Tuesday, January 3, 2012

For the Record: A flag burner's perspective

For the Record offers perspectives on issues from Charlotte and elsewhere. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Observer's editorial board. Readers can send For the Record submissions, which appear regularly in the print Observer, to opinion@charlotteobserver.com.


The writer is from Charlotte:

My name is Jason Bargert. Myself and three others set fire to the United States flag on the lawn at 600 E. Trade Street in front of the Occupy Charlotte camp. Though I have been openly involved with Occupy Charlotte, I did not provide notice or acquire approval for my actions, as is the policy of Occupy Charlotte. In this protest we acted as individuals, not as occupiers.

The symbolism of our display has been a long and heated debate for nearly a century. Over the last few days I have seen my own thoughts, feelings, and motives discussed on a large scale without my participation. I would like the opportunity to tell you what we did and what it meant to me.

First I would like to express that I intended no disrespect to the individual enlisted men, women, and veterans living and deceased. These people have entered service to the people of their nation and take a vow to protect their loved ones and countrymen from all enemies, foreign and domestic. I hold our veterans in the highest regard knowing that their motives were not always the same as those who send them into battle.

The flag symbolizes many different things to many different people. To the people who defend our homeland and stand united in service to the safety of our people - the flag that I burned was not a symbol of your efforts and convictions or a display of disrespect to you. The flag I burned was an effigy to the aggressive colonialism, destructive corporate policy, and utter negligence that the United States government has shown for the people's welfare and well-being on a global scale.

These behaviors are widely agreed to be present and unacceptable. We as a nation seem to only be divided on the source and solution to these problems that have come to represent our government worldwide. It is a government that proudly touts itself to be "For the people, by the people" as its continuing credo. This statement implicates every American with responsibility for our government's actions. This hypocrisy is not why men and women enlist, and I am very aware of that. I stand respectfully in solidarity with Occupy Marines, Army, Police, and all the people who have put their lives, pensions, badges, businesses, families and personal well being on the line to support the cause of true freedom at home and abroad.

I will apologize for the difficulty that my wife, family, and Occupy Charlotte must endure in the shockwave of my actions. My home and social life are in shambles, and I am aware that no one is responsible for this but myself. I only hope that they will show understanding and compassion while I too must endure the consequences of my actions.

I do, however, without remorse set fire to the hypocrisy, negligence, puppetry of our system, and adherence to flags and nationalism in the place of rational governance and compassion. The burning of the flag (to me) is an act that asserts the right of the people over the government. America is ruled by the people, not the government. I believe that it is our patriotic duty at this juncture to make that assertion. Flag burning is a patriotic act carried out by people who care deeply enough about our freedoms to challenge directly the government when it becomes a threat to the people. Patriots who love America burn flags.

Some will say the flag symbolizes everything good about America, and it should be respected and cherished as we strive to gain back its proper meaning. I respect that ideal. On the other hand, some would argue that it is symbolic of the corruption and greed within the system and no longer represents our people. We must understand that these are emotions and ideas that vary from person to person. The symbolism of the flag is very broad and only defined by the individuals who use it to make a statement.

My personal feelings regarding Occupy Charlotte, like most, are in constant evolution. I have received an outpouring of support from other occupiers, occupations, and individuals who understand the symbolism of my action. The local movement was unified in their contempt for the event that took place. They were, on the other hand, divided on the issue of whether or not those who participated should be banned. Most who seemed resolved to my removal had been working with the Charlotte City Council and local church groups to build a relationship in order to stop or postpone the ordinance that will remove the encampment. The encampment itself voted not to expel me and the those who demanded my expulsion blocked, and walked. This group also included the Occupy Charlotte legal and financial team.

I feel that Occupy Charlotte has walked on eggshells to not inflame the city council. This is because we knew they have had this ordinance drafted and awaiting a vote. I feel that the local movement has been sedated by this knowledge from nearly our beginning. The city council has postured against the movement by drafting this ordinance in the first place. They have shown that they will, with full knowledge of the facts, welcome a corrupt corporation with an endless list of human rights violations into our community, and pay their moving expenses and taxes (Chiquita). To placate this council in order to keep the camp on grounds is not a victory. I hope that Occupy Charlotte will move away from a focus on public image and welcome an era of action for the new year.

I have been encouraged to by many others to say many things within this statement to ensure "damage control" is handled properly. I can only speak my true feelings and live in good standing with my own convictions. I am hurt that my free speech is not so welcome as others. My statement was inflammatory, but it was protected and free. I feel that the initial reaction of many was fueled mostly by emotion and not understanding. I know that public outreach is important to the Occupy movement. I know it is striving to be all-inclusive and many feel my actions pushed more people away than those who have already openly backed out. I too feel pushed away. I too have shed tears for this action. I would like to thank Occupy Charlotte for all the things I have learned while participating, all the (remaining few) friendships forged, and insight I have gained in my experience with this movement locally.

