to fly any flag above an American flag."

And then she goes on to give proof she doesn't understand what it means for something to be a federal law nor does she understand federalism:

"The penalties for these laws vary from state to state."

This excellent website lays out all of proper flag etiquette, which for better or worse, as the site explains, has never risen to federal law. The anchor would have been correct to note that the bar owner was indeed violating flag etiquette as opposed to a federal law. {There is federal flag CODE but, again, not any criminal law}

There are state laws about flag displays. In Nevada for instance, there is a law which states:
" is a misdemeanor for anyone to deface or defile the U.S. flag or the Nevada state flag. The law also forbids the use of such flags for advertising or publicity purposes."
What's interesting here is that it is illegal to use the flag for advertising which is why car dealerships across the country vie to see which one can fly the biggest flag....because they support the troops.

Wolf over at milblog Blackfive has put his finger on who is to blame for this sad state of affairs:

"Teachers, Professors, Police, Politicians, Neighbors, Lawyers, Politicians, The President, The Governor, The Mayor, Congressmen, Senators, Legislators, Bosses, Students, Colleges, Schools, Principals, Politicians, Kids, Parents, Internet, TV, Radio, Howard Stern, Mancow, Foreigners, Al Qaeda, Islamists, The French, Movies, Hollywood, California, Pelosi, Reid, Murtha, Politicians, Schools, Councilmen, Lawyers..."
I and my fellow teachers are at the top of the anti-flag conspiracy. Hmmm. We all fly one in our classrooms. Actually, I have several, including my favorite, the Gadsden flag (pictured at the top of this post) which was first seen on the battlefield of Bunker Hill in the American Revolution, considered by many historians to be the first American flag, which is hoisted in all its 3x5' glory.

I love my country and I love the flag, all versions of it. But I sure don't like xenophobia. And xenophobia married to militarism with a stiff case believing anyone who doesn't support a war of choice is unpatriotic, is gross, obnoxious, and has nothing to do with what the flag, and more importantly, what the Constitution stands for.

If Wolf's lessons of democracy are what we are to be inculcating in Iraq, if the "deciders" have a firm a grasp of civics as the Reno anchor, then the whole enterprise is doomed, not to mention the trouble we've got here at the house.

{The YOUTUBE video cuts the anchor commentary, but you can watch the whole un-edited nastiness here}