It’s an under-appreciated holiday. Take some time, roll some bocce, fire up the grill. Enjoy a little rant I wrote in the local university newspaper a few years ago on the futility of both flag-burning as a political statement and denouncing those who do it despite the fact that doing one lends creedence to the other.
My view: flag burning is a self-aggrandizing, unproductive burlesque that ultimately undermines whatever issue the action is intended to protest. It’s the polemic equivalent of a toddler’s tantrum. The irony of flag-burning is that the act itself reinforces the very ideals our flag is intended to represent while, ironically, providing fuel (so to speak) that feeds the fiery rhetoric of the hysterically patriotic. In burning our flag, one may be voicing his or her dissatisfaction or opposition, but he or she is likewise making a very profound demonstration of the the freedoms we are supposed to, but don’t always, enjoy. Better to target our anger at those whose actions fail to live up to those ideals, who misuse the trust and power commended to them, than the symbol these despoilers stain.