I am very grateful for the movement's decision not to ban me. I am, however, saddened both by the divide my actions have sealed and the lack of support I have received locally and at home. This being considered, I respectfully, and with overwhelming sadness resign my direct participation with Occupy Charlotte. I remain open to dialogue with its participants and wish them the very best this new year. This is by no means a resignation from my duties as an activist and active participant in the cause of freedom.


87 comments:

TexGirl said...

Forget it. Most normal people know that the "occupiers" are a bunch of loony, lazy losers who want something for nothing. No apologies or explanations will change what Americans clearly see happening with the "occupy" movement. You are a laughingstock and an embarassment.

Ken M said...

Its time for you and the entire occupy movement to go and try to occupy some city in China or even Cuba. See how long you last.

Rob said...

Did you purchase your flag from a local seamstress or from a corporation you are so against.

sanitizer said...

Quote"Flag burning is a patriotic act carried out by people who care deeply enough about our freedoms to challenge directly the government when it becomes a threat to the people (NDAA). Patriots who love America burn flags."
Really? And here I assumed it was mainly contrived crowds of Iranian stooges and other islamic radicals.

kantstanzya said...

A great loss to the Occupy movement.

Jason Bargert was obviously one of their most brilliant "thinkers".

sanitizer said...

You did it because you wanted attention, you made a statement to the observer.... because you wanted attention. Now you do not want the attention? I can imagine your family does not want the attention. Your movement does not want the attention. You explained yourself, you did not apologize. Now please fade back into your obscurity.

bigtraps said...

Blah Blah Blah. LOOZER

BiBr said...

What a sad and sorry individual...No wonder your life is in shambles. PS - lose the hairdye...

Wiley Coyote said...

I see there isn't the same freedom of expression from the Charlotte Disturber after deleting my post.

So here, I'll leave a blank in place if the word that I used two "z's" in:

In the interest of freedom of expression, I am taking a virtual _____ on your Occupy tent.

Does that work Disturber censors?

Ugh said...

For some reason, your photo looks EXACTLY like the picture in my head as I read your statement.

Burn your money the next time you want to scream out against corporate greed. At least that will cost you something more than your dignity, which was lost LONG ago.

Johnny said...

A thoughtful and well written piece. I have yet to see anything this well written and intelligent come from the average Tea Party member.

These Occupy people are making me hopeful that this country may one day move away from the profits first, America is #1 mentality that plagues us.

Gooch said...

I'd much rather hear a fat woman fart than a grown man cry ! This is all hogwash ! He is a communist wantingt eh downfall of the american Govt. plain and simple, these bums have no morals, just idiots writing speeches for them . I aint buying a word he says.

Wiley Coyote said...

Johnny...

There are plenty of socialist countries that would love to have a fresh influx of your money, since you're all about giving yours away. Pick one.

If you have any in the first place.

Skippy said...

Just the kind of response we should expect from a punk freshly indoctrinated. Go ahead and wrap your arms around these useful idiots Johnny, the Tea party repects this country and respects it's greatness, just the exact opposite is coming out of these useful idiots. The OWS movment is nothing but a charade blown out of porportion by the sycohpants in the media that have ignored the rampant anti seminism, drug use, rapes, molestation, murders, private property damage and it's open contempt for the laws of our land. They are in effect liberals and today we learned the head of the DNC will not even meet with the OWS useful idiots. You have been played like the fools you are, now go take a shower, get a job and grow up.

Devil Dog 1775 said...

"The flag I burned was an effigy to the aggressive colonialism, destructive corporate policy, and utter negligence that the United States government has shown for the people's welfare and well-being on a global scale."

The flag you burned stands for liberty. The American Flag is more than just a piece of cloth. It’s the symbol of an entire nation; a reminder that even though there are distinct states, America is one nation.

Along with the national anthem, our national flag is supremely and specially iconic of the United States. It is understood that the honor and integrity of our nation are captured by this flag, and as the history of our country shows, our national flag is uniquely capable of enlisting the aid of citizens, giving rise to sentiments of nationalism, and evoking the supreme sacrifice of death, in every respect, the American flag commands, not merely our respect, but our allegiance.

Son, the flag you burned meant nothing to you because you have not, nor will you ever give to your country what others gave to ensure your freedom.

To me The American flag is more than just a piece of cloth, it is part of every true Americans soul. It is something I have, and will defend till the day I take my last breath. The American flag is more than just a Symbol, it is a way of life.

You would do good to get your head out of your arse and become a member of our great nation instead of sucking on it's teat!

Ohmstede said...

This gentleman forgot that the fine woman and men of the US Military give their lives to protect us. The symbol of the United States is the very flag they burned, which ticks people off to no end. If you want to protest the government, burn a picture of Congress, the White House, ect. Show the government. Everyone will understand that statement. The US Flag is a cherished items for those who served and gave their life in that service.

TEX Greenfield said...

You are a complete Loser. Please take a bath. Shame on you for burning our flag.

Get a job too buddy.

nohuiam said...

