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Are all Flag Code violations equally disrespectful?

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On Saturday, a Twitter thread went viral after citing portions of U.S. Flag Code which, the writer asserts, are regularly violated by the average American.

Leftist media sources like Huffington Post and Quartz leaped at the opportunity to mock flyover Americans for their alleged hypocrisy, and a quick topical search of “Colin Kaepernick” on HuffPo shows that they’ve supported him and other kneelers over and over and over again, not simply in their right to protest but the overarching claim that an unjust America doesn’t deserve such reverence.

Quick digression: no one (intelligent) has made the argument that the Kaepernick crowd has no constitutional right to sit or kneel or otherwise peacefully protest the national anthem. However, I’ve heard several of my Leftist friends who are incapable of making a legitimate argument set this up as a strawman in order to pick apart an easy target. Of course he has a right to kneel, just as I have a right to call him an ungrateful moron for doing so. We have the right to do a great many stupid things in America, but that doesn’t mean that the proper response is to do every stupid thing at our disposal. The right to burn the American flag should not be celebrated by burning the American flag, just as the right to drink alcohol shouldn’t result in a constant state of inebriation. But back to the thread.

The Left may never understand this, but there is a massive difference between politics and patriotism.

The intent of this thread is clear: to equate touting a t-shirt with the image of an American flag with actively protesting America’s honor and virtue by kneeling during the national anthem and claiming that the country systematically “oppresses black people and people of color,” as Kaepernick has.

Many Leftists are branding this an epic “gotcha!” moment, but it operates on two flawed premises: 1) that all violations of Flag Code are inherently equal, and 2) that the tweeter’s interpretation of Flag Code is factually accurate.

When discussing apparent violations of U.S. Flag Code, there are three things that absolutely must be considered, assuming the intent is to have a reasoned, intelligent conversation.

As much as possible, I want to limit this discussion to the legal question at hand, shelving the broader debate concerning how the NFL, Colin Kaepernick, ESPN, Donald Trump, and the average American should respond. The NFL has already been clear that this is a political issue for them, not one of free speech. Their bias in selective enforcement of uniform policy, for instance, is obvious. So I’ll try to shy away from the politics of the debate and stick to the facts.

Here are the three steps to use in evaluating Flag Code:

1: U.S. Flag Code Is Empty Law

By this, I mean that it is unenforceable. As such, you might say that the provisions are more guidelines than actual rules. The Supreme Court decided in United States v. Eichman (1990) that the criminalization of flag burning was unconstitutional, making anything less (and almost anything else is less) unquestionably justified from a First Amendment standpoint. This also means that, should you and I disagree on how to interpret existing Flag Code, which is certainly plausible, there is no jurisprudence to back up either of our claims. If we can’t convince each other, we’ll have to agree to disagree; there’s not much clear-cut right or wrong here.

Additionally, as we’ll see in a moment, since Flag Code bears no legal weight, its adherence has traditionally become more of attitude than of action.

2: What Does the Code Actually Say?

Interpretations aside, several of the claims made in the Twitter thread are factually bunk. Some are true, and we’ll identify those as well. But it’s essential that we approach this topic truthfully.

One of the tweets includes this misleading statement: “Not covered in the ‘Respect for Flag’ section; standing/kneeling/sitting. That’s considered a conduct violation, not disrespectful.” The flawed premise here is that only violations of the “Respect for Flag” section are considered disrespectful, which is simply untrue; all violations of flag code are considered such. The tweeter assumes that because one item falls under Title 36, Chapter 10, §171. Conduct During Playing, and the other Title 36, Chapter 10, §176. Respect for Flag, that the two categories should not be measured equally.

But let’s address each claim individually, each from subsections of Title 36, Chapter 10, §176. Respect for Flag:

The first claim cites, “(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free” and features images of the popular spreading of a large flag across a sporting field. This is accurate, but it will be discussed in my third section. Factually, it is valid.

Next, “(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery,” with images of flag-stamped clothing, such as shirts, socks, swimwear, etc. I take issue with his interpretation here, as I see a legal distinction between “the flag” and “the image of the flag.” A pair of pants made from a retired flag, for instance, would be inappropriate. A pair of pants bearing the image of the flag, I disagree. A more legitimate grievance for this section could have been the practice of Olympic champions to drape the flag around their shoulders following victory, though even this might not qualify as “wearing apparel” or “drapery.” This claim is murky at best.

The following excerpt is separated into three tweets: “(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.”

On advertising, I would again cite “the flag” vs. “the image of the flag,” although “any manner whatsoever” could arguably include both. The embroidery and printing/impression of the flag undoubtedly refer to the image, as these designs are inherently artistic reproductions of the flag, not the flag itself. Thus, for the three tweets in subsection (i), the first is arguable, and the other two are valid.

Lastly, “(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.” Again, there is a legitimate distinction between “the flag” and “the image of the flag.”

3: What Is the Intent?

If you see no distinction between burning a flag and putting its image on a throw pillow, you’re an idiot. I don’t know how to tell you more subtly that your brain cells are likely on the brink of extinction.

