Seeley Swan Pathfinder -


By Mike Marshall
Seeley Lake, Mont. 

Patriotism 201


Patriotism, flag burning, anthem kneeling – emotional topics throughout history. Ironically, our country was founded by patriots who burned flags. And they endeavored to establish a new kind of country that protected cherished values like freedom of speech in an age when that was not protected so well by any other nation-state. As George Washington stated, “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

Flag burning, like kneeling during the anthem, is a symbolic act of political resistance and defiance. Limiting one’s free s...

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Reader Comments

Teague writes:

Now, Mike, don't insult your intelligence or integrity by pretending not to understand the question or resorting to a red herring. As I am sure you are aware, patriots and subjects are not synonymous. Considering that British ''subjects'' could be dissidents, suspect replacement of ''patriots'' within your comment appears to be a ''weasel word'' as defined by Merriam-Webster. Show us all you can do better. Your letter stated: ''Ironically, our country was founded by patriots who burned flags.'' There is nothing ironic about a British dissident or American patriot expressing disrespect for, and division from, its oppressive former sovereign by burning its flag. However, if an early American patriot who founded our country defiled a symbol of America's unified national identity, irony would be evident. Ceremonial disposal excepted and obvious paradox notwithstanding, cite a documented case of one of those American patriots who founded our country that later divisively burned one of the early American flags, a symbol of hard-won independence, sacrifice and unity. That is, if it's not too complicated for you. And my reading comprehension is just fine; how about yours?

moondance writes:

Teague, you perhaps misread. Our founders were all British subjects. They burned British flags in protest, so yes, they burned their own flags. Not complicated.

Teague writes:

Mike, you stated ''Ironically, our country was founded by patriots who burned flags.'' Ceremonial disposal excepted, can you cite a single documented case of an influential patriot or founder from America's colonial and revolutionary past who burned their own flag as a form of symbolic expression through desecration?


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