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Photos: Republicans open headquarters on Jackson Street

By Howard B. Owens

Genesee County Republicans gathered at 5 Jackson St. today to officially open their local campaign headquarters.

More than 100 people showed up, according to Legislator Jay Grasso, who added that many new faces were in the crowd.

Above, Steve Hawley, left and County Clerk Don Read with a member of the party.

Jeff Allen

I'm sure the lady meant no disrespect but it is one of my pet peeves...United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1 — The Flag. §8. Respect for flag. d. The flag should never be used as wearing apparel.

Oct 9, 2010, 11:05pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

But is it a flag that has been converted into clothing, or cloth weaved to look like a flag and patterned into clothing?

Isn't there a difference between taking a flag -- an item that started out with the sole intent of being a flag -- vs. making an original article of clothing that suggests a flag?

Oct 9, 2010, 11:42pm Permalink
Gary Spencer

I agree with Howard, and it is a pet peeve of mine as well, but she is wearing a jacket that happens to be designed from the flag, she isn't actually wearing the flag as a garment, maybe it's a matter of semantics, but I don't think so.

Oct 10, 2010, 12:35am Permalink
Elizabeth Downie

Let me just say this to start... I am not affiliated with any political party.

Instead of criticizing the choice of clothing the woman is wearing, shouldn't we just be happy that she is there? A LOT of Americans do not vote or even pay attention to politics. I think we should actually be commending her for showing up to help the campaign of the person she supports... no matter who it is or what clothing she is wearing. Personally, I'm just happy to see that the woman decided to have her voice heard and that she is proud to be an American - and proud to show it!

Oct 10, 2010, 11:18am Permalink
Loretta Gamin

There are lots of stores that sell clothing of all sorts with the stars and stripes on them. I also know this lady personally and in no way would she EVER have any disrespect for the United States, in fact, she would support it! I am proud of our flag and proud to know the lady that is wearing that jacket!!

Oct 10, 2010, 11:42am Permalink
Jeff Allen

I knew this would start a something, and I by no means meant to infer anything about the woman's patriotism. It is simply a matter of not many people understanding the purpose, intent, and details of the US flag code. The flag code is very specific and meticulous in it's detail about the way the flag and it's representation are to be treated, displayed, and worn. On the simple statement I quoted it could be argued as semantics but taking the whole code and how intricate it is in it's detail, it is clear that it is the sanctity of the symbol that is being protected. I too used to wear a tie of the flag but for me it only took personally listening to the stories of veterans who would see trite displays of the flag and lament the sacrifices that were made to protect what the flag stands for. I would challenge everyone to read the entire flag code and see if you still come away with same feelings.

If that much detail went into the how the flag AND it's symbolism is to be used, then I beleive the wearing of the flag, symbolic or actual, is what the adopters intended to address.
I know that people who wear these things likely do so with an intense sense of pride and patriotism, but there is a reason so much went in to crafting the code, and it is my opinion that wearing garments whose main content is that of the flag is precisely what the code addresses.
A pet peeve is just that, something that I own and am responsible for. You are free to disagree, but if you read more into my statement or take it out of context, I'll respond. I get just as concerned when I see flag flying in inclement weather, or a tattered flag left out day after day, or one touching the ground, or disposed of in an unintentional but disrespectful manner.
The flag is meant to be displayed not worn, except by those and in the manner expressly outlined in the code.
As we move farther and farther away from the foundations of this great country, it is even more disconcerting to see the symbol of that greatness diminished.

Oct 10, 2010, 5:35pm Permalink
Frank Bartholomew

I've only seen an actual US Flag worn once, it was 1980, and the US mens hockey team had defeated the mighty Soviets in the 1980 Winter Olympics. Jim Craig, the US goaltender, was draped in the flag as he skated around the ice. I would be willing to bet no one was offended.

Oct 10, 2010, 7:27pm Permalink
Gary Spencer

You are wrong Frank, I WAS offended, and that is the type of disrespect that the "flag code" speaks about, taking an actual flag and using it as a garment.....
but in the grand scheme of things....I admire the lady's patriotism and I am glad she was at the opening of the republican party headquarters, I had planned on going, then got busy and forgot......but how important is it really????

Oct 10, 2010, 9:17pm Permalink
Jeff Allen

Craig was caught up in a moment but nonetheless disrespecting the flag by his actions. Another moment that made me cringe was when the US troops overtook Baghdad and before toppling the statue of Sadaam Hussein, the American soldier wiped the US flag in the face of the statue. It made for great "history in the moment" TV but was a blatent disregard for proper use of the flag. And that was from military personnel. It shows that, in my opinion, most US citizens A.) don't know a flag code exists or B.) don't know what is in it.

Oct 11, 2010, 8:17am Permalink
Peter O'Brien

Or C. Don't care about the flag code since it can be burned in effigy. You want respect to be shown to the flag. Don't let it be burned.

Oct 11, 2010, 8:32am Permalink
Frank Bartholomew

Gary,Jeff, out of the millions who witnessed the"miricle on ice", you are the first I have heard of being offended by Craigs actions,probably not hockey fans either.
I thought it was an act of patriotism, and for the moment,felt a huge sense of national pride, I still get goose bumps when I see footage of the miricle.

Oct 11, 2010, 8:45am Permalink
Frank Bartholomew

Think back to the mid and late 60's, remember what college students were doing with our flag then?
I still believe Craig was also sending a message to Iran, that the USA can and will,find a way to defeat even the most powerful foe.
I'll bet there aren't many codes, or rules pertaining to our flag, that the good old "Un" American Civil Liberties Union can't challenge and beat in the courts.
I believe they authored legal flag burning.In my opinion, every justice on the supreme court voting in favor, should have been charged with treason.

