I think when Betsy Ross put together that first flag she wouldn't have envisioned that 200 years later her country would be debating whether or not the Constitution allowed freedom to burn this symbol as a protest. Also, in reference to calling it or describing it as just a piece of cloth; I feel that this is the very core of todays problems with our culture. ........... Side Note but applicable in my opinion: Unborn babies, the old, the mentally impaired, are dehumanized through unwavering,defined parameters so that consciences are protected from guilt when severing life-cords. Humans are but, "Fidos" or "Tabbys", that no longer are considered sacred in the scheme of created life. We are but instinctual organisms that either offer or have quality of life, or our expendable. We are just at the top of the evolutionary pyramid, but have no other significance, as we are no longer considered distinct or created in the image of a Supreme Creator. The Hypocratic oath is slowly being chipped away. A sign of the times my friends........Who will listen to the tick tick of this clock, and who will just live for the moment. ........ Back to the theme: This simple piece of cloth with stars and stripes is a mere, "nothing" but an inanimate thing. So whats the fuss over incinerating it? Funny thing is that, if the flag is such a mere "nothing" and just cloth and colorings, then why does it have such signifcance to some to use it as a protest/tool item to the extent of destroying it? Why, because it's significance to the protester is a mere "nothing". The protester uses it's significance to get a reaction from those that cherish it. The protester knows that many cherish it, and equates in his or her's intellect or reasoning, "Wa La!", leverage! Extort via Webster's Dictionary: Main Entry: ex·tort Pronunciation: ik-'stort Function: transitive verb Etymology: Latin extortus, past participle of extorquEre to wrench out, extort, from ex- + torquEre to twist -- more at TORTURE : to obtain from a person by force, intimidation, or undue or illegal power : WRING; also : to gain especially by ingenuity or compelling argument synonym see EDUCE - ex·tort·er noun - ex·tor·tive /-'stor-tiv/ adjective Example: Got a cause you want to make into something big? You've got to get folks attention? How do you get their attention? You have to do something that hit's home with something that they cherish; find special or interesting. An example/s: You think theres too many dog and cat owners and it totally goes against your philosophy of life as you see it. Dogs and Cats aren't people, and people spend too much time be pet owners and not enough time raising children. So, since you the protester don't give a wits, damn about Dogs and Cats, as they aren't children, you come up with this brain-storm to get the attention of these calloused/unintellectual/uninformed pet owners. Why not, set a few dogs and cats on fire? That'll get the pet owners attention. Since they cherish dogs and cats, this will really upset them, and my cause will really get media attention too, as I rattle every pet owner in America. Hurting/killing a dog or cat doesn't affect my conscience, since these animals aren't human, they're just lower organisms, and are expendable. I burn them as a means to further my cause, that children our being neglected in the inner cities, and being indiscriminately killed in Iraq, and Afganistan. Ok....that's extreme.......but, my point is this. The American flag means a lot to a lot of folks. It drapes the coffins of the G.I. that comes home after paying the ultimate price. It flys over the battle grounds and cemeterys where myriads of Americans gave the ultimate sacrifice. It means so much to those folks, yet, others take that symbol made of cloth and three colors, and simply light it up, and chant, "get out of Iraq", or, "Hell no, we won't go", etc. They often display disdain for those that serve, believing that they,the protester has the ultimate "handle" on whats right, and moral over these indoctrinated, low intellect fools that obey orders and don't question authority. Sadly enemy deaths/civilian casualty receive greater sympathies, as these G.I.'s are merely instruments of an evil agenda'ed administration and philosophy. Oh, G.I. casualties are useful tools in this protest, but it's only to further the bringing down of an administration. It is a whoring of values to reach a political/philosophical victory. It is a means to usurpt the election box. Granted the Constitution allows for protest, and recently, by a slim margin Congress has allowed the flag burning to continue unhindered. Has our society evolved or become smarter in the last 200 years, that we some how can burn the flag legally, without a pricked conscience? When did we arrive at this intellectial supremacy of understanding that our forefathers totally missed? Was American society of 50, 100, or more years ago in some way backwards, lacking intellectual understanding of it's constitutional rights, and now in the