With so many protests going on these days it’s hard to keep track of them all, say nothing of cover every one that happens. But a story crossed the transom today which I believe provides a look at how murky the entire Social Justice Warrior movement has become, with various indignant parties having to compete for space in the 24 Hour Protest Media coverage lineup. Are you protesting police shootings? Dylann Roof? The Confederate Flag? Income inequality? They all seem to blur together some days and the symbolism being employed appears to be skipping over the lines to the point where it’s impossible to sort out what the demands of various groups are even if you thought you could meet them.
One protest at the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in Tampa, Florida, led by a group with the #BlackLivesMatter banner, went in precisely that direction when setting fire to a Confederate Flag simply wasn’t good enough. They apparently had to burn up Old Glory as well. (Tampa Bay Times)
Surrounded by nearly 50 activists, Crystal Wilson steadied a small American flag in one hand, and a lighter in the other.
“The American flag holds as much hatred, as much oppression, as much blood as the Confederate flag,” said Wilson, 25.
She sparked the lighter, guiding the small flame to the red, white and blue cloth. It caught fire, and burned away the flecks of fabric.
Another activist raised two smaller flags to the fire, and a third raised a full-sized American flag to the conflagration.
Together, the emblems of freedom withered into tiny black bits on the sidewalk.
While chanting, “Black Lives Matter” they also burned some Confederate flags as well. One might forgive the latter, since the media is all hyped up on a steroid shot of anti-confederacy these days and the message shows up on everyone’s phone. But how did we get back to the United States flag being a symbol of racism and hatred all of a sudden? Could it be that they’ve been hearing the complaints of counter-protesters reminding them that a lot of people in the North had slaves too? I’m guessing that’s probably not it.
But in a rather amusing reveal – at least in terms of losing the message – even the organizers didn’t seem to know what was going on by the time the Red, White and & Blue was turning to blackened cinders. (From 10 News Tampa)
“I’m not sure what message that sent. We just organized the event to make sure people came here and had an outlet to express themselves. We didn’t plan every detail,” said Alekos Zambrano of Raices en Tampa. He organized the protest that brought out dozens.
After burning the American flag, the group found a confederate flag and also burned that. Members of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement spoke to the crowd saying the American flag and the confederate flag are one in the same. Jesse Nevel called the American flag “a piece of s—.”
My, my… there’s a group that really knows how to make friends, influence people and get folks on their side. If Raices en Tampa was going to organize a peaceful protest for a just cause, perhaps they could have coordinated the messaging a bit better. No matter what your complaints of the day may be, setting fire to the flag of the United States of America isn’t going to win over more than a handful of anarchists… you’re just going to drive everyone further away from your cause.
Yes, it’s true that ever since the decision in Texas v. Johnson it has been established that we can’t pass a law against burning the flag. But that doesn’t mean we have to like it. And it also doesn’t mean that we have to have any sympathy for or show support to those who do it. Bad choice, guys. You burned the wrong flag.
There’s a video of the “patriotic protest” at the 10 News Tampa article linked above. I didn’t embed it here because there was no way to disable autoplay on it, but it’s fairly short if you want to click through and watch.