FLYING FLAG UPSIDE DOWN NOW THE “PROTEST” DU JOUR

It seems like some really disenchanted losers are picking up on hanging the American flag upside down to signal distress. With the reality of Obama’s impending presidency, some losers are deciding that the country is in “dire” straits which, according to their frazzled mentality, requires that Old Glory be flown upside down to signal the fact that the country is going down the tubes.

Geez, like it hasn’t been doing so for the last eight years under King George. I guess I could have turned my flag upside down for eight years, but I didn’t. My recourse is to vote against those with whom I don’t agree, not make a mockery of the reason for the upside down flag.

Here is the section addressing flying of the flag upside down:

§ 176. Respect for flag: No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America; the flag should not be dipped to any person or thing. Regimental colors, State flags, and organization or institutional flags are to be dipped as a mark of honor.

The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

A Decatur business owner is one of two men who made headlines this week for turning the flag upside down to protest Obama’s election (the other is from Huntington). Greg Townsend of Townsend Tires is a so-called Christian who puts religious mailings in his customers’ bills and covers his waiting area and service bay windows with anti-choice, pro-gun bumper stickers. He is “in your face” when it comes to religion.

But not all was peachy keen with Townsend’s protest. The Mayor of Decatur, John Schultz, who had been out of town when the incident occurred, returned to a pile of angry messages. He made a call to Townsend to discuss the matter with Townsend letting Townsend know that he was offended by the protest which he felt portrayed the community in the wrong way. The flag was returned to its rightful position after the discussion with the mayor.

Townsend attempted to assure those who questioned his motives that his protest had nothing to do with Obama’s race. He said it was his opposition to abortion primarily, and he was upset that Obama is pro-choice. Yet he refused to refer to Obama by name and called him “that man” instead.

Townsend has been in business since 1979, so my question is I wonder how many other times he has turned the flag upside down in protest against those who did not hold his beliefs?

Did he do so when Bill Clinton was elected two times or when Evan Bayh was elected two times? Both are pro-choice supporters. If not, it really would appear that Townsend’s protest is hiding what may be his “unacknowledged” racial bias. Certainly not very Christian-like.

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About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
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11 Responses to FLYING FLAG UPSIDE DOWN NOW THE “PROTEST” DU JOUR

  1. Phil Marx says:

    You make an excellent point when you ask if he did the same when Clinton was elected. Obama is just another D, so his welfare policies naturally favor the poor (as opposed to the R’s who’s welfare policies favor the rich.) I really don’t understand why someone would be more upset with this particular D than any others, unless there really is another agenda at work.

    I think the more telling question though is what would this guy’s reaction have been if his neighbor had done the same thing in response to a McCain win? I suspect he would have been giving lessons about proper respect for the flag. I expect that in that case he (and many others) would be saying that there is a big difference between “dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property” and simply making a political statement.

    What this man did is no different than spitting on the flag. He used it in a manner against it’s express purpose, and therefore defiled it. Of course, I think that is the type of speech which should be protected under the First Amendment. I just don’t think it is fair to lie and say this is anything other than what it is: This man’s actions defiled the sacred flag of our country in order to make a political statement.

  2. At least he didnt spit on the flag or burn it or wear it in a drawdy manner He displayed it in protest as allowed by law.

  3. Mr. White:

    The law allows those who wish to express a political opinion the right to use the flag as a method of protest. The Supreme Court has ruled on two separate occasions that burning the flag is legal.

    I would also disagree with your statement that “he displayed it in protest as allowed by law.”

    Please re-read the statute that governs displaying a flag upside down. It says it can be turned upside down “as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.”

    Please let’s not get mellowdramatic and even equate the election of someone you didn’t support as “dire distress” or an “instance of extreme danger to life or property.”

    If that were the case, flags on every block in this country would be all over the place depending on your politics and party affiliation.

  4. Andy says:

    Frank Gray also wrote about this Decatur business flying the American flag upside down:

    http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/JG/20081108/LOCAL0201/811080343&SearchID=73335653714706

    From Mr. Gray’s story:

    “Every piece of mail that leaves the business contains what is called a Christian tract, a little pamphlet with a Christian message.

    From time to time, all this has created some friction with customers. Some have told him not to put the tracts in their bills, Townsend says. He tells them not to charge things, then they won’t get a bill, because every bill that goes out is going to have a tract in it.”

    I find Mr. Townsend to be a very abrasive and narrow-minded individual. Obviously, he does not have any tolerance or respect for his own customers religious beliefs or lack there of, and is hell-bent on proselytizing and pressing his own religious faith upon them. Ironically, whether his customers want it or not.

    Mr. Townsend’s actions are representative of a deeper issue which plagues not only our country but others around the world as well.