Regardless of the mistakes made by the activists in the Occupy Movement, their message that our liberty is in peril is very real. NDAA, TSA, The Patriot Act and SOPA are all attacks against our freedoms and liberty. Sure, bash this man all you want. Bash Occupy. Bash me. Bash, bash, bash... But please try looking at the chess pieces on the board. The government has been making many moves while you're eyes were elsewhere. Your freedoms are under attack. Seach SOPA and NDAA. Understand what is going on and then continue your bashing at least with some power. Your rants at this point are weak. Y'all are bashing with a pillow. If you learn what Occupy and this guy is trying to scream at you, then you will be capable of bashing them with a sledgehammer (if you have a valid contradicting point).

nohuiam said...

If the flag stands for liberty and you are out to defend the flag, that means you are also out to defend liberty. Why are you protectors of the flag not aghast at what your government is trying to do to your precious liberty? Why don't you bash your government with the same fervor you bash this man? They are doing much worse than burning your flag, they're burning your liberty.

MacGyvr said...

You know what? I thought about reading the article, but I'm not going to. All I need to know is that you burned the American flag. I don't care about your reasoning. I don't care about your motives. I don't care what you have to say. In my eyes, you no longer exist. You are not a part of this country...you are simply a criminal (whether the act is illegal or not). Nothing you have to say should ever matter to another soul again.

Wiley Coyote said...

nohuiam...

yes our freedoms are under attack - by people outside the US who want to kill you and the rest of us, just like those who wish to eradicate Jews off the face of this planet. So if I have to endure 2 minutes of inconvenience going through airport security, so be it.

According to your profile, you're still trying to find yourself...best keep looking.

Cams Daddy said...

If your wife hasn't already, she should leave you and take her hair colorwith her so you'll be forced to buy your own.

E. Mortimer Haynes said...

The main problem is that most people who would BENEFIT from this movement have NO IDEA what the movement is really about. And that's because the movement has not really connected itself to a POSITIVE concept most Americans would understand. There is no link to traditional American values.

I have MY take on what concept should be the focus of the Occupy Movement. Feel free to read it at
http://www.whogotyourback.blogspot.com/

Skippy said...

To the last poster, these nitwits didn't even know why there were protesting when this first started and the last thing they are concerned about is the lack of internet freedom that you just tried spinning. They are redistributionists first and patriots last. And if you are so concerned about "freedom" or the lack there of, just wait until Obamacare kicks in. And this is the same OWS that has wrapped their arms the anti military Code Pink and Cindy Sheehan and who has openly threatened politicians and our police. Nice try, not really.

Skippy said...

My post was meant for nuhuiam

CLTMarketer said...

I hope this guy's "plight" is a lesson to all those that contemplate burning an American Flag in Charlotte during the DNC this year. You know it will happen, and I just hope that the emotional, financial, and physical toll on those individuals is as severe or worse than what this disillusioned punk has endured. "Flag burning is a patriotic act" - if you're an Iranian Terrorist. You belong in a desolate cave somewhere in Pakistan.

nohuiam said...

I know who I am, Wiley. That profile was created years ago. The Occupier's ARE against SOPA, Skippy, and most DID know why they were protesting. The media made sure to interview the ones who had no clue why they were there. The media did the spinning. That's what the media does. And back to Wiley, like I said, learn about SOPA, and NDAA and what it means to your liberty and see who is burning what.

heavymetal said...

I say let them all go to Venezuela, where Hugo has openly welcomed so many protesters in the past. Funny, though... they never stay there to live.

Mr. Bargert? Your say you meant no disrespect to your fellow Americans who wear the uniforms of our military, but what of the disrespect you and your equally clueless brethren have shown to the rest of us?

A true patriot would never, ever burn the flag. Period.
You see, to me that action is disturbing enough when I see someone in another country doing it. But another American? Disgusting. American by birth, despicable by nature.

You have wrapped your actions in words feigning patriotism purportedly because of the abhorrence of the ideal of capitalism, politics and big corporations.
In doing so, you have alienated a large segment of (former) supporters and are now, apparently, experiencing backlash for your behavior.
Good. You deserve every bit of that.

I do pity your family and friends who have to suffer because of your actions, for they did nothing wrong.

Here's your thought for the day:
Newton's 3rd law of motion is clear-- "To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction."
Deal with it.

Jason said...

Got this off of Coyote Blog:

Activist: A person who believes so strongly that a problem needs to be remedied that he/she dedicates substantial time to … getting other people to fix the problem.

Quit being a whiner, son. Go try to change the system by doing something instead of being a useless sack of crap.

nohuiam said...

To heavymetal, I don't believe anyone with any sense is protesting because, as you put it, the "abhorrence of the ideal of capitalism, politics and big corporations." It is the abhorrence of the massive amount of corruption currently destroying our system. The rich aren't under attack. The rich who have used their power to steal from the American people are the ones being called out.

Doug said...

He needed 11 paragraphs to basically say the following?

