this weeks paper there is a photograph I find very disturbing. |
taken in Boston on the last day of the 2004 Democratic convention and shows a
group of protesters watching a masked woman burning an effigy of John Kerry and
George Bush along with an American flag.
Now, the point of this article
is to say I may not agree with burning effigies of politicians, regardless of
what party, but if that floats your boat, then so be it. You donít like George
Bush, John Kerry or Donald Duck for one reason or another, then have at it. Shoot
your best shot. Stand on your soapbox, mail flyers, start a talk radio or television
show; starve yourself to death for all I care.
Burning the flag of this
country is another thing entirely, in my opinion.
this flag symbolizes to me is the freedom that allows people to stand in our streets
and protest such as this group in this photograph. The right to do such activities
was not cheap and was bought with the lives and sacrifices of countless millions
over the past couple of hundred years. Iíd be willing to bet there isnít one of
us in this country who doesnít have someone in our family history who either served
this country during itís times of need or helped in some way or another to make
our country free.
Iím looking at the faces of the crowd surrounding this
woman as she commits this despicable act. Theyíre smiling or laughing as if this
is an event and not really any big deal. Just another media opportunity, take
some pictures and move on.
But it is a big deal.
Try doing what
this woman is doing in say, Nazi Germany or Stalinís Russia. Try this today in
downtown Beijing and see what would happen to you. In a world where we still have
countries which donít allow women to vote or drive, or where children of nine
and ten years old work twelve to fourteen hours each day, shouldnít our flag be
precious to us?
I think so.
To protest anything in this country
is certainly your right, not your God given right, but your right that was given
by those whom I mentioned earlier. To ignore their sacrifices and commitments
to our freedom is to spit upon their graves. Our country certainly isnít perfect.
It has faults, but itís comprised of human beings and weíre certainly far from
being perfect, arenít we? Our country was founded on the premise of freedom and
that is one goal it strives to maintain, in spite of everything and everyone having
differences of opinion. What nation can you think of that survived a civil war
and is still one nation with the same form of government? What nation can you
think of that went to two world wars as a united nation in less than eighty years
after their own civil war? What other country has shown that level of unity?
Our second president, John Adams, was said to be terrified at the thought of Thomas
Jefferson becoming the president. Why? Because in Europe, the incoming administrations
nearly always found some way or method to do away with (execute or imprison) their
predecessors. America had never had the government change from one party to another,
so his fears could have very well been founded.
Iím glad to say, nothing
happened and freedom has prevailed over these years. To be sure, weíve made mistakes
and weíll continue to make mistakes along the way. That doesnít mean weíre a nation
of bad people. Just a nation of people, from different backgrounds, races, levels
of education and economic strata.
What allows us to live here and keep
on trying is the flag. It is the symbol of our country and should not be desecrated
or taken lightly. It is to be revered as the flag of all of our people and for
all of our people. If we didnít have it and what it stands for then we wouldnít
allow our citizens to demonstrate much less protest their own government.
suppose thatís all I have to say, except for one more thing. I find it curious
that the woman burning the flag is wearing a mask. If she is so positive about
what she is doing and thinks it is right and proper, then why the mask?
If you canít stand up and show your face for what you believe or donít believe,
than you must not believe in your cause very well.