Friday, May 8, 2015

American Ironies

Klep,

Thanks for that response.  It sucks that you have to work with individuals so hostile to speech they disagree with.  One of the great ironies in our country right seems to be the complicated relationship self-proclaimed patriots have with uniquely American values, like nearly uninhibited free speech.  They're all about freedom and democracy until it starts opening their worldview up to perspectives that run contrary to their religious or nationalistic tenets.  They're terrified at the prospect of true diversity. 

I'm actually working on my senior Political Science thesis paper today, and it is very relevant to what we're talking about here.  I'll share it with you when I'm finished.

Cheers,
Beardwriter

Thursday, May 7, 2015

National Pride or National Worship


BeardWriter,

I enjoyed reading your response. It was your honest thoughts. I would rather have an honest response that objects to my personal beliefs than one formulated to comply or coexist in order to make discussion more “pleasant”.

I mentioned in my initial post that I had mixed feelings about this scenario and I will elaborate on it; however, I think I will take a play in your book and say this is about the act of stomping on a flag in protest and not this particular situation.

My initial thought was “That’s stupid.” This may be because I don’t understand how stepping on a flag can create any change for the protesters other than piss off a lot of “patriots”. I also felt slightly guilty because being a veteran I think that I should have more of an emotional attachment to the flag. If I am going to be honest, it doesn’t bother me. I see people stomping on some cloth. I understand that this particular piece of cloth is a symbol but when it comes down to it. It’s still just a bit of cloth.

Coincidently enough, today at work I had overheard a couple of individuals discussing this situation and the cartoonist you mentioned earlier. Person A was of the belief that this was a huge double standard as you have previously stated. (You used the word “ironic” and maybe you didn’t want to be abrasive but I find the word “hypocritical” more appropriate.)  Person B on the other hand stated that he simply didn’t care about freedom of speech and if he saw someone stepping on the flag he’d shoot them. I found this interesting because I had read your response maybe less than an hour or two prior.

Now, I also want to touch on what you said about the nationalistic pride that resembles religious zeal. “There seems to be some form of a religious obsession with nationalistic symbols, which is kind of disturbing.” I would like to take second to applaud this astute observation. I had never noticed the almost cultic worship to the Red, White & Blue. I had always just labeled it as National Pride and nothing more. So when does pride end and worship begin? What does it really mean to be proud to be American? It’s a difficult question when you start to analyze it. It’s just something to chew on until next time.

Stay Gold,

Klep

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

So Some People Stepped On The Flag...

Good Morning Klep,

I wasn't familiar with this trend until you brought it up.  I've been super busy with work and finishing college and taking part in some selfish dude's second wedding to the same woman.  ;)  It's difficult to find any unbiased sources about the "flag stomping challenge," but here's what I can gather after doing some quick google research.

-A man named Eric Sheppard was protesting police brutality and racism at Valdosta University in Georgia by stepping on the American flag.

-Obviously, people were upset by it.

-Police found a bookbag believed to belong to Sheppard which contained a firearm.

-Sheppard went into hiding.

-In solidarity with Sheppard, a social media trend started and people began protesting by stepping on the flag, or burning it, and posting it to social media.

-There was also an online fund started to raise money for Sheppard's shelter, travel, and legal expenses.

As for what I think about it, I can't say any specific to this situation because I'm not involved or connected with any aspect of this.  But I can talk about things like free speech, tolerance, and the rights people have to protest.

As a veteran, I don't think I would want to step on the flag to protest.  But I'm also not really offended by it.  I don't identify with the flag like some patriots and veterans.  At least, not in the sense that my emotional state of mind is connected to the well-being of flags and how they're treated or displayed.  There seems to be some form of a religious obsession with nationalistic symbols, which is kind of disturbing.  It always makes me uncomfortable when I see people who are livid after seeing someone burn or mistreat a flag, because it reminds of the sort of anger you expect to see on a religious fundamentalist's face after saying something not-so-nice about their god(s) or prophet(s).

Considering some of the overlapping demographics in this case to the cartoon event in Texas that was attacked by a couple of radical Islamic militants recently, it's ironic to see some patriots promoting free speech values in the case of the cartoon, but criticizing the use of free speech by some frustrated citizens in the flag stomping case.  Free speech is, and should remain, ubiquitous.   It applies equally to civil rights activists and white supremacists.  Free speech isn't always a pretty thing, and I don't think it's intended to be pleasant.  It's intended to be useful.  It's intended to ensure--against all rhetoric or sensationalism to the contrary--that all avenues of communication remain open.  As long as free speech exists, we will continue to have vigorous and open debates.  As soon as you start limiting free speech, you inevitably start closing channels of communication.

I'm not sure if this is the answer you were looking for, but there it is.  Let me know what you think.

-BeardWriter




Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Stomp the Flag Challenge?

Evening Jo,

So I realized we talked about this a week or two ago and neither of us had posted anything. I decided to pull the trigger but at the same throw you under the bus a little. I don't have much to say on the topic but I am curious as to your opinions on the "Stomp on the Flag" Challenge.

It's pretty easy to see that this has outraged many of "Social Media America". And if I am going to be honest I have some mixed feelings on the subject but in essence I want to hear some other points of view on this.

Stay Gold,
Klep