Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Resolution to Support Students Who Wanted to Take Down American Flag at UC Irvine

Hat tip Cloud Minder

The below link which is posted on the blog, Cloud Minder, is a resolution of support for the 6 UC Irvine student government students who voted to remove the American flag from its workplace. It is signed by UC/UCI faculty, students, alumni and others.

"The resolution recognized that nationalism, including U.S. nationalism, often contributes to racism and xenophobia, and that the paraphernalia of nationalism is in fact often used to intimidate."

Comment: I would not have signed this document. I find the reference to Fox News objectionable as well as the reference to racism and xenophobia. In addition, I do not consider the American flag to be "paraphernalia" of nationalism which is used to intimidate. What kind of absurd statement is that?

 If it is true that any of these students have been subject to threats or racist comments, I condemn that as well. Today, a scheduled ACUCI meeting was cancelled due to reported threats. I do not know where the threats came from, and I would condemn them as well.

My position remains that I am critical of the vote to remove the American flag, but it is no reason or excuse for violence or threats of violence from either side of the debate.

Hopefully, the ACUCI will put this matter behind them, keep the flag up, and we can all move on.


Siarlys Jenkins said...

With regard to the assertions made in the resolution, so what? All good things can be used for bad ends.

It reminds me of the congressman who said that more than half of all heroin users started with marijuana.

The obvious and appropriate rejoinder: one hundred percent of heroin users started on milk.

That analogy will in one sense be offensive to Gary, given that he devoted most of his professional life to DEA, competently and conscientiously as far as we know.

But my point is not, flag always good, or heroin good, or marijuana good... my point is, the resolution is a poorly considered hash of statements which in no way sustain the removal of the American flag.

I for one would like to see the flag removed from churches. I would also like to see churches abandon the "Christian flag." I don't recite the Pledge of Allegiance -- I respond to it pretty much the same way as Jehovah's Witnesses do, and for the same reasons: it is an act of idolatry.

But, I don't object to the flag per se, and as an avid student of the civil war, with no sympathy for the confederacy, I can't view the flag as an inherently negative symbol. Nor has the content of this resolution established that it is one.

I don't really care that some people are offended. They have a right to offend right back, not to suppress anything they find offensive.

Gary Fouse said...

In today's OC Register, a student defends the action by saying that the flag was not authorized to be in that space.

Where in the US, pray tell, is the American flag not authorized?

elwood p suggins said...

Siarlys--Just curious,let me ask, would you recite the pledge if it did not contain the idolatrous words "under God"??

elwood p suggins said...

Siarlys--while your rejoinder may be obvious and appropriate to you, as well as being fairly glib, it is in my view a totally inappropriate, inaccurate, and shallow analogy, if in fact one at all.

As the synonym for "analogous", my Webster's (and my Funk and Wagnall's as well) gives "similar". I cannot think of any similarity at all between milk and pot, and the only one I see between milk and heroin is that most milk is white, while only some heroin is. That's about it.

Conversely, one similarity between pot and heroin is that both are controlled substances (milk is obviously not one), essentially hallucinogenic and CNS depressant/euphoric, respectively.

Where your analogy appears to fail worst is that while milk drinking activity does not involve drug use in any form (after all, who ever heard of smoking dried milk or shooting up liquid milk??), drug use actually involves, well, drug use.

While I am not necessarily convinced that marijuana usage "causes" heroin usage/addiction in the strictest sense of the word (if it did, more marijuana users would also become heroin addicts, no??), it certainly appears at least much more likely than not that pot is a "gateway" drug and that, in many instances, pot smokers will "graduate" to other substances.

This is because many dopers become poly-drug users and most, if not almost all, drug sources are, or are at least prepared to be, poly-drug dealers. This in turn, of course, puts pot smokers, who are already risk takers, drug/pleasure seekers, escapists/avoiders of reality, etc., in the same milieu as those who also use/deal the more "dangerous" drugs.
Inevitably, this exposure, coupled with the general nature of dopers, is in my opinion going to "cause", or allow, or facilitate, or enable, or whatever, some number, and probably a fairly significant one, to go beyond pot.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

elwood, you prove my point so well. No indeed, there is NOT a significant connection between milk and heroin, although it can be stated with complete and irrelevant accuracy that most or nearly all heroin users did use milk at one time. But the point was, he congressman was blowing smoke.

Now when it comes to the flag... yes, forces dispatched under our flag have done some very bad things, in the Philippines, in Vietnam, in Mexico, and a lot of patriotic Americans have said so at the time, and since. Something similar could be said about the Mexican flag, the Canadian flag, the British flag, the flag of the Soviet Union, the... and we have some very good things to recount that have been done under our flag.

Bottom line, I think, this is OUR flag, and we fly it in certain places and on certain occasions in OUR country, remembering the good, the bad, the ugly, and our hopes to do better in the future. As world history goes, its a pretty good flag.

As for the offending words added to the pledge by congressional fiat in the 1950s... that would be a big improvement. As James Madison said, the better part of respect for the holy name of Jesus (apologies to the substantial Jewish audience here) would be not to insert it into a legislative enactment. I think the same is true of sticking "God" into the Pledge.

I would still not be comfortable with "I pledge allegiance to the flag..." That still smacks of rendering homage to a graven image. Fly it, don't pledge to it.

Many states laws provide for a patriotic exercise to begin the school day, noting that reciting the pledge will fulfill that requirement, but not mandating it. Most schools take the easy way. If I were a homeroom teacher, I would assign a student each day to make a brief presentation of some new patriotic material... getting away from the mind-numbing repetition that inspires students to offer such parodies as "I led the pigeons to the flag, of the United States of a merry cow... This kind of thing, all in good hearted jest, was common in elementary schools in the early 1960s, even in Joe McCarthy's home town. We can do better.

elwood p suggins said...

Siarlys--I guess I am just dense about this. Seems to me that if this really is OUR (YOUR??) flag, all you would have to do is simply elide the words "under God" from the pledge and recite the rest of it. That would seem to make it wholly secular for you, with no religious connotations whatsoever; accordingly, there could not then possibly be any "graven image" or idolatry of any sort.

I would further note that the pledge involves allegiance not only the flag but to OUR country as well. Not that you necessarily care, but your continued refusal to implement this simple fix might cause some to possibly believe that you share some or all of the same views of America as Mr. and Ms. Obama, as well as others, apparently do, and to question your patriotism as they do theirs.

Remember, Ms. Obama stated in 2008 that for the first time in her adult life she was proud of America (and therefore probably also not proud of being an American, no??). If she was not proud, it would appear to readily follow that for over 26 years as an adult, while she was leading the good life, she was either neutral to, or ashamed of, her country.

I see no other options, and to be perfectly honest, I do not believe that either Obama loves this country, warts and all, as much as I and most other Americans do, perhaps excluding yourself.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

If Michelle Obama had viewed America, as an entity, with a certain jaundiced eye, that could be quite understandable. Ditto for Japanese interned in Wyoming who never had their property returned... but if our country's better possibilities win them over, that's fine, well and good, not something to snipe about.

As for pledging allegiance... I might fly the flag, but that doesn't mean I bow down to it, or serve it.