    These type of situations and individuals need to be addressed head on and exposed for others to see. I applaud Charlotte, Mr. Gray and the Mayor of Decatur for shedding light on this very close minded and bigoted display of behavior.

    If Christianity, and for that matter, other religious faiths are to coexist in this world, individuals such as Mr. Townsend should be confronted and challenged on their rigid ideologies. Often times, as in Mr. Townsend’s case, the particular religion in which he or she is so adamantly espousing, ends up getting tarnished and compromised in the process. Not to mention, the name of the town in which Mr. Townsend resides and does business.

  5. wickle says:

    Sigh …

    You know, I was afraid that the hatred might end with the election. I’m so glad that there are people like this joker who will keep up the fear-mongering and hatred well into Pres.-elect Obama’s term. I’d sure hate it if we tried to work cooperatively.

    When the world hasn’t ended four years from now, what will people like this do, I wonder?

  6. Im sorry you feel that way I would much rather have someone hang the flag upside down than spit on it or burn it, that was my only pointe regardless of political affiliation or desire of outcome from the election. BTW, I didnt suppport McCain Palin either. As far as alll his other business practices are concerned they are rude and insensitive but they are his practices if you dont like it dont patronize his establishment and eventually he will either go out of business or have a very small clientele. Vote with your wallet first.

  7. Mr. White:

    Yes, they are his business practices, and I would never frequent his place. I use my choice to boycott in many different instances, and that would be one of them.

    I guess I would have to ask why you believe that he should be able to turn the flag upside down when the law clearly states under what circumstances that action may be done?

    As I noted, I can’t believe that anyone really thinks his use of the flag is “as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.”

    Please answer me how he is “extreme danger to life or property?”

    I doubt that the creators of the legislation had in mind a protest against someone you don’t support who is elected to office.

    So I wonder which is more disrespectful – turning the flag upside down in a meaningless gesture (not in accordance with the meaning of the statute) to protest the election of our first African-American president who happens to hold opinions at odds with the demonstrator or burning/spitting on the flag to protest a war that took the lives of 58,000+ Americans and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese?

  8. Ann says:

    Is Mr. Townsend’s persistence in “offensive confrontation” similar to the hateful and violent actions of the homosexuals who have been attacking those who don’t buy THEIR agenda in the last couple of weeks?

    Is it? Oh. Ok. Now I understand.

    The homosexuals get to hate and attack Christians. Christians don’t get to mail brochures.

  9. Ann says:

    Is race all you people can think about? I couldn’t care less if Bambi was purple and had green stripes. YOU have the group all year long have pushed and pushed and PUSHED for a racial perception on this political season. And now you have apparently succeeded! Well congratulations, you knotheads. Now no one can object to his policies or points of view without being accused of racism.

    Gee, that’s reassuring. I guess that just means he can do and say anything he wants and we will be arrested for hate speech if we object.

    Wow. Stalin would be so pleased with all of you. And you don’t even have a clue what you are doing, thinking you are so above it all, you are so self-righteous, you are so “all-accepting”–except of those who don’t agree with you.

  10. Ann:

    Sorry, but your outburst is full of inaccuracies. Townsend’s confrontation is selective. He preached on one hand that he opposes abortion, gay rights, etc., so he targets Obama to make his protest because he says Obama supports those things.

    My question is this – did he protest like this when Evan Bayh was governor of Indiana or Bill Clinton was president? After all, they both held pro-choice positions and supported gay rights. You know as well as I do that Townsend’s faux protest is aimed at Obama because of one additional factor – he is black, and Townsend has bought into the outright lies that Obama is Muslim.

    I will bet you anything Townsend didn’t turn the flag upside down under Bayh’s governorship or Clinton’s presidency. Townsend is why Christians get bad names – the hypocrisy and the hatred covered by supposed Christian beliefs.

    And where on earth did you come up with the notion that homosexuals get to attack Christians? The outrage is over Christian groups espousing Christianity and following Jesus yet hating homosexuals. I would say if anyone is being attacked it is the gays in this country.

  11. Ann:

    As to your second post – please take some nerve medicine to calm you down. Racism is alive and well in the United States. If you are so dimwitted to think it isn’t, well then enjoy your oblivious state of mind.

    The Republicans did everything they could to smear Obama. Ms. “You Betcha” couldn’t wait to get on stage and trash Obama. In fact, Republicans consistently used Obama’s middle name – all to tie him to Muslims and Saddam Hussein. What a great bunch of hypocrites the Republicans are.

    You might want to check what Bush has done in the area of privacy and squelching speech. The last 8 years have been two of the worst terms Americans have ever experienced. Surely you remember how those of us who opposed the invasion of Iraq were treated? Oh, never mind, you have selective memory.

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