Flag Code states that the flag should be hung “union left,” meaning that the stars should be in the upper left corner, vertically or horizontally. So if a woman hangs her flag vertically but (mistakenly) simply rotates it 90 degrees, making it union right, is she disrespecting the flag? Legally, yes. But in her heart, not remotely. This is not the ideal, and it is technically inappropriate, but her intent is clearly to honor her country.

What if a man posts his flag just before leaving for work, rather than at sunrise as suggested? Again, this is not the ideal, but his intent is to honor the flag and display American pride.

Spreading the flag across the outfield at a baseball game, though technically inappropriate, is intended to declare the same message as the playing of the anthem itself: reverence, loyalty, and unity.

These infractions are in no way comparable to outright protest against the flag and the republic for which it stands. I would love to see the Left characterize kneeling, sitting, or stretching during the national anthem as a manifestation of love and reverence for America, or even a desire to unify the public around its ideals.

As a black, liberal, retired Marine expresses in Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing,” it is undeniably your right to protest the flag and the anthem, but don’t pretend for a second that it makes you equally patriotic with those who stand at attention with hand over heart.

The Left may never understand this, but there is a massive difference between politics and patriotism.

Unlike the writer of this viral thread, I won’t conclude by suggesting that Leftists look in the mirror, as I support their Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. But I will say this: if you want America to be Europe, go to Europe; if you want to show your love for America, display the flag proudly and don’t mislabel its mistreatment as heroism; and if you want to sound intelligent, read a book.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards, Co-Host of The New Guards Podcast, lifelong fan of the Anaheim Ducks, and proud Hufflepuff. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in English from Brigham Young University in 2017. One day later, his wife gave birth to a beautiful daughter. Richie is a constitutional conservative and doesn't see any compassion in violating other people's rights.

Entertainment and Sports

History repeats itself: Once again the National media praises a Socialist Dictatorship.

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Being like-minded is the only reasonable explanation for this behaviour.

The occasion was the Olympic games with the national media falling all over itself to heap praise upon the a leadership of a socialist regime. But instead of a murderous socialist regime in North Korea, it was a murderous socialist regime in Germany just before WWII:

“Foreigners who know Germany only from what they have seen during this pleasant fortnight can carry home only one impression: it is that this is a nation happy and prosperous beyond belief, that Hitler is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, political leaders in the world today, and the Germans themselves are a much-maligned, hospitable, holy, peaceful people who deserve the best the world can give them.” New York Times, editorial August 16, 1936

Presumably this was before the nonsensical ‘Godwin’s law’ made the mentioning of Socialist monsters of the past verboten. Curiously enough, this is primarily used by Leftists in trying to suppress discussions of their blood soaked history. ‘Never forget’ is extremely difficult when one can ‘Never Mention’ the murderous past and present of the collectivist ideology.

Back then the New York Times had a bit more balance in it’s coverage with these headlines:

100,000 Hail Hitler; U.S. Athletes Avoid Nazi Salute To Him;

U.S. Welcome Is Mixed, Whistling Interpreted as ‘Bronx Cheer’ Is Heard as Team Gives Its Own Salute.

So why are we witness to a somewhat similar display from the national media reporting on the representatives from another Socialist nation, one that hails from North Korea instead of Germany?

Could it be they are merely ignorant that they are helping that authoritarian regime and do not understand it’s true nature? A government that starves, tortures imprisons and publicly executes it’s own people?
Was it as some have suggested in these cases, cheering for the rebel or the underdog?
Perhaps it is their way somehow going after the Trump administration?

Or could it just be that they are of the same ideological mindset?

We can dispense with giving them the benefit of the doubt. These are people of allegedly high intelligence, as is most of the Socialist-Left – Just ask them. With few exceptions – namely Buzzfeed of all places – it is hard to believe they do not understand the role they are playing with the woman who heads the ‘Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Nor can they be excused of not knowing the horrors taking place in what is essentially an open air concentration camp. Again, these are people who fashion themselves as the intellectual elite of the nation, the crème de la crème of the Left, standing up for the downtrodden everywhere, except North Korea.

It’s also hard to believe that the National media is really cheering for the underdog, given that description hardly extends a Germany under the iron fist of the Nationalsozialistische deutsche Arbeiter-Partei or the Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik. It should also be clear that the national media has a history of this kind of advocacy that existed long before Trump ascended the public stage.

So, the obvious conclusions is that they are of the same collectivist mindset. No doubt if pressed, they would offer the same excuses for the starvation, oppression and mass murder used for other collectivist nations as ‘not really socialism.’ Or that the Socialism they advocate (were they truly honest about who they are) would be ‘done correctly’ in their case.

No, these were merely people cheering for their ideological brethren, and we’ll just leave it at that.

 

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Don’t mock us for what we believe

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Dont mock us for what we believe

What if, during the Grammy awards ceremony, celebrities used their spotlight to mock someone because she was a woman? What if actors stood on the stage and made jokes about someone specifically because he was black? And on top of that, the audience laughed and laughed because he’s black and they’re not! Or homosexual? Or Jewish? Make no mistake, that’s exactly what happens when they stand on stage and mock conservatives.

