No mere idea; no mere symbol is sacred in the United States of America. No idea or symbol is above reproach, derision, and yes, even desecration. We are not required to worship any concept be it religious, philosophical or nationalistic. We are not required to worship any flag. Instead we all have the absolute fundamental constitutional right to express the opposite of what the majority considers cultural orthodoxy.
In short, critically thinking Americans don’t think and do like the Nazi’s did. We won’t tolerate tyranny. Our founding fathers enshrined our fundamental freedoms, especially the right to free and full expression in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Americans may not, for example, be arrested and put into a cage by the statist culture Gestapo for desecrating the American flag.
Is the State of Iowa part of the United States? I always thought so. But just last week the statist flag flogging culture Gestapo there arrested a U.S. Army veteran for the “crime” of flying his own American flag upside down under a Chinese flag in his own yard. He did it to protest an oil pipeline being built without his consent next to a well that supplies water to his home.
This is classic expression protected by the First Amendment.
First the Calhoun County sheriff department goons trespassed on veteran Homer Martz’s property to take down his protest flags. They told him: “You can’t do this. We have a statute… So I walked back out and put them back up, said Martz, and they arrested me."
Calhoun County Attorney Tina Meth-Farrington, apparently totally oblivious to the United States Constitution and First Amendment, said that Martz faces a simple misdemeanor and if convicted he could get a fine and at least 30 days in jail for his desecration. She charged him under an Iowa law for trying to "publicly mutilate, deface, defile or defy, trample upon, cast contempt upon, satirize, deride or burlesque, either by words or act, such flag, standard, color, ensign, shield, or other insignia of the United States, or flag, ensign, great seal, or other insignia of this state.”
This statute is patently unconstitutional on its face.
Martz is smart enough to know that his rights were trampled on – certainly a lot smarter and better informed about the law in this country than the air headed prosecutor persecuting him. "I'm a soldier," he explains. "When I walked to the airport in the '70s with my dress uniform on, I was spit on. I stood in front of people that were protesting, and I've been cussed at. And like I said, that's their rights. I've never infringed on their rights… But you know, freedom of speech, freedom to protest - people can burn the American flag," Martz said. "It's legal. That's the Supreme Court."
He’s absolutely correct.
The SCOTUS case is Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989).
Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag outside of the convention center where the 1984 Republican National Convention was being held in Dallas, Texas, to protest the policies of President Ronald Reagan. He was arrested and charged with violating a Texas statute that prevented the desecration of a venerated object, including the American flag, if such action were likely to incite anger in others. A Texas court tried and convicted him. He appealed, arguing that his actions were "symbolic speech" protected by the First Amendment.
The Supreme Court agreed. Freedom of speech protects actions that society may find very offensive, but society's outrage alone is not justification for suppressing free speech, wrote Justice William Brennan for the majority. (Note that Justice Antonin Scalia was part of that majority).
No symbol is sacred in the United States of America – not even the American flag.
That’s my message to the flag flogging statists in Iowa.