"I am a moron"
"I burned the American Flag to get attention"
"I really don't know what I am Occupying."

heavymetal said...

Nohuiam? You mean people like George Soros? Michael Moore? People like that?
Some of those 1%-ers that you abhor, even though they're obviously on your side?
Those the ones?

sumday said...

his action totally stupid, people reaction to it just as stupid. It's a flag nothing more. Some colors on some fabric made into a concept in order to rally the sheep. The flag is nothing but a symbol- your reactions to this remind me of Islamic people reaction to burning the Koran- equally as stupid. PS I served and the flag is still just colors and fabric to me, but I realize to the sheep they actually believe there is some magical power in those colors and fabric. People serve and die for what they believe in not for some piece of colorful fabric.

nohuiam said...

Are you trying to discount what I type by trying to side me with Michael Moore? I never mentioned the man. He has nothing to do with what I'm talking about. You are only interested in discounting what I say. READ about SOPA. READ about the NDAA. Form your own conclusions. Fk Michael Moore.

anon as well said...

1. Take a shave.
2. Stop using hair dye.
3. Find a comb.
4. Remove metal from your face.

You'll find the world and you will get along much much better,

Counterspace said...

Well said. We must not worship a symbol and rather be dedicated to liberation and peace. All of the negative comments point to the lack of understanding by a great portion of the population. Freedom must mean freedom for all people, not simply individuals. The freedom represented by the American flag has not been obtained. Burning the flag is an attempt to make those who think we are a liberated people realize how mythological the American story always was. True liberation will only come once all humans are dedicated to freedom and peace.

nohuiam said...

@ heavymetal I also never mentioned the 1%. I think it's a stupid, misleading catch-phrase. That's a word you chose to use. Everything you said came from you're own mind and nothing from what I said. How do you confront me using subjects initiated by you? I know how. It's because you like to discount people in a public forum. You love to be right. Be right, I don't care, but please also read up on SOPA, and the NDAA and be right about that. Be right all day long.

Wiley Coyote said...

nohuiam...

Just how are the "rich" stealing from us?

You do realize if you confiscated all of the wealth from the top 1%, it wouldn't make a dent in our deficit?

What about the 51% who pay NO Federal taxes?

J said...

""Flag burning is a patriotic act carried out by people who care deeply enough about our freedoms to challenge directly the government when it becomes a threat to the people (NDAA). Patriots who love America burn flags."

Absolutely nothing could be more false than this statement.

Burning a country's flag means you oppose everything about that country. Nothing more, nothing less. You hate America. It's that simple.

There are plenty of things I hate about America in 2012 - mainly, the sense of entitlement that so many have, to believe that absolutely anything a person wants should be given to him/her by the government. I'm a relic from a time when it was believed that a real man took care of his own - that the welfare and success of himself and his family are HIS responsibility alone - not others, not mama and daddy, and absolutely not the government. Obviously there may be an occasion where family, friends, or a government program might be called upon to address an emergency, but the primary responsibility is on the man himself.

The Occupy movement is mainly composed of people who believe everything in life should be given freely, mainly by the government. The movement has lasted this long because there are a large number of citizens out there that feel the same way. It's a mindset that I cannot stand.

However, I pledge allegience to that American flag, even though the country it represents is, in my opinion, headed in the wrong direction.

So I'm not buying your lame explanation, dude. If you burn the flag, you hate the country. Now if you want to burn a Russian flag, let me know when and I'll happily join you at the Occupy Charlotte spot.

John said...

" The flag I burned was an effigy to the aggressive colonialism, destructive corporate policy, and utter negligence that the United States government has shown for the people's welfare and well-being on a global scale."

Are you REALLY THAT STUPID?

Geez, can we ask for our money back from public education?

averageguy said...

Wa Wa Wa! Quit whining! You did it cause you wanted attention. You got attention, just turned out to be you werent the hero you thought you were. The 99% think the (less than) 1% occupiers are a bunch of idoits. The working part of the 99% think you are a bunch of lazy freeloader and the nonworking part of the 99% think you are just a bunch of attention grabbing jerks who are trying to get their hand out. Shut up, go home, get a job, and support the family you embarressed!

heavymetal said...

Nohuiam?
First of all, I never said YOU said any of that, I was merely pointing out that things you said were aligning with some of the things that were purported by the "Occupiers."
But people like Soros are helping to currupt our system as much as anyone the OWS people are villifying. And people like Moore make "movies" to try to spin public opinion.
You don't like Moore good for you.

Contrary to your narcissistic beliefs, I don't like to just run people down in public forums. And I am well-read on SOPA and NDAA.

We can agree to disagree. But I guarantee I won't burn a flag over it.

Wiley Coyote said...

Counterspace said..

Freedom must mean freedom for all people, not simply individuals.

That has to be one of the more ridiculous statements I've heard.

First of all, if all people have freedom as you want (and we Americans do), then individuals WILL have it. It's the same thing.

