Is a flag a symbol of the populace or the government? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 10-15-2007, 04:57 PM
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Or both, depending on where and who you are.



I've heard that in many countries, the national flag is seen as a symbol for the rights of the common people. That's also the way the American flag is portrayed in many movies set in the U.S. Revolution.



But now, the American flag doesn't conjure up those images. It's a symbol for the federal government, a backdrop for important speeches, etc. It's not a rallying point for those who oppose the federal government on this or that issue. It's got significant nationalistic overtones. Some candidates are allegedly criticized for not wearing flag lapel pins, according to a recent thread.



How do you think this happened? Do you think the American flag ever meant anything different?



If you have spent significant time in a country other than the U.S., how do the residents there view their countries' flags? What does it mean to them? If you're not from the U.S., what does the flag of your national origin mean to you?

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#2 Old 10-15-2007, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by skylark View Post

If you're not from the U.S., what does the flag of your national origin mean to you?

Patriotism, nationalism, the military, bull****. People who have my country's flag e.g. in their t-shirt are most likely to be neo-Nazis.

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#3 Old 10-15-2007, 06:47 PM
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the flag is a symbol of what this country is supposed to stand for. It is not a symbol of the gov't or even so much for the populace, it is a symbol for the freedoms and rights that our constitution grants to it's citizens. IMO
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#4 Old 10-17-2007, 10:28 AM
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It can mean either, depending on context, but is very often deployed to conflate the two.
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#5 Old 10-17-2007, 10:34 AM
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In Switzerland, people who wear flags or t-shirts with flags are, as in Sevensea's country, usually neo-nazis or at least extreme right-wing. One can be pretty sure they're xenophobic and probably racist too.



It's a sign of nationalism and patriotism, i.e. "my country is better than yours".



One sees very few flags in Switzerland. Government buildings do not have them either.



Except when there's some stupid football competition going on....
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#6 Old 10-17-2007, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Diana View Post

One sees very few flags in Switzerland. Government buildings do not have them either.



That's interesting. When you have political campaigns, do candidates ever pose in front of Swiss flags?



Are there other sorts of flags and banners one sees more often in Switzerland?

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#7 Old 10-17-2007, 10:48 AM
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That's interesting. When you have political campaigns, do candidates ever pose in front of Swiss flags?



Are there other sorts of flags and banners one sees more often in Switzerland?



The only ones who use a Swiss flag in political campaigns are the extreme-right movements.



In front of hotels, you sometimes see a whole range of different flags from different countries and on Swiss national day (1st August) some people put little flags out on their balconies, but it's not very popular. (Swiss National Day was made an official public holiday only in 1994 - before then, people worked as usual - it's not a very big deal even now. People don't really care much about it.)



Like I said, it's during big football events (soccer) like the World Cup or the Euro Cup that people take out all their big flags and then you have whole streets full of different flags from different countries hanging out of people's windows and on their balconies. (20% of Swiss population is comprised of "foreigners", so that makes for a lot of different flags.)



(I know in some countries, there is a law that you cannot display a foreign flag if you don't also display the national flag at the same time, but this is not the case in Switzerland).



The only place in the whole world where I have seen so many flags was when I visited the United States. (And it was not a pretty sight to see... so much nationalism and patriotism that it made me feel nauseous at times.)
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#8 Old 10-17-2007, 11:21 AM
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If you see an aussie flag it usually means its "australia day" or a riot is about to happen. Or both.
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#9 Old 10-17-2007, 11:45 AM
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american nationalism is better than other nationalisms because it's about actual principals of governance and not ethnocentric statements.

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#10 Old 10-17-2007, 11:46 AM
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american nationalism is better than other nationalisms because it's about actual principals of governance and not ethnocentric statements.

..or at least in theory.

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#11 Old 10-17-2007, 01:14 PM
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Sometimes I feel like it's the Republican flag rather than the US Flag.
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#12 Old 10-17-2007, 09:24 PM
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american nationalism is better than other nationalisms because it's about actual principals of governance and not ethnocentric statements.



If you're being serious that's absurd, if you're being tongue-in-cheek, that's scary.



I have never seen more flags than I have seen in the United States - even in their 'Customs Cleared' areas in non-US airports their flag is quite prominent. I think Canada is probably number two after the US as far as having unnecessary symbols in plain view.



An aside: What's with the national anthems in North America before all sporting events?
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#13 Old 10-17-2007, 09:28 PM
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If you're not from the U.S., what does the flag of your national origin mean to you?



