In the last two years there has been much debate within a group I was worked closely with last year about the issue of flag mutilation, alteration, and burning. The debate seems to surface after every protest, and was a hot topic last year in Eugene when Homeland Security let a marine try to kill a female member of our collective who was protecting someones right to burn (and it sounds like this year in Portland on May Day).
The main question that surfaced is one that, in all honesty seems to only have a single answer. "Can there be a sacred, or holy symbol in a democracy, or country based on freedom?" If the answer is yes, then it is safe to say that this sacred symbol is, rather then a symbol of freedom, is in fact the opposite and thus takes on the form of an oppressive icon. No longer is a nation represented "by the people", but rather by a supposed "all inclusive" image that we are told to accept.
Many times, I have heard statements like: "The flag represents all the struggles taken on by the people, of all colors, and creeds from our past. The people that have struggled for our freedom." I understand this statement in, however many times the said speaker is not aware of the hypocricy of it. The flag is not "the" struggle, but rather, is suppossed to symbolize "our" struggle. Right? But does it, does it really do any of this?
To those of us out there who consider the flag to be holy, or sacred, I ask you to re-evalute your stance. Please look at what this flag does in fact mean to those of us actively engaged in a real struggle for freedom. It is not a rallying point, but rather has taken on an aspect of what we are fighting against.
I can go on for hours about reasons why our flag has never was, and no-longer is for the people. But rather, I would like all of us to reflect what it means to see an active member of our communities burn such a symbol. What is it that they (or we) are angry about? Why do we feel so strongly that we are willing to denounce our said national status? What does that status represent to the rest of the world? What are we as a nation doing to fix the worlds oppinion? What other nations in history have placed such strong emphasis on their national symbol? What has nationalism led to in the past?
I think that if we take the honest time to really read, research, and look deeply we will find answers to these questions...
once answered, I ask you why should we not burn the flag of the United States of America?
Revolutionary Youth Collective