Perhaps you should go back and study your history, as the original flag of the United States was a symbol of the freedom of 13 colonies from England.

averageguy said...

Waa Waa Waa! Quit wihining you looser. You wanted attention and you got it. You thought you would be some kind of hero, but it turned out the 99% thought you are an idoit! What you miss is that the 99% think the occupiers are looser idoits. The working part of the 99% think the occupiers are a bunch of lazy slobs just looking for attention and hand outs and the non working part of the 99% think the occupiers are a bunch of attention grabbing slobs looking for a hand out and stealing from the non working who truly are having a hard time in life. Shut up, go home, get a job, and support the family you just embarressed!

Counterspace said...

@Wiley Coyete

You are right, I meant to say some individuals. Americans do not have political freedom because most of us are disenfranchised from the system and representatives clearly do not represent our interests. We also do not have economic freedom. You can look at income disparity, as well as many other factors, such as access to capital.

As you point out, the revolutionary war won the colonies autonomy, but hardly obtained liberation for the people.

nohuiam said...

I didn't say "the rich." My point was clear that it was just some of the rich.

If you don't know any of the many ways some of the corrupt people in power have stolen from the American people then start with this film to educate yourself. http://vimeo.com/25491676

I would think there's hundreds of ways I could list if I had hundreds of hours to commit to such things. Why don't we start with the most blatant way and work our way down?

Wiley Coyote said...

Counterspace,

Just what is it you're being denied?

Give me the top 3, if you have 3.

I gotta hear this.

arejaye said...

It's amazing and sad to read some of the comments made for and about a group of people(the Occupy movement) as being a bunch of hippies and unpatriotic Americans. They may not have shaven today, but they endured cold and less than luxurious encampments, to try to make a point to government, that it is, and has been lost in as far as "for the people, by the people". Amazing that so many people have become sheep and believe that whatever politicians and Washington DC dole out is proper, and reflective of the general American dream. That dream is also lost. Look around. Corporations own or rule almost every aspect of your lives, and even the politicians are either owned or bought and paid for by the same big business and banks. The sad majority of people will sit back and watch the news and complain, or sit at the kitchen table writing checks to pay bills that you now can't afford and face losing your home, and all that's done is whine. Then some of these very same people will complain and disrespect the ones who DO speak loudly and not hide their faces behind the guise of "I'm a patriot" and dare not speak against this country. Yes, the US is a great place still, but it's paramount that people DO get involved in things like the Ocuppy movement, to assure and insure that it REMAINS "for the people, by the people", not corporations, not politicians, not our military, but each one of us. OUR liberties are at risk when we are afraid or too lazy to sometimes challenge the status quo. Liberty is one of the cornerstones of this country, freedom of speech is another, and as many posts here suggest, it's a laughable or prime opportunity to bash other Americans that are standing up for YOUR rights, YOUR freedoms, and YOUR liberties. When the public fails to ever question or act against the government, you end up with repressive governments like in China or North Korea. You might not like the Occupy movement, because most of you haven't taken the time to understand it, or have the balls to dare question anything. Don't be sheep, and at least support the Ocuppy movement, because it's not just their liberties, and justice they're trying to protect, but YOURS, OURS, as Americans. Stop being lazyboy wanna be "patriots", and at the least, support people that are TRYING to support YOU, your neighbors, your friends, and family from politics, and corporations that have both grown too big and already out of control. When you're afraid to question or confront our government, you allow it to contol you. Personally, I like to think for myself, and I constantly question things. I just don't like being a sheep. If YOU like being a sheep, go ahead and follow the flock off a cliff because you're afraid of breaking away and thinking for yourself. The status quo is great...just ask any Chinese, or Iranian or North Korean

Vito Andolini said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vito Andolini said...

Keep fighting dude, until the other idiot commenters realize their lives are controlled by a government that is controlled by corporations that dictate how/what they should think, the automotons will continue to hate the movement. once they wake up they'll realize what an opportunity they have/had to make change.

nohuiam said...

@heavymetal I would never burn an American Flag, other to dispose of it properly, because whatever reason I could possibly dream up to burn one to make a statement would be lost because of the act. I understand this guy wanted to make a point. I understand he wants to love the country for which this flag stands. I think he used very poor judgement in how he tried to make his point.

I like your ironic way of insulting me once again to prove your superiority. My "narcissistic beliefs?" That is some passive aggressive way of you saying "what you say doesn't matter, I'm right, you're wrong." It's disrespectful, but I guess in your mind you win. Congratulations.

So, if you're read up on SOPA and NDAA, then why are you upset about a flag burning? It is only a symbol of liberty being burned. SOPA and NDAA are true liberties being burned. Shouldn't they take precedence?

Wiley Coyote said...

Don't be sheep, and at least support the Ocuppy movement, because it's not just their liberties, and justice they're trying to protect, but YOURS, OURS, as Americans.....

Interesting.... Since the Democrat Party and all those wealthy liberals who make wads of money from these same corporations initially supported the Occupy movement in droves. Now they have backed off.

