In civil society, laws exist. Refusal to follow or enforce them can be a dangerous trend. I am writing this in reaction to the recent situation where Michelle Manhart, Air Force Veteran and ex Playboy Model was arrested for trying to stop people from destroying and desecrating the US Flag in a protest.
Many articles were written about this as it just occurred on April 18, 2015. Most are one sided and either fail to completely address the topic, refuse to show that Michelle Manhart used the US Flag as a Prop in a nude/semi-nude Playboy photo shoot she participated in years ago, or focus disproportionately on her nude photos and try to argue that using the flag as a prop is no different than desecration.
Many also spend an inordinate amount of time demonstrating how Michelle, who is white, was attempting to break up a black (African American) US flag desecration riot/protest, and she was handled gently by white police officers as opposed to being shot and killed.
Funny thing this press we have is. Always doing everything it can to sow sectarian conflict and fan the flames of hatred and discord between various groups of people.
Never the less, let me not digress any further.
The main purpose of this article is to do four things:
1. Demonstrate with logic and facts that using the flag as a prop in a playboy photoshoot has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with US LAW “Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 33 Code § 700 – Desecration of the flag of the United States; penalties”, in spite of the arguments that some in the press have made attempting to equate her playboy photos to the desecration of the American Flag by the black (African American) protesters.
2. Show how Judges have dishonored their office, violated the public trust, and perverted the law by twisting it into something completely different than what it was written for. I will do this using facts, examples, and the very situation that prompted the people who wrote US LAW “Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 33 Code § 700 – Desecration of the flag of the United States; penalties”, to make that law.
3. I will spell out an objective to correct the specific problems listed in this article
4. I will ask YOU the reader to provide your thoughts and recommendations on how, specifically, we as a society can implement the corrective actions listed in my arguments.
Point # 1- The Flag Desecration or Prop
Before we can classify the flag in a given situation we must first agree on what exactly is dishonor and disrespect and what exactly is honor and reverence.
The definition of desecrate according to merriam-webster is:
to damage (a holy place or object) : to treat (a holy place or object) with disrespect
With that definition in mind, how many people do you believe will think that the US Flag is being respected by people who are shouting curse words while urinating on the American Flag, burning it, tearing it, spitting on it, and excreting their own fecal matter on it?
Do you believe anyone would watch people perform those actions to the American Flag and truly believe in their heart of hearts that those people are treating the flag with reverence and respect?
I don’t think you will find anyone who can honestly answer yes to that question.
The actions I am describing are universal actions of hatred, disrespect, and vilification in every culture on earth. It is impossible to argue that the actions I am describing are anything other than acts of hatred and disrespect.
On the other hand, take the concept of beauty.
Now don’t misunderstand me, as I am not attempting to justify the action of posing nude for a photo shoot.
But look at works of art from the medieval period such as the David, sculpted by Michelangelo, or many of the other works of art that were really nudes or busts of people that exemplified the cultural concept of beauty at the time.
Those works were not meant to illicit lust but were meant to showcase human form and beauty. Of course a certain segment of the population may have had lustful thoughts upon looking at them but that doesn’t mean the artists or those who commissioned the works were also doing so for that reason.
Now, again I am not in favor of playboy. I think the magazine is a doorway to danger and the women who pose in it are collectively contributing to an increase in cultural sexual objectification of women.
I also want to make sure we list the complete set of facts surrounding Michelle Manhart’s playboy photos. She primarily posed naked in several different scenes. Only one set of scenes included the American flag as a blanket or cover for part of her body.
This leads me to ask “How does one know if the flag is being desecrated or dishonored?”
Since dishonor and desecration is more about intent and matters of the mind as opposed to actual actions, we cannot look to the actions themselves to determine if the situation is one of desecration and dishonor or not.
The nature of the situation and if it is respectful or disrespectful is always determined based on the cultural nuances of the society in which the situation is taking place combined with the specific situational facts that are taking place.
In America, shaking someone’s hand (no matter who that person is) is an act of acknowledgement, one could see it from the framework that if I reach out to shake your hand, I respect you enough to acknowledge you.