To me it's a reminder of how the British ****ed over the Aborigines.

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#14 Old 10-17-2007, 10:11 PM
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Sometimes I feel like it's the Republican flag rather than the US Flag.




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#15 Old 10-17-2007, 10:52 PM
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Sometimes I feel like it's the Republican flag rather than the US Flag.



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#16 Old 10-17-2007, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Diana View Post

In Switzerland, people who wear flags or t-shirts with flags are, as in Sevensea's country, usually neo-nazis or at least extreme right-wing. One can be pretty sure they're xenophobic and probably racist too.



It's a sign of nationalism and patriotism, i.e. "my country is better than yours".



One sees very few flags in Switzerland. Government buildings do not have them either.





It's probably just as well that most Europeans feel that way.



When you compare their track record for political stability to the U.S.' over the last century, well... it's pretty abysmal. Obviously they aren't to be trusted with pieces of cloth.



Maybe in a couple more generations when the last bit of lust over failed empires has finally been bred out of the typical euro-weenie.
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#17 Old 10-17-2007, 11:03 PM
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typical euro-weenie.



If I were to die tonight, it would be a comfort to know I left a legacy of some sort.
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#18 Old 10-18-2007, 02:39 AM
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If I were to die tonight, it would be a comfort to know I left a legacy of some sort.



Speaking of Legacies:



http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1988/1988_88_155/



Facts of the Case



In 1984, in front of the Dallas City Hall, Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag as a means of protest against Reagan administration policies. Johnson was tried and convicted under a Texas law outlawing flag desecration. He was sentenced to one year in jail and assessed a $2,000 fine. After the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the conviction, the case went to the Supreme Court.



Question



Is the desecration of an American flag, by burning or otherwise, a form of speech that is protected under the First Amendment?



Conclusion



In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that Johnson's burning of a flag was protected expression under the First Amendment. The Court found that Johnson's actions fell into the category of expressive conduct and had a distinctively political nature. The fact that an audience takes offense to certain ideas or expression, the Court found, does not justify prohibitions of speech.
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#19 Old 10-18-2007, 10:48 AM
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another reason not to vote for Hillary:



Quote:
Last month Justice Antonin Scalia was politely quizzed by Norman Pearlstine, the outgoing Time Inc. editor in chief. The event, held in Time Warner's New York headquarters, was supposedly off the record, but so much of it has already been reported that it will not hurt to add Scalia's views on flag burning. He explained why it was constitutionally protected speech. It's a pity Hillary Clinton was not there to hear him.



The argument that this famously conservative member of the Supreme Court advanced -- actually, reiterated -- was that while he may or may not approve of flag burning, it was clear to him that it was a form of speech, a way of making a political statement, and that the First Amendment protected it. I could not agree more.



Clinton, apparently, could not agree less. Along with Sen. Robert Bennett, a Utah Republican, she has introduced a bill that would make flag burning illegal. It is probably important to note that this is not a proposed constitutional amendment, and it is written in a cutesy way that does not explicitly outlaw all flag burnings -- just those intended to "intimidate any person or group of persons." That's a distinction without a difference to your average police officer. Not many cops belong to the ACLU.



http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...121401887.html

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#20 Old 10-18-2007, 04:02 PM
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me just found out sie french flag takes no boos!!



hiss !! je non pas hiss neither I supposey?
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#21 Old 10-19-2007, 09:38 AM
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I unfortunately see the flag used more as a symbol of blind nationalism than really representing the values of the United States.



I'm afraid my view of the flag has also been tainted by the image of a man opposed to school desegregation using a the flag pole he was carrying as a weapon against a man who supported school desegregation. The best online copy of the image I could find is here:



http://a4.vox.com/6a00c2251d4c41f219...aa8cf219-320pi



It somewhat embodies my feelings about the use of the flag. I see it as a "weapon" of sorts and a tool in the arguement "if you don't agree with me you really aren't an American." I also see it as a representation of the old "America, love it or leave it" mentality.



If I were to put any American symbol on to represent my love of country I'd want to have a flag with the constitution on it or a simple bumper sticker with the "We The People" text from the constitution on it.
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#22 Old 10-19-2007, 11:00 AM
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I unfortunately see the flag used more as a symbol of blind nationalism than really representing the values of the United States.



Me, too.



Especially after 9/11, I got really sick of seeing all the U.S. flags (along with "United we stand!") plastered on the bumper of every auto, which, oddly enough, were usually cutting me off in traffic or otherwise showing disregard for the safety of others. And even sicker after the military invaded Iraq.