So as many have stated here, the Occupy people have no clue who it is they're "fighting"....

Counterspace said...

Democracy is probably the most important thing I am denied. Then maybe an education which doesn't put me thousands of dollars in debt. And then probably a sense of solidarity with other people.

Maybe a couple of these complaints were not what you were expecting. Life shouldn't be about getting by day by day. It should be about building communities we want to live in and be a part of. A society where people actually want to participate in decision making. Right now, almost everyone is disconnected from others and society. Our form of government is a symptom of this problem. Because of our alienation, people take advantage of the system, hence all the problems we deal with today.

Freedom is not simply being able to do what you want and have what you want. It is a state of being, where people actively take part in society building. Our economic and political system actively individuates us. Making it impossible to work in solidarity with each other to build a peaceful and free world.

Reality Check said...

Counterspace:

Democracy is what you're denied? No sir, you are a member of an under-whelming minority viewpoint who feels that democracy should be overthrown because your little opinions are not taken seriously, nor should they be. Democracy is the system by which we, the informed public, choose to keep your self-serving interests at bay.

What entitles you to a free university education? What makes you the first generation who "deserves" a free education? The generations that have come before you have earned their way, paid their dues, and done so without feeling entitled to live on the taxpayer dime.

Solidarity with other people? And you wonder where the "crazy hippie" jokes come from. You go have your friendships with your protester friends, then. Just do us a favor: Will one of you actually buy a house and get the heck off public property and return the city to those people that actually pay taxes and support it?

"A society where people actually want to participate in decision making." I see you're willing to make the decisions, but what I don't see is how you plan on supporting your wonderful decisions. You want something for nothing, but no mention of how to pay for it all.

Freedom is also about building the economy you would prefer, actively producing as a member of society, not an entitled "taker." Your talk of peace, solidarity, and the other words you've apparently made up - they show that you're not informed enough to be making decisions for other people.

heavymetal said...

Nohuiam?
I'm not insulting you to prove my superiority. Actually, I wasn't insulting you at all.
You are trying to make a metaphoric parallel between SOPA, NDAA and this action.

In my opinion, that's a stretch.

AUDIOMIND said...

Anyone who is older than 30 knows that America isn't the same "great" nation that we all grew up in. Slowly and surely liberties and freedom have been chipped away for security, political correctness, govco power and plain ole indoctrinated ignorance.

ThaQueenCity said...

So the Charlotte Observer thought it a good idea to let this little terrorist tell his story?

Why am I NOT surprised AT ALL!

AUDIOMIND said...

Make that 'should' know....

jholmes44194419 said...

When you grow up, you will be embarrassed at what you did.

nohuiam said...

SOPA doesn't get front page treatment. NDAA doesn't get front page treatment.

It's no stretch to draw a parallel. Government's attack on our liberties is why this kid burned the flag. His act got attention, made the front page and his reasons behind it are to get people to understand his anger at his/our government.

The flag stands for liberty and those lost fighting for it. His act was to draw attention to liberties being attacked. He picked a bad way to express himself but it has already gotten more attention from The Charlotte Observer in one day than NDAA or SOPA has in the last several months.

Counterspace said...

Reality Check,

Your hostile response does nothing but try to silence me, and you will have succeeded for this is my last post on Charlotte Observer. The hostility so many people display on comment boards is mind-numbing.

I am not hippie, tho I am not sure why it is an insult to say someone is. I do go to grad school and plan on paying my loans. I don't think my generation is the first who should have free higher education. I just think in a democratic society, information, knowledge and the skills for learning should be freely accessible to those who desire them.

People actively participating in society (which involves making decisions collectively, you know, democracy) does not exclude them from working and contributing to the economy.

The collective wealth of society is more than enough to pay for what free human beings should be entitled to in a democratic society.

Why are so many people hostile to someone who burned a flag? Even after he is apologetic and understanding to those who have attacked him. This attitude people have against anything confronting their lifestyles is even more angry and hostile then I would ever imagined. It would seem solidarity or a collective goal to build peaceful communities is nearly impossible.

Everyone has just as many complaints about society as I do, yet you sit here and attack others, and continue the horrible and destructive cycle which has gotten us here. Do you really think any politician will get us out of the problems we are in? These problems are systemic and will only be stopped if we fix them ourselves.

Gadsden1791 said...

The occupy "movement" has gone on the record as wanting the overthrow of our country and capitalism. They have called for beheading bankers , assaulted police, and defecated on police cars. Now this piece of human debris is burning the flag that many have given their lives to defend.
They often try to compare themselves to the Tea Party, but now we can all see that they are polar opposites. The occupy "movement" burns the flag while the Tea Party salutes the flag.

Alannc44 said...

Which is worse: stir up political awareness by burning a flag, or fly one over your car dealership in the rain, snow and darkness in order to sell more cars?

heavymetal said...

His act was protected free speech. I don't agree with it, but I get it.
But he's no kid, no wayward youth exhibiting some kind of indiscretion. He's 28. He acted to bring the spotlight on himself & Occupy Charlotte. It worked.

