I denounce and reject the burning of an American flag by anyone involved with any Occupy group.
I occupy to build a better America, not to torch the place.
What a stupid, childish little tantrum. These young men at Occupy Oakland played right into the hands of Fox News and the rest of the establishment media, who are desperate to paint the Occupy movement as a bunch of commie anarchist hippies who hate American. You’ve handed them the perfect hideous image on a platter. Well done.
I respect the efforts of Occupy Oakland and others in the movement to get up in the grill of the corrupt self-serving establishment. I’m committed to non-violent resistance to our broken and rotting status quo. Many Occupiers have show great courage and restraint while confronting the foot soldiers of the plutocracy. This flag-burning, on the other hand, shows a stunning failure to grasp the optics and consequences of the act.
You’ve probably already seen a picture of a few guys gleefully lighting an American flag taken from Oakland City Hall during a January 30 action. So I’m not going to use that image here.
I prefer the image I captured at Occupy Wall Street in October 2011, in which the abundance of American flags shows how the genesis of the Occupy movement grew from a love of America, driving an urgent need to fix it.
I’m no flag-waving chest-thumping my-country-right-or-wrong type of patriot. I think we’ve done a lot of things right in this country, but we also must address a host of problems, and we can learn from other countries that are doing some things better, like health care, education and more equitable distribution of the gains of the society.
I believe flag-burning, like book-burning, is a moronic, childish gesture that, nonetheless, should be protected as free speech. To me, burning an American flag represents a total rejection of the founding principles of the country. You don’t burn a flag show you’re pissed off that Wall Street swindlers are buying Congressmen by the dumpster load. You don’t burn a flag to protest the shameful profiteering in our college loan system. You don’t burn a flag to object that war profiteers dictate our diplomatic and military policy. You only burn a flag when you believe the core principals of the country are fatally flawed, and you reject the whole lot.
I’m nowhere near there yet. I love this country, and I’m stepping up and stepping out to put power in the hands of the people. I believe our founding principles are wise and strong. We can break the corporate stranglehold on the political system. We can restore representative democracy. We can restructure our economic policies toward growth for 100%, not just 1-2%. Occupy Wall Street has built momentum in the right direction.
Let’s not break that momentum with childish, over-the-top tantrums that deeply offend many Americans with the wrong message. I believe this isolated incident was the work of some dimwitted and uninformed outliers. If I ever get the impression that the core of the Occupy movement has turned anti-American, you can count me out.