So, someone in the Occupy Memphis movement flew the U.S. flag upside down.
Feelings of horror ensue, including words from service people (with details of their service and their decorations) who were offended by the display, one of whom declared, "Over 1 million men died protecting that flag." (Emphasis mine, for, well, obvious reasons.)
I never can understand how people are more disturbed by the "mistreatment" of a flag than of people. Like, "We're not bothered by the fact that people feel compelled to protest to draw attention to the very real social and economic injustice that is characteristic of this country, but they flew the flag upside down? The Horror!"
Another of the interviewees equated this to a declaration of war. I think one of the main claims of people involved in this movement is that war has already been declared and has been viciously waged against the majority of us for sometime now.
And then the caption contains this:
The United States Code, Title 36, Chapter 10, Section 176, under "respect for flag," reads: "The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property." It is a fair assumption that the protesters camped on Main Street are not facing "extreme danger to life." They are in no danger of an attack from enemy forces or even at risk of being run over by a trolley. They are just messing with the system.
First, I'd argue that many people, pressed to the wall and on the verge of economic ruin, might feel that there is an "extreme danger" and that they are being attacked. Also, are you really expecting dissenters to follow the carefully laid out rules? To be as heavily invested in your national symbols when they are telling you that your nation is not what it claims to be?
As to that last insightful sentence I quoted: Why yes, yes, they are trying to mess with "the system."
I don't think they see that as a bad thing.