However, in some countries the exact same action is viewed as disrespectful and dishonorable, if you are a common person who happens to be in the presence of dignitaries or national leaders and reach out your hand to shake the hand of the national leaders. In some cultures, leaders, dignitaries, and executives are viewed as being superior to the common people, and as a result, any attempt by a commoner to shake their hand means that you, a commoner, are disrespecting that person by bringing them down to your common level. Such an act is understood to be a terrible insult.
As you can see, the example above shows the exact same actions have radically different meanings depending on the culture you are in because the culture defines how the mind and heart interprets and understands them.
With that example in mind, it should be easy to see how clear the difference between desecration and respect is. It’s not something that is easy to explain using written words, but it is obvious to anyone observing the context of the situation with all its verbal and non-verbal nuances, to know whether or not the participants are engaging in acts of desecration and defilement or acts of respect and reverence.
Now that we spelled out the differences between disrespect and reverence, we are ready to move into the main discussion on Point # 1- The Flag Desecration or Prop.
Here are some videos of Americans burning and disrespecting the US Flag:
This one is from Louisiana State University
This one is from Ferguson
We don’t have any video showing the protestors desecrating the flag at Valdosta State University in Georgia before Michelle Manhart stopped them and took the flag, because nobody filmed the protest.
If anyone has video of the protestors, please leave a comment and provide the link because I would like to include it in this article.
We do have the video of Michelle Manhart.
Before getting into the legalese of flag desecration and first amendment rights. Let just contrast the flag desecration videos with how the flag was displayed in the playboy photos with Michelle Manhart.
I don’t know about you, but when I look at the Michelle Manhart flag photos, I just don’t see hatred and disrespect being shown towards the American Flag.
1. I see it being used as a stage prop an object that sits in front of Michelle Manhart.
2. Perhaps if I was looking at this photo with a slightly different mindset I might see the flag accenting a very attractive woman.
3. And if I was looking at this photo with another slightly different mindset, I might see the flag as a symbol of protection. Michelle Manhart, in her vulnerable state of nakedness, is covered and protected by the United States Flag just as the a large portion of Americans believe it is the job of United States to protect all those who are weak and vulnerable from the evils of tyranny and oppression.
So far, that’s three completely different takes on the flag, and none of them see flag being disrespected or dishonored.
However, in the videos of flag burning protests, every time I watch them I just don’t see the flag being honored or respected. And I re-watched the videos 100x across 10 different days and every day I watch them I only see disrespect and dishonor.
However, when I see the Michelle Manhart flag photo the only I just see those three things I mentioned above with regard to the flag:
1. Stage Prop
2. Accent to a beautiful woman’s form
3. Symbol of a blanket of protection used to shield the vulnerable from oppression
No malice or evil is being called down on the American Flag in any of them.
This should completely destroy any argument certain media outlets are trying to make that Michelle Manhart desecrated the American Flag. They say “She posted with it in Playboy. That’s vile desecration. The conservatives are nuts, their own women desecrated the American flag and they disregard it”.
I have to apologize folks, Michelle Manhart posed in playboy. I disagree with that. It’s the wrong things to do. She should not have contributed to a smut publication by posing in it (she posted in many photos most have nothing to do with the US flag and are just her nude in various poses).
BUT, in the photo with the flag, nobody I can find sees the flag being desecrated or disrespected or evil and malice being called down upon the flag by Michelle Manhart in the playboy photo.
The left lost on this one. I should not have had to go through the steps to prove them wrong because it should be obvious, but I know there are sincere people out there who just don’t know and have trouble thinking critically, but they are sincere, and this portion of the article was written for them. To help show them that listening to the press is very dangerous because it lies by nature of oversimplification and selective presentation of facts.
When the flag is used as a
1. Stage Prop
3. Symbol of Protection
It is not being desecrated or disrespected.
This brings us to the second purpose of this article, which is to show that judges have hi-jacked US LAW “Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 33 Code § 700 – Desecration of the flag of the United States; penalties”, and twisted it into something completely different than it was designed to do.
