Thirty-one years ago, two weeks before Independence Day, the Supreme Court issued an opinion that unsettled a nation still largely recognizable as America.
By a 5-4 vote, the Court held in the case Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989), that the First Amendment protects “expressive conduct” in the form of burning the U.S. flag. The decision mandated the repeal of laws of 48 states protecting the flag – and the response was volcanic. In the immediate aftermath of the Court’s decision, there was general disbelief and outrage across the land, along with puzzlement that the mere destruction of a revered national symbol, an act with no greater communicative value that insulting and antagonizing others, could be imbued by the Court with such lofty meaning. Moreover, even as the public fumed, a kind of arms race of depravity developed in the following months, with all-so-clever artists conjuring up ever more creative ways to desecrate Old Glory. The most notorious of these efforts was an installation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago calling upon visitors to trample on the flag in response to “racist oppression” – back then, even then “mainstream media” felt this was a bit excessive.
At the time, the Dissolutionist shared in the general sense of revulsion. Like all Americans then, the Dissolutionist had been raised with a profound love of country, and that love manifested itself in the ferocious defense of its most venerated symbol.
And so, as the racialist and leftist mobs today burn and otherwise desecrate the 50-star flag (and so many other symbols of a once-great nation), my present feelings come to me as a bit of a surprise. Not rage, but indifference with a touch of melancholy. On reflection, this is merely the culmination of some 30 years in which America has receded ever further into memory, with a grotesque caricature arising in its place. I may have been born under the 50-star flag, and carried a rifle for that flag, but it is now the flag of a foreign land, a pretender that perversely rejects and condemns American heritage while formally retaining the USA’s appellation.
I recognize that that I am in a difference place than many of my residual American brethren. Among many fellow vets, one hears thinly-disguised rage as our symbols are defiled. Recalling the Johnson flag-burning case, one has to ask why the justices, even those in dissent, did not seem to reflect on a very basic question: How can a society hold together when competing groups are empowered to desecrate each other’s venerated objects? Obviously, as USA 2020 continues to unravel, that is a bit of a leading question. Specifically, while the racialists and the Left generally have been granted carte blache to defile all that is held sacred to others, we all know that the rules are different when it comes to totems such as, for example, MLK statutes or rainbow flags; once one of those is desecrated, the hypocrisy of the mob howl may finally prove too much for the patience of a battered public, with sanctimonious rage finally sparking a righteous response. Despite my weariness, I will gladly join the fray – not in service to the USA, but to my brother Americans.
William Ellery, Flag Day, June 14, 2020.
William Ellery may be reached through the Dissolution’s main email address: [email protected]. William reminds readers that June 14 is not only Flag Day, but it is also the anniversary of the founding of the Continental Army.
For its part, the Dissolutionist reminds readers that the 13-star Betsy Ross Flag is its symbol.
The Dissolutionist welcomes guest submissions so long as they support the movement’s objectives, discussed on the home page. Submissions should be written in the voice of the Dissolutionist, as we are all brethren. All pieces will be published under pseudonyms to protect authors from retribution in this increasingly deranged and dictatorial society.