That’s William Ayers above standing on an American flag. Ayers is acquainted with Barack Obama — and I don’t feel that Obama should be responsible for the civil protest behavior of his acquaintances.
While I am not a fan of Ayers or his tactics and social views, I also think that Ayers should have the right to express himself and his views in this nation — including desecrating the flag.
But we’ve entered a weird vortex of flag obsessions — with criticism of Barack Obama for not wearing a flag lapel pin. We as a nation are sounding more and more like the old Soviet Union with antics like this.
But “flag respect” does matter for many. It’s a fact of American political life.
John McCain had a tough time with flag issues in South Carolina in his 2000 presidential bid when he condemned the Confederate flag flying over South Carolina’s statehouse and couldn’t bring attention back to the American flag. I thought at the time that he should have said that when he was in the Hanoi Hilton, the only flag he cared about was looking out and seeing the American flag.
My business cards for The Washington Note feature an American flag — and I made sure that the flag was highlighted in a website that I run some of my higher end foreign policy work through titled “America’s Purpose.”
I won’t forfeit the flag to the likes of John Bolton, Frank Gaffney, David Addington, Richard Cheney, George W. Bush, Katherine Harris, Mario Diaz-Balart, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, Alberto Gonzalez, John Yoo, and many others who have metaphorically trampled the flag and who have undermined the essence and spirit of what America is and should be.
I wish William Ayers would not either — and I hope that Barack Obama agrees with me.
— Steve Clemons