As for flag burning, I'm not really in favor of it, but if the U.S. should make it illegal to do so, I'd have more than enough reason to light one up (well, other than the prison sentence and junk).
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#23 Old 10-21-2007, 09:48 AM
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#24 Old 10-21-2007, 03:01 PM
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It's not true that there are no flags hanging around in European countries, especially in Alpine countries you will often see their national flag hanging at the mountain huts. Don't you see those in Switserland, Diana? At other 'holiday' oriented places (like campsites, for instance) you'll often see the flags of loads of countries, with the national flag hanging more prominently in the middle. I think that's kind of sympathetic The same with sport events. Apart from these 'international' oriented themes, you'll see flags on special holidays and in royal family related days (at least, in countries that have a monarchy). The main difference it that it's more a special occasion thing to have flags hanging out, than an everyday thing like in the US.



Anyway, it is true that displaying the flag on your clothes (and especially on your arm) has an association with rightwinged extremism, but I think that that's only because the 'neo-nazis' adopted it as a symbol, and because of that most people shy away from using flags as pieces of clothing. That doesn't have much to do with the flag itself, though. Similarly people wouldn't wear white laces in black army shoes cause that's also adopted as an 'nazi-symbol'.



So, I don't really believe that flag has much to do with extreme nationalism at all, it's just symbolic for a country.

Also I don't agree with Red's statements at all, that it has anything to do with political stability, but then, that post was made in response to the idea that Europeans don't use their flags, which is in itself not true... Ah well...
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#25 Old 10-21-2007, 06:55 PM
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Also I don't agree with Red's statements at all, that it has anything to do with political stability, but then, that post was made in response to the idea that Europeans don't use their flags, which is in itself not true... Ah well...



Don't take it personally, but I think it's hilarious when people point to Europe as some sort of role model for the U.S., given the track records of the two over the last century.
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#26 Old 10-21-2007, 07:17 PM
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Don't take it personally, but I think it's hilarious when people point to Europe as some sort of role model for the U.S., given the track records of the two over the last century.

Well comparing the whole of Europe with a single country doesn't seem like a sensible comparison to me.

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#27 Old 10-21-2007, 10:22 PM
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Nor does it make sense to aggregate a country's policies and demographics when making a comparison.



Is a particular country better than another? Yes and no...



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#28 Old 10-22-2007, 05:20 AM
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Well comparing the whole of Europe with a single country doesn't seem like a sensible comparison to me.



Indeed.



Besides, I don't see what the symbolism and use of a flag has to do with the stability of the country that flag belongs to. Whether you think of the Netherlands as stable or not, it's flag is, I believe, one of the oldest country-flags in the world still in use
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#29 Old 10-22-2007, 09:44 AM
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It's not true that there are no flags hanging around in European countries, especially in Alpine countries you will often see their national flag hanging at the mountain huts. Don't you see those in Switserland, Diana? At other 'holiday' oriented places (like campsites, for instance) you'll often see the flags of loads of countries, with the national flag hanging more prominently in the middle. I think that's kind of sympathetic The same with sport events. Apart from these 'international' oriented themes, you'll see flags on special holidays and in royal family related days (at least, in countries that have a monarchy). The main difference it that it's more a special occasion thing to have flags hanging out, than an everyday thing like in the US.



Anyway, it is true that displaying the flag on your clothes (and especially on your arm) has an association with rightwinged extremism, but I think that that's only because the 'neo-nazis' adopted it as a symbol, and because of that most people shy away from using flags as pieces of clothing. That doesn't have much to do with the flag itself, though. Similarly people wouldn't wear white laces in black army shoes cause that's also adopted as an 'nazi-symbol'.



So, I don't really believe that flag has much to do with extreme nationalism at all, it's just symbolic for a country.

Also I don't agree with Red's statements at all, that it has anything to do with political stability, but then, that post was made in response to the idea that Europeans don't use their flags, which is in itself not true... Ah well...



This is an interesting post. Thank you, inie.



I've met people who wore flag-patches on the sleeves of their coats, but they explained it as a way of identifying themselves nationally when traveling abroad, not so much about right-winged extremism. That Alex guy from BrasÃ*l I met in Scotland was definitely not a righty...

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#30 Old 10-22-2007, 03:10 PM
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Very interesting question! Finally something we haven't discussed before!



I don't think it's always been like this but I'd say it's identified more with the government than the people. Especially with the division in the U.S. and how most of the world sees us.

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