Saturday, July 4, 2009

Flag in Protest - OK or Not?

By Robert L. Gisel

One man using the American flag upside flown down sparked confusion over the proprietary use of the Freedoms of Speech and Expression in such a quiet protest. Using the timing of the 4th of July Parade to bring a heighten social conscience regarding the refusal to grant his newly established Italian restaurant a liquor license is the catalyst of controversy.

Those thinking it simply a sign of disrespect have have lost touch with heritage in not knowing that the flag flown upside down is a universal distress signal. The man's livelihood and $200.000 on the line, being threatened by government interference, is understandably distressing. The blatant rights violation by the Police in this matter only emphasise the point; ignorance that trammels rights only requires even more protest. In this case, it appears, also a civil rights lawsuit.

It is a text book Public Relations response to use protest PR when normal channels break down and won't function. Fortunately we have a free and democratic nation where speaking one's mind is still permissible. In fact, this will remain so only as long as free and cogent discourse is considered a part of the fabric of freedom.

When the Flag, disposition of, becomes more important that the life of individuals the message of Rights and Freedoms, of which the Flag is only a symbol, has been submerged in ignorance. Perhaps scores of peoples signalling their own personal distresses around the nation would unite the nation in a greater social consciousness.

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