§8. Respect for the Flag [emphasis mine]
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.
- 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.
- The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.
- The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
- 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.
- 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.
- The flag should never be used as a covering for a ceiling.
- 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.
- The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Okay, after reading that...does anyone want to explain to me the whole "let's make flag burning illegal" thing to me? You'd think that the Bill of Rights would be enough...I mean, "Freedom of Speech" was an important enough thing that the Founding Fathers listed it first and all...but a law forbidding flag burning just seems especially absurd after flag ettiquite itself specifially says that you should burn flags, even for something as minor as allowing it to drag on the ground. In fact, burning a flag is supposedly the most honorable way for a flag to go. (Of course, it also says not to disrespect the flag, which is a far more effective thing to say than "don't burn it"...)
Note that I'm not personally against the savage vigellante beating of asshats that disrespect the country by burning flags in the street and such. It just offends me that the government is wasting my tax money arguing and debating something like this instead of, say, securing the border or developing an exit strategy for Iraq or fixing Social Security or any number of other things that they could be doing right now.
No, folks should have more respect than to burn the flag, even if they do disagree with a certain President or other government official or whatever else. They're still Americans, dammit. Yes, people are going to abuse their Freedom of Speech by doing highly offensive shit like that. But they do have that freedom. While I would like to see such acts stop, it's simply not right to pass laws against it...especially when those laws directly contradict other rules currently on the books.
(Besides, am I the only one that thinks that if someone's enough of a disrespectful asshole to do something like burning and descecrating a flag to begin with, ignoring common decency and respect, that they similarly wouldn't ignore a law against a "victimless crime" such as burning a flag in protest?)
Sorry for the semi-random rant. *headdesk* According to the TV, this is the one and only thing happening in the entire country today...=P