Oct 11, 2010, 9:35am Permalink
Dave Olsen

Treason for not arresting someone who burns a flag? Very slippery slope, Frank. Freedom of expression means the freedom to be a jerk and disrespect the flag or any icon; just as much as means the right to post your opinions on a web site. We can't pick and choose who gets which rights. That's what the flag means to me.

Oct 11, 2010, 10:44am Permalink
Frank Bartholomew

I'm sorry Dave, but freedom of expression is one thing, burning a flag is freedom of treason, and a clear sign of anarchy,and there is a huge difference between an opinion and burning a flag. Do you honestly believe our forefathers ever thought freedom of expression would entail ones right to legally burn the American flag? This is why some of us are so disenchanted with this country, we stand pat and watch the symbols of this nation, its freedoms, its people, eroding before our very eyes, and the highest court in the land agrees.
Like I've said before, change is on the horizon, and it may not be pretty. It's very frustrating to watch the majority of the people who are horrified by actions of idiots, and have the courts rule "freedom of expression". It is a recipe for civil unrest, and when the real Americans decide to take back this country, and stand up for our flag,which to me, is the symbol, and representative of all America stands for, all hell will break loose.aka; anarchy.
In my own opinion, burning the flag is an act of war, and anyone who does so should be charged, prosecuted, and shot.I am so sick of the courts pandering to our enemies, get the hell out if you don't like it here.

Oct 11, 2010, 12:04pm Permalink
Dave Olsen

Frank:You asked "Do you honestly believe our forefathers ever thought freedom of expression would entail ones right to legally burn the American flag?" Yes.

Why are you sorry for your opinion? Is it because you know deep down you're wrong?

What would be so bad about anarchy. The common association with the term anarchy is chaos. What it means literally, according to Webster's is: absence of governing authority. Government, in my view, has become so corrupt and dysfunctional that we may be better off without it.
Think about it.

Oct 11, 2010, 12:07pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

I think the Founders clearly understood that actions are speech.

The Boston Tea Party springs to mind.

The basis of the current flag design was approved in 1777.

It would be another 120 years before there was any sort of desecration statute in any state.

The flag code cited by Jeff wasn't passed until 1942.

The idea of making a fetish of the flag is something akin to idolatry.

Our Stars and Stripes can be viewed as a glorious symbol of freedom and the values of our Constitution. But it is a substitute for neither.

Oct 11, 2010, 12:27pm Permalink
Jeremiah Pedro


If you're inclined to believe that anarchy is preferable to our current form of government, then I invite you to relocate to Somalia. that is as close to true anarchy as you will find in the world today. I offer that invitation to anyone that would suggest that anarchy is a viable way of life. In my opinion, anarchy is nothing more than a trendy catch phrase for uninformed and misguided youth to rally around.

Oct 11, 2010, 1:17pm Permalink
Dave Olsen

I think the way of life we have enjoyed here in America would prepare us better for no government than did totalitarianism prepare other countries such as Somalia. It's kind of like when I went off to college, the kids whose parents controlled all aspects of their lives, had a hard time making themselves go to bed at a reasonable hour, eat healthy, not use alcohol or drugs excessively, pick up after themselves, etc etc. They were used to having decisions made for them, so in the absence of authority, they went wild. Same goes for Somalia and even in Iraq to a lesser degree. I think we Americans would do a better job, Frank is right in that it'd be ugly for a while, but we'd get it together, I believe.

Anyway, it's just conversation, I don't think it's going to happen.

For the record, I'm not uninformed or misguided, thank you. I've never been trendy (tragically hip maybe, if you have to pin a label on me) and I haven't been considered a youth for a long ,long time.

Oct 11, 2010, 2:01pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

"The word "anarchy" is often used by non-anarchists as a pejorative term, intended to connote a lack of control and a negatively chaotic environment. However, anarchists still argue that anarchy does not imply nihilism, anomie, or the total absence of rules, but rather an anti-statist society that is based on the spontaneous order of free individuals in autonomous communities."

Oct 11, 2010, 2:37pm Permalink
Jeremiah Pedro

That is exactly what the vast majority of Somalia is these days. There is a central government, but it lacks the power to actually control the whole country. The warlords still control the vast majority of the country. Islamic rebels have increasingly tried to gain control of as much of the country as they can in order to impose Islamic laws over it. But for the most part the country is the closest thing you can find to a text book definition of anarchy. The country is not with out laws or rules. The individual warlords exert their rules and laws over the territory that they and their warriors control.


I would not insinuate that you were a uninformed or misguided youth, I was just putting it out there that it is a trendy catchphrase for people that are generally rebellious youths that are trying to shock people.

Oct 11, 2010, 5:18pm Permalink
Frank Bartholomew

Dave, deep down,my opinion isn't wrong, thats how I feel.
I used sorry instead of saying, I absolutely disagree with you, which means nothing, you have your opinion, I have mine.
Our flag may be a symbol of government to some, but to me, it is a symbol of our nation, its people, and a way of life that is slowly losing ground to a bunch of nut cases who can't stand our government, and take it out on our flag. I could care less if radical retards in other countries burn the flag, but if you burn our flag on American soil, maybe you should join the retards, in their country, of course. Don't burn their flag though, you may get lynched, beheaded, or shot on sight.
I would think civil war would be an accurate description of the anarchy I was thinking of, I don't care what webster says, once you allow enough anti -American behavior, sooner or later, people are gonna get pissed and take matters into their own hands.

Oct 11, 2010, 5:31pm Permalink

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