Defiling the Flag In The Name of Protecting It

Dispute over flag protest erupts in Wisc. village – Yahoo! News

Short story.
A veteran in a dispute with the local government flew his flag upside down on as a protest.

Some people, including the local chief of police, didn’t like it.

The police came onto his property, and took down his flag. The flag was returned to him the next day.

The police chief is quoted as saying:

Marinette County Sheriff Jim Kanikula said it was not illegal to fly the flag upside down but people were upset and it was the Fourth of July.

“It is illegal to cause a disruption,” he said.

And with that last statement he totally loses it.

You see, Mr. Congine didn’t cause a disruption. All he did was fly his flag, on his flagpole, on his property, upside down.

Other people may have reacted in a disruptive way (certainly Chief Kanikula did), but that was their choice. All they had to do was recognize that a free society (what we are celebrating on July 4, by the way) requires a couple of accommodations to work.

First, you may exercise your rights, but not in a way that inherently infringes on the rights of others.

But more importantly, having your rights requires you to tolerate the rights of other people to do things you might even find repugnant. But so long as your rights are not infringed, a free society asks you to get over it.

The only person whose rights were being violated here were Mr. Congine’s.

You may believe it is disrespectful of the flag and the USA to fly the flag upside down. You have an absolute right to hold that belief.

Mr. Congine, however, did not hold that belief. He holds the belief that flying the flag upside down is a universally accepted symbol of distress, and is using that symbol to demonstrate his displeasure with the government. And he has as much a right to that belief as you have to yours.

You have no inherent right to impose your differing interpretation upon Mr. Cogngine, and certainly have no right to threaten violence if he continues to fly the flag. And, just to be sure, sending armed police officers onto his property to take down his flag is just that. If you don’t think so, then ask yourself what would have happened if he had resisted them.

This kind of thing threatens the very fabric of our freedom. It defiles the very flag these people claim to have been protecting.

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