It just backfired on him. It's simply Newton's 3rd law of motion. Or for some of the others around here, it's Karma.

bobcat99 said...

Thank you, Mr. Bargert, for taking the time to write your thoughtful letter. I do not agree with how you expressed yourself, but I agree with your reasons for doing so and I support your right to take action in this way. If you read these comments, do not take them personally. Some folks are honestly disagreeing with you. But there is a small, vocal contingent of rabidly right wing, bigoted, and mean-spirited people who populate the Observer's comments sections on a regular basis. They respond to almost every story with suspicion and meanness. I hope you and your family will recover soon and I hope this incident does not dissuade you from taking action against the machine!

blackspeak said...

YOU GO BOY!!!! OCCUPY! OCCUPY!!! OCCUPY!!!!

markeyd said...

It is time for everyone to just stop all the nonsense. He made a clear mistake for what he thought were noble reasons. I may not agree with him or the occupy movement but I will die, in the American tradition, defending his freedom to chose.

Who did he hurt? Only himself! He didn't hurt me or you, only maybe his dignity and his families but those are risks many have taken in America to take a stand. Humanity is not perfect, America is not perfect and God knows Charlotte government does not govern by the will of its people. The example of an uptown arena, the west side of town and on and on. However much of American democracy was born here as also interstate banking which enabled the south to climb out of the shadow of the north and excel. No, that is not perfect either but society is about mankind and mankind is seldom perfect. The difference here is that this America where mistakes can be made, we learn, we grow, we compromise to the greater good and we celebrate diversity. This is our strength and what separates us from the rest of the world for the most part.

We forget our proud traditions of the Fred Alexander's, Mayor pro tem in the 70's when the south struggled as to integration. The busing integration that was not accompanied by violence here. Our proud Greek tradition of inclusion into our southern society and we are better for all the groups that have made Charlotte their home including Yankees and their bagels.

Our heritage is the Grahams, the Alexander's and even Humpy Wheeler and NASCAR. We are the home of fabulous healthcare and innovation, religious freedom, opportunity, a large middle class and the right to sign a declaration of independence 14 months before our countrymen.

As a teen I was so far left that I came right as an adult and a parent.

Greed is inherent as to humanity whether individually or by corporations but it is a result of a sinful nature, period. It is our job as individuals to help each other and the less fortunate and not businesses job to do so the the failure is 'US' as individuals.

So stop the blame and lets all get off our collective duffs and help each other before it is too late.

Finally young man, your life is yours to succeed or to ruin, the choice is yours and your alone. Being young is about growth and learning. That cannon in front of the old City Hall use to sit in front of the YMCA on East Morehead Street. What does that cannon symbolize but Mecklenburg citizens defense of their personal freedoms. In order to gain there is always sacrifice. I guarantee that one day this will be but a footnote in your life but you will have learned as to the cost of freedom and to that end I salute your resolve but not your action.

Wiley Coyote said...

Some folks are honestly disagreeing with you. But there is a small, vocal contingent of rabidly right wing, bigoted, and mean-spirited people who populate the Observer's comments sections on a regular basis. They respond to almost every story with suspicion and meanness....

...and the Democrat, liberal sheeple would of course never see the same disgusting vitriol from other Democrat sheeple posted on the Observer....

only right-wing, bigoted people...

sgb17 said...

I'm ashamed that this idiot is from my generation. COMPLETELY ashamed.

Skippy said...

markeyd said...

There has been nine homocides at OWS camps and that is not counting numerous rapes that have or have not gone unreported, not to mention the millons of dollars in private property damage.

You need to grow as much as this punk does.

nancy59 said...

I have no respect for anyone who burns the flag nor for anyone who chooses to come to this country and fly the American flag upside down. It is time for the occupiers to clean up their mess and go home. I really do not think anyone is listening to you anymore, you are yesterdays news. I would like to know how all of you are paying bills and being productive for yourself and your families since it seems none of you have a job.

TrickyRicky said...

At Nohuiam, Is it Occupy Wall Street or Occupy Government. See if your movement was Occupy Government then what you are saying would make some sense. However, your movement began as a protest against the wealthiest 1% remember. If you are protesting the government and it over reaching then here is a great idea. Join the Tea Party that is what we have been doing now for a few years without any of the criminal activities. WE respect the flag and uphold it as a symbol that the government belongs to the people and governs at our consent. There is a contract that even defines the consent we give them, its called the Constitution and contains a list of Rights. Unfortunately we have been asleep at the wheel while the government has doled out freebies and entitlements that have all but bankrupted our great nation in an effort to win votes from those who tend to associate themselves with the same things that the OWS crowd stands for. The OWS movement has only recently changed its message to try to improve its image. At its core it stands for socialism and the redistribution of wealth through governmental controls. Tea Party stands for individual and commerical liberty where those willing to work hard and smart can build a life for themselves and their families without the interference of government.