It is no different to trash someone who believes differently than to trash someone for what they look like. Why is it okay to mock someone for their beliefs, but not okay to mock someone for what they are? Isn’t what you believe more a part of who you are than what you look like? For example: If I tell a joke in which I mock a man for being Hispanic, is that worse than if I tell a joke in which I mock that same man for believing in God, for believing that cows are sacred, or believing he should eat only vegetables?

If anything, it should be more offensive to mock someone for their beliefs, as it’s more of a reflection of who they are than their looks. Isn’t that what MLK tried to teach us? We don’t have streets named after him because he cared what people look like. His message was, it’s the content beneath the skin that matters most. Look at who a person is, not what he is. Mocking someone for believing in conservatism is mocking who he is. In my opinion that’s worse than mocking what he is.

Detractors might say that you can’t change what you are (although Rachel Dolezal and Caitlyn Jenner might disagree). But if you believe in your gut, through and through, that abortion is wrong, for example, then that’s not something you can change either. If you believe in Christianity, then you base your life around it. It’s who you are and as unchangeable as what you are.

One more thing, if the Grammy awards are going to allow celebrities to bash right wingers, they should allow celebrities to bash left wingers too. We’re all about equality, right? So let’s have equal bashing time for both sides. James Woods and Tim Allen can stand up there and do their thing, then Alec Baldwin and Sarah Silverman can do theirs. Or, as an act of true tolerance and inclusion, they could allow neither, and show respect for beliefs of all kinds.

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Entertainment and Sports

XFL: The free market response to the NFL

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The NFL’s issues are numerous and mounting. Perhaps this has inspired WWE’s Vince McMahon to reform the XFL for the first time since 2001. But McMahon has learned lessons from his previous venture and wants to create a multi-platform, fan-first football league to compete that could not have existed in 2001. From the video below, the new XFL will embrace both fantasy football and gambling, something the NFL distances itself from. The XFL also seeks to be safer and have fewer penalties than NFL rules, another criticism of the NFL.

“We’re going to give the game of football back to fans,” Vince McMahon in his opening.

Beginning in 2020, the XFL will have 8 inaugural teams and a four-team playoff. The official rules have yet to be established but McMahon believes that football can be reimagined to make the game simpler, easier to learn and understand, and still fun. One of the biggest distinctions the XFL is making from the NFL is focusing on the quality of the player both on and off the field. Vince McMahon assures the XFL will have no politics or social issues, just football. The NFL has scandal after scandal and crime after crime including Marlon Humphrey strongarm robing the phone charger worth $15 most recently. Other details include a winter season. and a range of large and mid-sized markets to put teams in.

If you have any ideas for reimagining football, let the XFL know because they will be listening.


Perspective

Clay Travis Outkick The Coverage: Bring Back The XFL With These New Rules In Play

2. Draft freshmen and sophomores from college football and offer them contracts to play in the XFL.

Do you want to get immediate attention for your league? Try to entice star college freshmen and sophomores to enter your league. Remember, those players aren’t eligible to play in the NFL until three years after they graduate from high school.

How many college football players might prefer to play in the XFL for decent money over staying in college and risking injury for no financial compensation? Can you imagine the amount of interest the XFL would get from sports fans if, say, a star player on a top college team had to decide whether to sign for a decent amount of money or return to play in college for free?

Hell, if you really want to take the attention to the next level, try and sign five-star high school players and persuade them to come train for football with you full time rather than go to college at all.  Would some high school kids take a guaranteed million dollars for a three-year contract instead of going to college at all? They might. Plus, they could still consider the NFL after three years if they’ve developed into good players.

6. Put eight teams in cities that don’t have NFL franchises now.

Including several cities that have recently lost NFL franchises to relocation and are otherwise proven football markets.

My top suggestions for cities: Portland, San Diego, St. Louis, Albuquerque, Louisville, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Raleigh-Durham, Memphis, Orlando, Oakland, and Birmingham. I’m probably missing some other cities, but all of these places are good size cities with a substantial interest in football.

Make concessions cheap and play in stadiums, when possible, that are smaller and only fit around 25-30k fans at most.

9. Embrace gambling. 

Don’t tiptoe up to it, regularly talk about the line and the impact of decisions made during the game on the line during the game broadcasts.


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My Take

The NFL is imploding and has no sense of damage control. In the past, I’ve recommended solutions to the NFL that the XFL now embraces, among them are streaming and forcing players to stand for the anthem. As Roger Goodell is messing up a good product, the free market is offering a privately funded alternative that could pose a serious threat. No other league has such contempt for what the fans want as the NFL. NHL, MLB, UFC, and NBA are all better with regards to the fans. I’d love to watch a sport I grew up loving in, so McMahon is completely meeting my needs here in the free marketplace. I’m sold on the product conditionally as long as its not gimmicky. Also I’d prefer two feet in bounds rule as well as you must be touched to be down. This could be a real game changer in not just football, but sports and entertainment as well.

Football is good. Capitalism is great.

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