On Fires and Flags and Freedom
I was blindsided the other day by my roommates’ idealogies.
I shall describe the scene. M loads up a video on some underground media site, as he is oft wont to do. Ja and M watch video. I’m working on migrating film stuff to my new laptop, because it’s been more stable than my desktop system.
So, in this video, there’s some stoners burning an American for no good reason, and the one that talks slow and loud and rolls his’ L’s is talking about how great it is that they are burning a flag. ‘Burn America’
And this sort of thing.
The idiots aren’t really doing it publically, and it’s no where near as dramatic as it needs to be if they are actually trying to make a statement.
So, total idiots. No big deal.
M starts talking about how this should be illegal. Ja agrees.
I think that I missed something, somewhere along the line, where we held up symbols above ideas. It doesn’t matter that the American flag stands for Freedom this afternoon. It doesn’t matter that I’m basically good with the current administration. It doesn’t matter that the people in the video have no backing for thier ideas. We don’t imprison people for free assembly and symbolic protest. We don’t fine them. We don’t even tax them, and those ideas have left a bad taste in our mouth since the sedition acts were repealed over two hundred years ago.
I can think of a hundred reasons off the cuff- why I might want to burn an American flag in the abstact-tomorrow…. But, never mind all that- I don’t feel the need to suggest why it might need to happen at my hands…
We have a constitutional right to assembly and speech, and there is something inherently wrong with a government seeing to its own surety against defamation with the use of legal action against its citizens, regardless of how right or wrong or justified or unjustified the perpetrators are.
The appropriate thing to do is to combat these ideas in the social realm, with other ideas.