Dialectic Voyeur said...

One thing is clear about Jason Bargert's piece and the comments that follow: He's a bit more lucid. Of course, the act of burning the flag is, via a Supreme Court ruling, a constitutional freedom of speeach expression. A better protest, in my view, would be, instead of burning the flag, to wash it.

Russell said...

A better move would be to fly the flag upside down.

Gene said...

Come see me Jason & we will "talk" about it. I am a Vietnam veteran. Punk.

jeffwhl said...

As a vet of 7 tours in the ME, I just wanted to give another perspective. I'll admit, I did not read all the comments. I did read your opinion twice.

If you have never been to a military funeral service, please due so. There are quite alot in this area. Before the service is complete, the US flag is presented to the next of kin. Believe it or not, this action can "bring it home" for the family.

Personnely, I've no problem with your action and respect your willigness to retort to the critics.

Big Geek Daddy said...

Patriots burn flags in countries where the people are oppressed and they are fighting for their Freedom.

We already fought that war over 200 years ago. You live in the most Free country there is and you disrespect that freedom by burning the flag.

nohuiam said...

@ Tricky Ricky, I'm not an "occupier," but they never "changed their message." They have always been for getting the corruption and corporate money out of congress. Anyway, I'm no occupier, but your summary of them is pretty twisted. Wall Street IS our government at this point. They're calling the shots. America has been bought and paid for. Occupying Wall Street was an attempt at cutting off the head of the snake and the message was clouded by the media, not the occupiers.

@heavymetal, Regardless, grown man or kid, he has a right to get a second chance after making a mistake. He has a lot of passion about this country and what he believes in. He's out trying to get people to listen. It backfired, so I'm gonna let it go. Live and let live.

NCdirtdigger said...

Actions have consequences.

panther14 said...

Sorry hippie dude jason,but you saying you did not intend to harm people who served our country but instead meant to show your dislike for government,is like shooting someone and saying they were not your intended target.You pull the trigger,and you accept the consequences for EVERYTHING around you that is harmed in your path.You burn a flag,you hurt ALL THE PEOPLE who died and served to protect it.Burning some dog doodoo on someone's front porch might have been forgiven,but burning the AMERICAN FLAG is a tattoo on your forehead that WILL NEVER go away!!

heavymetal said...

Nohuiam?

A second chance?
A man with true remorse for his actions instead of a back-handed apology is someone who deserves a second chance.
Bargert's passion is displaced, and as you said earlier, "he picked a bad way to express himself."
He needs to just deal with the fallout he so blatently deserves.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who wishes he'd just wrapped himself in Old Glory before he set it afire.

74Doug said...

I respect your action. A friend who was a decorated veteran of the Battle of the Bulge told me once that nationalism and worshiping the flag can be a dangerous kind of nationalism, something he witnessed in Germany. He told me that those who would burn the flag do not offend him; that they, like Jefferson said " neither break my leg nor pick my pocket." I hate that this damaged the occupy movement but admire your courage.

AtRightAngles said...

The act of burning the flag was in poor judgenment..though I agree with much of what you said. I support OWS but this gesture sets the movement back. The symbolic nature of the act is lost on most, especially some of the morons who have posted here.

Most Americans..the "99 cent-ers" have a bleak future and America treads a dark path forward. Most Americans have no idea what is happening to them...OWS needs to fill in the blanks for folks who care about their future and their country's future..That is where the movement comes in..everything else is a distraction

bobcat99 said...

Mr. W. Coyote. You found my post. I knew you couldn't resist. Like Grandaddy used to say...a hit dog hollers.

skeptical said...

Burning a flag is pretty stupid from a personal security standpoint.

But I am proud to see people do it once in a while. I am probably totally unlike Jason in looks, living and probably most politics, but I am proud of him for this reason:

Nothing reminds us more of our freedom to say what we feel. Nothing shines a brighter light on the freedoms American fought for.

And when people wrap themselves up in a flag to show they are patriotic or use the American flag to sell cars or politics, I am disgusted. It is mindless and shallow. If you want to do something patriotic, make a sacrifice.

Jason made a bigger sacrifice than he intended, but in his way, he is a patriot, and I salute him.

silicon28 said...

Some of these comments are so "patriotic" *cough, cough* that they just make me want to puke. So this person expressed his right to free speech in a way you disagree with? Big deal: Quit making him out to be the latest incarnation of Tokyo Rose or something. (And I'll be most of the flag wavers here will understand the analogy; some younger folks will scratch their heads.)

It's a real pickle you know? Having the rights you all demand for yourselves mean allowing those same rights to someone with green hair that chooses to burn a flag to make his point. God Bless America - this is what it means.

FrankWIll said...

And the Observer obsession with "Occupy" continues. Wonder why? Hmmm..

Search how many times stories involving Solyndra come up vs. Occupy stories.

Hard hitting "News" there guys - You are on the liberal wing of the liberal wing of the DNC. Amazing you still have customers.