Point # 2 – Judicial Destruction of the Law
In this section I will show:
1. Who wrote US LAW “Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 33 Code § 700 – Desecration of the flag of the United States; penalties”
3. When it was written and what the law was intended to do
4. Who changed the law and turned it into something other than what it was written to do
5. When the change happened.
In 1968, America was in the middle of the Vietnam War. Many people on the left were hostile to Veterans when they returned from the war. The left mal-treated Vietnam Veterans, dishonored them, and viewed them as the villains of the Vietnam War. The left didn’t care that most people who fought in the war were drafted by the military and refusal to fight in the war when drafted was punishable by prison.
Perhaps because the left tends to embrace communist principals, they didn’t see a war to stop communism as being something that serves the interests of their ideology or world goals.
Nevertheless, the leftists radicals were getting out of hand with their mistreatment of veterans and public displays of hatred against the United States.
As a result, in 1968 the US House and Senate Passed US LAW “Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 33 Code § 700 – Desecration of the flag of the United States; penalties”, also known as the Federal Flag Desecration Law (18 U.S.C. 700 et seq.) in the wake of a highly publicized Central Park flag burning incident in protest of the Vietnam War. The federal law made it illegal to “knowingly” cast “contempt” upon “any flag of the United States by publicly mutilating, defacing, defiling, burning or trampling upon it.”
Read the paragraph directly above one more time if you need to because it means “the law was written to prevent people from publically protesting and disrespecting the flag during a protest”.
This has been the law of the land for over 20 years, which is basically a generation, until a court case known as Texas V. Johnson went to the Supreme Court.
The details of Texas V. Johnson can be viewed here but for convenience sake, I will summarize it below.
When the case got to the supreme court, the judges looked at the law, which is very specific, and they illegally changed the law.
Now before I tell you how they changed it, let me say that in the United States our founding documents declare that congress (house and senate) is the only entity allowed to make laws, the same founding documents declare that president must ratify the laws into existence with his signature, or stop the law with a veto signature.
The same founding documents state that the court can only uphold a law or declare a law unconstitutional.
Courts cannot make laws, even though US courts have and continue to illegally make laws without nobody standing up to and stopping them.
So what did the Supreme Court do with this 1989 decision?
In 1984, Gregory Johnson was a professed communist and a member of the communist youth brigade. Gregory publically professed hatred for the United State, along with his hatred for democracy and publically declared his desire to change American into a communist government system.
Even though he lived in America and derived every benefit possible under America’s freedom filled democratic and capitalist society, he still wanted the nation to fall and become a communist system, all while continuing to fully utilize America’s freedom and capitalism to the fullest extent that he could. You’d think if he hated it so much, he wouldn’t take its benefits or participate in the freedoms it provides. But his conflicted ridden and illogical thought process is not the subject of this article.
He was ultimately arrested and prosecuted for desecrating the American flag via Federal Flag Desecration Law (18 U.S.C. 700 et seq.).
The law was enforced exactly as it was written back in 1968, to stop protesters from publically disrespecting the American flag.
His appeals went through the system for several years and ultimately arrived at the US Supreme Court in 1989.
The outcome of that case was that 5 out of 9 justices on the US Supreme court chose declare that the law doesn’t apply to public protests. They declared that it only prevents flag desecration that is private or not part of a public protest meant to insult the united states. The law does not apply if you declare your hatred for America in the form of a public protest. You can burn the flag and insult America all you want if you do publically for the whole world to see, with the intent to embarrass the United States on the world stage.
Can you see what happened here? The Supreme Court replaced the current law with a totally different law and they did without the US House or Senate. The legislated from the bench.
Who are the 5 people responsible for destroying and perverting this law by illegally legislating from the bench of the Supreme Court?
• Justice Anthony M. Kennedy – Republican
• Justice Harry A. Blackmun – Republican
• Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. – Democrat
• Justice Thurgood Marshall – Democrat
• Justice Antonin Scalia – Republican
Who are the 4 people who voted to keep the status quo for a law that was in effect for over 20 years?
• Chief Justice William Rehnquist – Republican
• Justice John Paul Stevens – Republican
• Justice Byron R. White – Democrat
• Justice Sandra Day O’Connor – Republican
Now, I have issues with the decision itself because I believe the law is constitutional and it does not prevent speech. However, my opinion is irrelevant, if the court believed the law was unconstitutional and invalid, it had an obligation to declare the law as written unconstitutional, and once the declaration was made they were obligated remove it from US legal code.
