Friday, July 10, 2009

Land of the Free?

America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free".

The quote above, spoken by fictional president Andrew Shepherd in The American President, is one of my favorite movie quotes ever. It speaks to exactly what the US is supposed to be -- a country founded in protest. Sadly, the authorities in Crivitz, WI, don't seem to get it.
An American flag flown upside down as a protest in a northern Wisconsin village was seized by police before a Fourth of July parade and the businessman who flew it — an Iraq war veteran — claims the officers trespassed and stole his property. A day after the parade, police returned the flag and the man's protest — over a liquor license — continued.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin is considering legal action against the village of Crivitz for violating Vito Congine Jr.'s' First Amendment rights, Executive Director Chris Ahmuty said.

"It is not often that you see something this blatant," Ahmuty said.

In mid-June, Congine, 46, began flying the flag upside down — an accepted way to signal distress — outside the restaurant he wants to open in Crivitz, a village of about 1,000 people some 65 miles north of Green Bay.

He said his distress is likely bankruptcy because the village board refused to grant him a liquor license after he spent nearly $200,000 to buy and remodel a downtown building for an Italian supper club.

Congine's upside-down-flag represents distress to him; to others in town, it represents disrespect of the flag.

Hours before a Fourth of July parade, four police officers went to Congine's property and removed the flag under the advice of Marinette County District Attorney Allen Brey.
Citizens have a right to protest, even if some believe that protest to be disrespectful. To me, it's equally disrespectful for someone to lose their business causing them to suffer financial crisis that could lead to the loss of his home or other possessions. when people are upset, they have a Constitutional right to protest.
Congine, a Marine veteran who served in Iraq in 2004, said he intends to keep flying the flag upside down.

"It is pretty bad when I go and fight a tyrannical government somewhere else," Congine said, "and then I come home to find it right here at my front door."
Congine gets it ... too bad for him the city fathers don't.


Daniel Deiler said...

The man who did this has no idea whay tyrannical means despite his deployment to Iraq. I have deployed 3 times with the U.S. Army so I have basis on which to comment on this "man's" actions. A real man would not do what he did. He did this he says as a sign of distress. He USED the flag to show distress over the city's failure to grant him a liquor license...are you serious?!?! I think the city was wrong and idiotic for not granting him his requested licesne, but that is not REAL distress! Websters dictionary does state that distess is something is pain or suffering to the body or mind, but when you are talking about the AMERICAN FLAG you are treading on hallowed ground!!! Thousands of men and women have died for the stars and stripes and this "man" has reduced it to a distress signal because he did not get a liquour license?! Please!!! Vito, you can find a much better and constructive way to show your distress and protest to the city of Crivitz! DO NOT USE MY FLAG TO PROTEST!!! YOU ARE A SORRY EXCUSE FOR A VETERAN!!!

$ruben$ said...

He has the right to do it and that is what LIB drones dont understand. He has the right, this is America, and YOU have no idea what Tyranny is my friend. Read Mark Levin's book you ignorant democrat.

BAC said...

Daniel -- I couldn't disagree with you more. Vito Congine Jr spent $200,000 to build a business, and stands to lose his investment if he doesn't get the needed license. If I were about to lose $200,000 I'd be pretty distressed, too!! He is taking a step that he knows will get attention -- AND THAT IS HIS RIGHT AS AN AMERICAN. Why did you bother to fight for our rights, if you are now so quick to want to take them away from a fellow citizen? The flag is not yours alone -- it belongs to ALL OF US.

$ruben$ -- what is a "LIB drone"?


Dr. Zaius said...

I love the film quote! I've never seen that movie, I'll have to look for it...

If Vito Congine Jr was willing to put 200k into the local economy building a restaurant, the village board should give him a liquor license.

$ruben$ said...

Hi all!

BAC: LIB drone is a reference to Mark Levin's label for the blind support for Obama regardless the issue. Read his book, "Liberty and Tyranny, A Conservative Manifesto". It should be required reading.

Good posts you two!!!

Fight for Justice!

BAC said...

$suben$ - thanks for the clarification. Somehow I don't think Daniel is a LIB drone. He sounds much more conservative to me.