First Flags Then Books



 July, 2005

In honor of the 4th of July and the birth of this great nation, we wave the American Flag high. We salute the flag and support the freedoms it stands for.

 It has been the practice of The Valley Patriot to honor our veterans each month with a feature called VALLEY PATRIOT OF THE MONTH,“Hero In Our Midst.”

 We support our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world. We support their missions. We also agree with President Bush that free societies, not fear societies, produce a more peaceful world.

 To us, the American flag stands for the sacrifice of our military heroes, democracy, patriotism, independence, and especially the individual liberty and the freedom of our citizens to disagree with our Government without fear of torture, imprisonment or death. We are disgusted by the America-bashers who whine about the so- called “rights” of terrorists, dictators and fascists who would stop at nothing to destroy the very freedoms which give them the “right” to complain so indignantly. We have contempt for their disingenuous efforts to paint America as evil and oppose the United States (and our military efforts) wherever we go.

 Whether it is Abu Gharib, Guantanamo, or the bogus story about flushing a Koran, they trip over themselves to criticize the United States on the world stage, salivating over any news that shows America in a bad light. These are the same people who would publicly burn our beloved American flag as their allies do with glee in places like Lebanon, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other oppressive societies around the world. By doing so, they reveal themselves to be the enemies of freedom that they truly are.

 However, a nation of true liberty and freedom cannot exist without freedom of expression. This includes the right to commit the despicable act of burning the American flag without fear of government retribution.

 Freedom means just that: the freedom to love and the freedom to hate, the freedom to support and the freedom to oppose, and the freedom to openly (and without fear) express ones feelings for our government. Whether those expressions are justified or not, the right to express ones views must be protected. To ban such expression is the cancer of communism, fascism and totalitarianism.

If the leaders of our government pass a Constitutional amendment to prohibit burning the American flag in the name of patriotism, we have to wonder if books which express unpatriotic views will be next on the list of government banned expression.

Let those who want to burn the flag be allowed to do so. At least in a free society we will always know who they are. We can then use our freedom of expression to name them publicly and condemn them.