U.S. Flag As a Symbol of Protest

Discussion in 'US Flag Display' started by Gasdon 819, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. Gasdon 819

    Gasdon 819 New Member

    Greetings All,

    I'm the new kid on the block and this is my first post.

    I am a 70 year old Viet Nam war vet who has proudly displayed Ole' Glory on flagpoles at all the homes I have owned, observing every rule and government proclamation throughout the years.

    Today, on the internet, presumably as a result of yesterdays election results, a number of self proclaimed patriots and conservatives are advocating the flying of the U.S. flag upside down as a form of not necessarily protest, but the distress our nation has and continues to be in given the current
    descent of our country, both economically and globally.

    I would appreciate hearing opinions on this practice from other members.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Greetings, Gasdon 819 -- welcome to the forum!

    This topic has been discussed in a a number of earlier threads. Here's one:

    http://www.usa-flag-site.org/forum/displaying-flag-upside-down-5827.html

    In my opinion, the bottom line is still what Justice Holmes said in the quote down there at the bottom of this post. A symbol means what the viewer interprets it to mean. If people want to make a political statement by flying the flag upside down, they need to recognize that others may interpret it as disrespect for the national symbol and, by extension, for the nation itself.

    Peter Ansoff
     
  3. Gasdon 819

    Gasdon 819 New Member

    Greetings Peter,

    Thank you for your reply.

    As with all forms of protest, one inherently recognizes the existence of opposing views.


    Those opposing views however, in and of themselves, are really not of relevance to the deed.

    If, in fact, the objective in flying the flag upside down is to convey one's belief that the country itself is in distress, then it follows that what only matters is whether or not that goal has been achieved.
     
  4. NAVA1974

    NAVA1974 Active Member



    Hello Gasdon 819

    But has the goal been achieved just by flying the flag upside-down? Many observers of that flag will interpret it as bad manners, or that the upside down flag flyer is just whining because he isn't getting his way. There are an awful lot of people who think the country is on the right track. In fact, some 61 million voters as of last count.
     
  5. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Those opposing views however, in and of themselves, are really not of relevance to the deed.

    In this case, the "deed" is display of a symbol. The point isn't that viewers disagree with the statement that the displayer intended to make; it's that they can interpret the symbol to mean something other than what the displayer intended it to mean.

    If, in fact, the objective in flying the flag upside down is to convey one's belief that the country itself is in distress, then it follows that what only matters is whether or not that goal has been achieved.

    True, but that's the point. Displaying an upside down flag will *not* necessarily convey that message, depending on how observers interpret it. It could also convey an insult to the the nation that you and I and many others have put our lives on the line to protect.

    Peter Ansoff
     
  6. ColonialFlagPoles

    ColonialFlagPoles New Member

    I feel like flying your flag upside down on your Flag pole would only show shame and disgrace on the flag and the meaning others have sacrificed so much to fulfill. There are better things to do if you think that the country is gone amiss, such as contacting your senator, or holding a conference, or creating flyers. Those things actually do something. But flying your flag upside down, no one will know what it means anyway.
     
  7. Briago

    Briago New Member

    I agree that flying the flag upside down would be disgraceful to our country and those who have served this country. However, I have had a similar generalized feeling regarding the direction the country is going. Since my personal disappointment is with the actions the federal government is taking over from individuals and from the states, I have decided that my form of "protest" would theoretically be to fly my State's flag rather than the USA flag. That being said I am not much for protest, and as such I have not actually done this.

    What do you (all) think about this as a more civil solution to show dislike of the direction of the federal government?

    Is there any etiquette that says you should not fly a state flag by itself without the US flag?
     
  8. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Is there any etiquette that says you should not fly a state flag by itself without the US flag?

    Many states have laws that call for the US and state flags to be displayed together on public buildings, schools, etc. However, I don't think I've ever run across any law or rule of etiquette about displaying the state flag alone. Interestingly, there was a proposed law in Puerto Rico last January to forbid the display of the US flag without the PR flag. I don't know what the status of this proposal is -- anyone?

    As for making a political statement by not displaying the US flag, I'm not sure that the symbolism would be what you intend. The flag represents the nation, regardless of what policies are being followed by the current national leadership. As Carl Schurz said in the Senate in 1872: "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right."
     

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