But they didn’t do that. Instead they wrote a new law in an ad-hoc manner by means of their decision.
The court is not allowed to change the law in an ad-hoc manner, but that is exactly what they did.
By means of how they implemented their decision, they invalidated the law in an unofficial way, and they created a precedent via court decision that allows lawyers and judges to “interpret or twist the law based on any number of factors”.
The five justices who made this decision refused to focus their ruling strictly on the words written in the law itself and instead injected their own feelings and opinions into the decision.
Only two possible decisions should have been made here in keeping with our founding documents:
• Potential Decision # 1 – The law as it is written is constitutionally sound. The criminal making the appeal is all washed up. The law says explicitly you cannot destroy the flag in a public display of irreverence and you did. Case closed.
• Potential Decision # 2 – The law as it is written violates the part of the constitution that deals with free speech. The justices then must show the specific words in the constitution that say actions are the same as speech and the American flag being burnt and publically disrespected is allowed. Then after showing those specific words from the constitution, they must declare the law invalid and remove it from US Legal code.
Failure to show the exact words in the founding documents (Constitution, Bill of Rights, or Declaration of Independence) that says the act of flag burning is not an action but instead is really speech, or failure to show that words exist in our founding documents that specifically state it is acceptable for citizens to publically disrespect the American Flag, means that the law is not unconstitutional and cannot be struck down.
The judges know that there is nothing in the US Constitution or founding documents that declares actions and speech to the same thing. They also know that there is also nothing in the constitution that requires our nation to allow people to embarrass us on the national stage by publically insulting our flag. That is why they did not declare the law unconstitutional, and that is also why they did not uphold the law. The personal opinions of what should be permitted in our culture got in the way, and the 5 judges knew that in order to change the culture to more accurately reflect their vision of America, they must change the law. And that they did. They changed our culture to reflect their own world view and did not consider the law at all. Their actions disrespected America even more than urinating on the flag and burning it.
Even though the court was not legally allowed to arrive at the decision they arrived at, nobody stood up and stopped them.
The press betrayed America, and we also betrayed ourselves by allowing it to happen.
This article makes it very clear that the Supreme Court is completely out of control. They continue to legislate from the bench nonstop in every decision they make, and even today nobody is standing up to stop them. If this doesn’t change we will lose our nation, culture, and eventually we will lose our freedom. Our elected officials are the only people allowed to make laws.
Who elected the five judges to make the law about flag desecration and calling down evil on the flag being legal if part of a protest in public but being illegal if it’s not?
Honestly, there is no point of having a law that prevents private flag burning while allowing public flag burning and insult.
Who the hell would disrespect a flag in private?
People who disrespect the flag, want to put it in your face to sow division and display their hatred of America for the whole world to see.
Nobody will burn or insult a flag in private.
To think they would is asinine.
This moves us into the next point.
Point # 3 – Specific Objectives To Correct The Problems Exposed in this Article
The two problems we need to solve are:
• Problem # 1 – Judges operate outside of their authority by creating laws or changing laws from the bench.
• Problem # 2 – The left does not use logic in any of their arguments. They use emotion and in this argument, they falsely equivocate the flag when used as a prop/accent/blanket of protection to desecration.
Solving problem # 2 is easy. We have to keep fighting by publishing articles, making media appearances, communicating, blogging, Facebooking, tweeting, and doing all we can to craft proper and complete logic and fact based arguments to combat the left and win the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans. People are drawn to things that make sense and we need to keep up the fight so we prevent America from crumbling into the kind of society the left wants it to be.
Solving problem # 1 is hard. We need to find specific documents related to our nation’s founding that states the court is not allowed to create or change laws. If we cannot find such documents or the wording does not exist the way it needs to exists in any of our founding documents, then we need to push our lawmakers to make a law that requires the courts to only affirm laws or declare them unconstitutional. The law should also have punishment for any judge who oversteps their authority. The spirit of the law is to make sure only elected officials in the house and senate can make the laws while making sure that unelected judges cannot. If we do not do this now, by the time this problem directly affects us it will be too late.
We have now finally arrived at the final purpose of this article and that is to ask YOU the reader to provide your thoughts and recommendations on how, specifically, we as a society can implement the corrective actions listed above.
What will you do and how will you do it?