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.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.
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.
Congine, a Marine veteran who served in Iraq in 2004, said he intends to keep flying the flag upside down.Congine gets it ... too bad for him the city fathers don't.
"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."