Stars, Stripes, and Signatures: Bush Desecrates the American Flag

It appears from the photo below that President Bush’s support for a Flag Amendment to criminalize the desecration of the flag could be a cry for help. In this photo, Bush is seen clearly writing on a small American flag.

For the picture, click here

Unless small flags are excluded, Title 4 clearly prohibits such acts, particularly under subsection G. Fortunately, Bush is free to write on or burn the flag at future events under the first amendment.

§ 8. Respect for flag

No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.
(a) The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
(b) The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.
(e) The flag should never be fastened, displayed, used, or stored in such a manner as to permit it to be easily torn, soiled, or damaged in any way.
(f) The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
(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. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.
(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.
(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

28 thoughts on “Stars, Stripes, and Signatures: Bush Desecrates the American Flag

  1. Obviously this was sheltered by his powers in the Unitary Executive and his plenary powers as Commander in Chief cover such morale building actions with the troops.

    (auditioning for an OLC position)

  2. not convinced?

    Well, the statute refers to “Flags” and those little plastic things on sticks are properly “Flaglets” or “Mini-banners” and are not covered by the statute.

    Besides Presidential Signatures are themselves in the aura or penumbra of implied Flaginess and enhance the Flagness of the Flag.

    (still trying for that job)

  3. Ok,

    last try.

    We can’t prosecute him, because he has told us not to; and we would have advised him that he could do it, if he asked us, but he didn’t so we operate under the implied question doctrine, whereby our implied consent would have been extended making all possible action impliedly legal, so what he did was lawful under any possible interpretation…and no one will testify even if Congress asks us!

    (I want a corner office please)

  4. I doubt I will get the job. I don’t own one of those blue on blue stripe ties with the little elephants.


  5. You could always steal one!

    Hippies–I’m referrimg to the larval tense of the word. The larval hippy feeds on the constitution. You know the rest!

  6. I ask, how is it we must subject ourselves to t(his) ‘self-flagilation’ – by t(his) unlawful signing?

    p.s. Psssssst, Jill, ‘W’ was never ‘groovy’ enough to be a ‘hippy’…

  7. Nicely punned Patty! And D.W., do you want that job? Go steal that tie. Theft is Property–that really is straight out of the OLC!

  8. Amendment, shamendment!!

    Signing something is am act of authorship or claim! It is marking ownership or title. So Bush is saying in effect: I AM America, or perhaps, I OWN America! [see: “L’etat, c’est a moi!” JSTOR]

    Obviously Mr. Bush is asserting ownership of not only the political community but the entire property of the United States.

    In short to understand the President we must understand Louis XIV!!

    Professor DW Pumperflugel
    Political Science Dept.
    Wheelbarrow State Normal College

  9. Perhaps I had a few already before I started this series of posts!

    But I will take you up on that anyway!


  10. Here is what the code says: “the stars and the stripes, in any number of either thereof, or of any part or parts of either, by which the average person seeing the same without deliberation may believe the same to represent the flag, colors, standard, or ensign of the United States of America.”

    I am not stunned that JT was too lazy to look this code up. JT, does this mean the hundreds of thousands of flag decorations posted on gravesites every Memorial day or the thousands of flags lining our boulevards in the city I live on Flag day have the status of a full American Flag? What crock.

    Jesus Christ JT with the Democratic party totally collapsing in front of your eyes, you would think you would have something better to post. Call Keith Olberamnn for your talking points.

  11. Might I emphasize the “should” in the language of the statute. Totally unenforceable–First Amendment stuff. But read on…

    “Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.”

    Gosh, that reminds me of a certain someone who doesn’t wear the flag pin by his heart. Is it possible that another politician currently seeking the presidency is in violation of the statute?

  12. Seems that Republicans belive in individual property rights except when a person purchases an American flag and then the goverment can tell a person what they can and cannot do with it. In the Lawrence case, (the flag burning case) if the State of Texas had tried him for malicious damage to property they could have won because the flag he burned was not his.

  13. As with any symbol, when the flag ceases to stand for the principles we collectively hold dear and were founded upon, it is nothing but base materials and worth only their cost. It’s value is in the principles it represents, not some sentimental or jingoist notion of country or nation. That’s what our revolution was all about, despite what imperialists like Bush and his ilk would have us believe. When patriotism is judged by the pin on your lapel instead of what is beneath it, it is very cheap indeed.

  14. Jay,

    Who is the erring politician? .

    It is a matter of supreme indifference to me as to whether our political candidates wear those little flag lapels or not. Membership in our civic religion runs deeper than the need to advertise one’s allegiance. I would tend to take more seriously those politicians who didn’t wear them, as suggestive of political courage and a willingness to return us to the days before we cowered before the “patriotic” McCarthy’s of the world.

  15. “When patriotism is judged by the pin on your lapel instead of what is beneath it, it is very cheap indeed.”

    I don’t think anyone disagrees with that. But in my view, this entire post practically mocks true patriotism. Does following some Federal suggestions on flag protocol make someone any more or less patriotic? The flag waver and burner could be equally patriotic. The very idea that an American citizen should feel badly for having his American flag autographed by an American president is sad. That’s not “desecration” — that’s awesome collectible Americana.

    But I assume the post was meant in good fun. And I imagine that many of you would not turn down the opportunity to get President Obama’s signature on your own American flags too.

  16. Jay,

    Actually, I would not present a flag for autographing. That is desecrating it, in my opinion. Collectible or no.

  17. Deeply Worried wrote:
    Obviously Mr. Bush is asserting ownership of not only the political community but the entire property of the United States.

    DW, doesn’t he have to show us a DEED first? Or did “the decider” decide he didn’t have to do that either?

  18. Me either, DW – especially to this President.

    Bush’s disrespect is also reflected by his ‘graffiti’, in the way of his signature upon our national symbol – which, given his behavior in the last near eight years, is also like spitting on our flag, in my view.

  19. Susan,

    I would guess that an actual deed is unnecessary, since he already has an OLC memorandum or two (classified to be sure) that assures him that in wartime he has full powers to commandeer anything he likes in pursuit of war aims. If he decides that my vacation home in the mountains is important to the war effort, he can seize it…..:)

    Patty C,

    I agree. It is a generational thing I think to some degree.
    True story: when I was younger, I ran a marathon and some spectator had dropped one of those little flags on sticks on the race course. I couldn’t bear seeing it on the ground so I stopped, picked it up, and ran the last 16 miles or so holding it. People probably thought I was making a political statement…but it was just a respect issue.

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