By Mike Marshall
Seeley Lake, Mont. 

Flag Burning 101 - Americans' Right to Protest


Senator Steve Daines of Montana, I am sad to say, just announced that he introduced a constitutional amendment in the U.S. Senate to outlaw burning the flag. Here is my message to Senator Daines regarding this misguided effort:

“You don’t truly understand our bill of rights, do you Senator? You are too willing to compromise our rights (and your rights), so you truly do not deserve them and certainly do not deserve our respect for your flagrant inability to appreciate our rights.

I stand for the pledge of allegiance and for our national anthem because I live in a country where I am not required to. I don’t personally burn flags because I live in a country where it is constitutionally allowed. I served in the military to defend your right to kneel, burn or otherwise exercise your freedoms.

Americans should always have the right to protest, to disagree. When you weaken their freedom of speech (and yours, Steve) you weaken America. You tarnish the flag by weakening our rights. Show some spine, show some respect for the rights that the founding fathers gave us rather than pandering to fake patriots.


I assure you that in the history books, the villains will not be those Americans who burned flags or kneeled during the playing of the national anthem, but the Americans who demanded that they stand or be punished.

Remember, you cannot compel patriotism. If it is not willingly given, it means nothing. But you can force totalitarianism. I’m guessing that genuine understanding of our freedom of speech was not your strong suit in school. Sad for you. Sad for us.

If I don’t have the right to burn the flag, then our flag is meaningless and worthless. If I don’t have the right to kneel during the national anthem, then the anthem is false.”


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