late 20th and early 21st century, we have arrived at the "true" understanding? Might the proliferation of lawyers have anything to do with this. Might there be subtle agenda covertly being administered in these political science, and Lawyer mills called colleges and universitys, thats injecting an indoctrinating message to these young pliable minds prior to graduation. Is it any surprise that young people who come into the mainstream universities with conservative, ethical, moral, and religious backgrounds are bombarded with pressures to change, conform, and disavow their beliefs at increasingly, and alarmingly rates if they are eager to graduate with Cum Laude or higher? Was the logic of earlier American statesmen, constitutional lawyers, and common folks lacking in wisdom, and understanding of the Constitution's intent of free speech, and now we have experienced an epiphany that says, flag burning is constitutionally moral/legal without a doubt? Or is it possible that we are experiencing a time that is typified by rewriting of history, and constitutional understanding. Are we drifting away from straight constitutionalism, and drifting into a dangerous abyss of redefining our forefather's intent? Has our present day intellect/knowledge lost site of it's mentor of safety called, "wisdom" and embraced a type of objectivity that sees all things as black or white, regardless of past history? Is human life starting to be defined within rigid parameters, to expedite Euthanasia or Abortion even into 3rd terms. Life simply becomes a degree of brain function minus anything else. Has the degradation of religion into the realm of fantasy, created a new generation devoid of conscience, and empathy towards others, and encouraged an inordinate love of self as a substitute? The American flag is merely a symbol, but must be separated from emotions, arising from it's useage throughout American history in bloody battles for small pieces of significant real estate at those times in foreign lands? Okinawa, Pearl Harbor, Normandy, North and South Korea, France, Germany, Italy, South Vietnam, Midway,......etc? Those gallant men that raised the flag on top of that mountain in a momentous, grissly, American life-sacrificing campaign across the Pacific, pushing the Japanese empire back to their homeland, hardly risked their lives for a piece of cloth with red, white, and blue dyed colors, or did they. Was what the flag stood for? Once a simple piece of cloth receives those stars and stripes upon it's simple, plain surface, it becomes more than what it was. It becomes, the voices of the past, present, and future souls of those that gave or will give it all for me/you, and future Americans. To deny the last 200 years of past lives that served or lost those that served the veneration, and significance of this specially colored piece of cloth, called, "Old Glory", is to literally yank out the personal foundations of individual and collectively myriads of American's sacred foundations and motivations for who they are, what they did, and what they gave. It robs millions of their significance as Americans, by trivializing a symbol. It would be similar to burning the Christian Cross, or turning it upside down in protest. The act literally flaunts and slaps the faces of those who see, a symbol in a light that transcends modern day wisdom-lacking intellect. It robs one of identity to a belief, cause, or life's end. With the flag, it extorts, trivializes or holds hostage the hearts, dreams, losses, victorys, and memories of those who paid it all for their country.......be it South Vietnam, Normandy or Iraq. They obeyed, they went, they gave. If you don't comply, my lighter will burn your sacred symbol that you hold dear both personally, and corporately as Americans. I see it as hopefully as an ignorant act of those that really can't comprehend the significance of that special cloth. Even the Saviour said some lasting and profound words. "Father, forgive them, for they no not what they do." If they really understood, and knew the gravity of their act of burning, "Old Glory", the shock to their consciences would likely drive them to incredible guilt, or incredible repentance,contrition and humility. Wars are never fair. Lives should never be lost this way, but they are. Nations will protect themselves based on their definitions of threat and strength of sovereignty. Utopia is a "pipe dream". As long as covetness, exists in human nature, war will happen. Lives will be lost. Individual significance or identity of humans will always be the motivators of individuals. Without reasons for living, we die, or regress into instinctual creatures........survivalists of a base degree. The flag and its past significance held supreme, raises and defines us above the instinctual, and the Orwellian indiffernce of life. It defines and expresses the evidence or existence of our trichotomist nature of mind, will, and emotions, with a spirit at the center, endowned with desires of perfection, and peace.