Wednesday, April 16, 2008

UPDATED: A 'right' to desecrate the flag?

If you have the 'right' to desecrate the United State flag under the guise of 'art,' I have the right to pick it up and treat it with respect!

Background from the blog author: Art students did a project where they laid American flags on the floor of the student center for people to walk on. They brought the cops in to protect it when some College GOP kids and vets came to try to pick them up off the ground. In the video, the university provost actually says, "It's just a piece of cloth" to the VFW guy, and one of the faculty tells the VFW chief that they are 'actually protecting his freedom of speech' by doing this.

Note from me: In the video, you can see some students actually walking around the flags - not on them.

UPDATE: More details on this event...

The best thread on this is at a forum called AsMaineGoes

The school is the University of Maine at Farmington. Rumor has it they have another story brewing about a 'campus beautification program' that rejected the display of the American flag, saying specifically that it 'didn't beautify' the campus.

Allen Berger is the University Provost. His number is 207-778-7279 and email is aberger@maine.edu . He is the one in the video who told the veteran that he didn't fight for a piece of cloth.

Now, Provost Berger may, technically, be correct, but I wouldn't be telling any veteran what they did or did not fight for. And I wouldn't be arguing with a veteran who risked everything for me. And I'll reiterate what I said above: if those students have the 'right' to put the flag on the floor and encourage people to walk on it, I have the 'right' to pick it up and treat it with the respect it deserves.

Note that the link to AsMaineGoes has some details about a rally the veteran in the video will be holding on that campus.

8 comments:

Frank said...

This is utterly disgraceful! As a former military member, it makes me very angry to see our beloved flag being used as "art" ( I use this term very loosely) in such a classless way. Too many men and women have sacrificed their lives for this "piece of cloth" for someone to simply trash it. If you don't like what our flag represents, then move to another country!

Tim Higgins said...

Maggie,

I understand that the right of free speech is guranteed in the Constitution. I further understand that the First Amendment even guarantess the right to say stupid things.

I am forced however to wonder in this PC society of ours, if such free speech would be protected by the college if it were soldiers standing at attention with a flag? I wonder if this had bee a symbol of the Muslim religion it would have been thought about in the same way? I wonder if it had been the flag of another college, would this have been allowed?

Unless all points of view are treated equally, this is not free speech.

Hooda Thunkit said...

That reminds me, isn't it about time for spring cleaning..., in the colleges and university, that is...

Robin said...

If only people could put that much effort into actually doing something instead of trying to prove a point. Got a problem with this country? Make an effort to find a solution. Walking on the flag is only going to piss people off and turn them off to what you are trying to say.

CoreyNicole said...

Hello,

I came across your blog because somebody from my school posted a link to it in a facebook forum. I'm a freshman at the University of Maine at Farmington, and I've seen so many news articles and blogs about the event that happened Tuesday. I just want you to know that the majority of us, the huge, probably 95% majority, did step around the flags and many of us were upset about this "social experiment". What angered me most was how our administration treated the veteran. They should have simply allowed him HIS right to protest the event as much as they allowed Susan Crane to do her project.

There's a lot of backlash going on because of this, and we're all worried that our tuitions may go up next year due to a lack of applications. This poorly planned event may cause people to turn away from our school - which is really sad, because it is a great place to be.

- Corey

LibbyBee said...

I am a UMF student, and I just wanted to let people know that not all UMF students agree with the administration!! It was absolutely disrespectful, disgraceful, disgusting and anyt negative descriptor I can think of! Please don't think less of UMF students just because of the way in which the administration dealt with this. It never should have happened. Susan Crane, the 40 yr old student who carried out the project, does not represent the student body as a whole in any way whatsoever. Charlie Bennett was completely within his rights to demonstrate against it, and had I been there when he was, I would have stood by his side as would many of my fellow students. As a reminder, many UMF students DID NOT walk on the flags and followed the path that Ms. Crane set up like the little sheep she wanted us to be. It was set up in the most heavily trafficked hallway of our campus, and there was no way around it. It was absolutely inappropriate for her to do such a thing to our national symbol. I don't care what your political views are, you should respect the flag that symbolizes your freedom! Nothing illegal happened here, but the morals that our country was founded on were disgraced and that, to me, is just as bad. I am so disappointed in our administration, and it truly saddens me that the general public now looks upon UMF in a negative light.

Maggie Thurber said...

Corey - thanks for commenting!

I did notice that many stepped around the flags and appreciated that.

And I agree - if the 'student' can do this, the Veteran certainly can do something as well.

What needs to happen is for all the students who object to this to speak up. The military blogs and MSM are picking up on this, so you'll have lots of support for making sure such ridiculousness isn't a continuing practice on your campus.

thanks, again, and good luck effecting change!

Maggie Thurber said...

Libby, thanks for letting us know that not everyone there condoned this action.

So, you're saying the woman who did this is 40? That's something I did not know...

As I posted earlier - you and your fellow students need to make stand. You'll certainly have national support for doing so.

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