Symbols mean something

Backlash shouldn't surprise teacher who stomped on flag

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Scott Compton meant to teach his students that symbols don’t mean anything.

He did just the opposite.

The English teacher at Chapin High School northwest of Columbia, S.C., reportedly stomped on an American flag in front of three classes recently in an apparent attempt to show that it was just a piece of cloth not worthy of reverence.

The lesson, as it turns out, was for him: An angry backlash from parents and veterans, which included national media attention, led the school district to yank him from the classroom.

And it proved him completely wrong: Symbols do mean something.

In the case of the American flag, it represents a country most of us love with all our hearts. For veterans, it represents something they’ve spent and often risked their lives defending.

To stomp on it or burn it or otherwise deface it is a slap in the face to anyone who loves this country.

But forget the disrespect the teacher’s actions showed toward the country and those of us who love it dearly. For him not to understand that symbols do, indeed, have deep and abiding meaning indicates a severe lack of judgment. That alone gives you pause as to whether he should be educating our young.

It’s not just a matter of patriotism or nationalism, either. Symbolism is an important part of almost every aspect of our lives, from religion to sports to nearly everything that brings human beings to common cause.

Colors can be deeply symbolic. We don’t need to remind you how important school colors are. And in recent decades, massive political revolutions in Eastern Europe came to be known by their symbols – the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, for example. Flowers are powerfully symbolic, as you’ll be reminded of again Feb. 14. Different colors of roses even mean different things. Roses also were used in the incredibly nonviolent Rose Revolution in the Republic of Georgia.

Consider, too, how integral the colored ribbon has become to the American consciousness: Pink ones, for instance, symbolize those who are banded together in the fight against breast cancer.

Some things have inherent meaning. But symbols have meaning because we imbue them with it. To stomp on that symbol is, in effect, to stomp on the thing it represents – particularly when you’re talking about someone’s country or deeply held belief system.

That’s the real lesson here, one we hope is not lost on the students, even if it is on the teacher.

To disrespect someone else’s symbol is to disrespect them.

In short, when you’re spoiling for a fight, don’t be surprised when you get one.

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harley_52
23210
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harley_52 01/17/13 - 12:07 pm
4
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Whether The USA Is "Superior"....

...could be a matter of petty semantic disagreement.

That it is now (or has at times been) "greater" than other nations is a matter of fact.

dahreese
4717
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dahreese 01/17/13 - 02:23 pm
1
5
The intent of the editorial
Unpublished

The intent of the editorial writer (where DO these slanted editorials come from?) is to discredit anyone for any reason to step on, burn, or tear up the American flag.

I am a four year veteran of the USAF and a retired teacher.

Saddly, a lot of the "patriotism" we are fed is a lot of claptrap.

It is perfectly within the "free speech" right for an individual to destroy the American flag.

In February, 2001, the Taliban ordered the destruction of a Buddha statue created in the 3rd century.

Yet the response of Buddhist leaders was, "[The statue may be destroyed but Buddhism is still here]."

Intelligent American patriots should learn a lesson from the Buddhist.

So it is, with the American flag and the nation it represents.

harley_52
23210
Points
harley_52 01/17/13 - 03:03 pm
4
0
"It is perfectly within the "free speech" right...

... for an individual to destroy the American flag."

True, but the legality is NOT the issue.

The issue is whether or not it is wise, or socially acceptable at the time and place, to exercise that legal right and the likely consequences of a choice thereto.

You have the legal right to berate your child in front of his/her classmates. You have the legal right to stand at a street corner along Sand Bar Ferry Road at 3:00 AM waving a handful of $100 bills. You have a legal right to pour yourself a tall, cool glass of anti-freeze and chug-a-lug it.

Simply because you have the legal right to do something, does not make it wise, or acceptable, to do so.

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 01/17/13 - 03:49 pm
0
3
I simply look at the ultimate

I simply look at the ultimate sacrifice that soldiers give on behalf of the country. I just can't buy that they die b/c they believe America is better and superior. They died b/c they loved it.

harley_52
23210
Points
harley_52 01/17/13 - 04:01 pm
5
0
" I just can't buy that they die b/c they believe...

.... America is better and superior. They died b/c they loved it."

Well, personally, I think it's NOT an either/or proposition.

I haven't died for my Country yet, but if I had it would have been because I loved my Country AND I believed it to be the best Country on the face of the earth.

nofanofobama
6820
Points
nofanofobama 01/17/13 - 04:13 pm
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WONDERING HOW ANYONE KNOWS

WONDERING HOW ANYONE KNOWS THE INTENT OF ANOTHER.. for the editorial clearly states its not just about patriotism.but a callous destruction of symbols that others hold in respect...but the real issue is about a teacher abusing his postion in a class room. again there was no recourse for the kids in that class without fear of reprisal. his rights ended when they infringed upon their rights..so go ahead burn your flag in the front yard see if anyone really cares...but don't trample on the rights of others who are a captive audience in a class room especially in a class room..then again his rights ended in the situation..and sir i do not believe for one minute that most public schools view patriotism as an important triat to be taught any more, just like morality..and i would not try to deliberately go out of my way to disrespect what someone holds dearly..with our freedoms comes responsibility..something the left doesnt remember..

Humble Angela
41338
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Humble Angela 01/17/13 - 04:30 pm
4
1
I always thought it was
Unpublished

I always thought it was respectful when my teachers and professors, and even my parents corrected my grammar.....apparently not everyone feels this way.

myfather15
55706
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myfather15 01/17/13 - 04:40 pm
3
0
Stop right there!!

You can't take seriously a person who would listen to and quote a mad man like George Bernard Shaw.

George Bernard Shaw wanted individual human beings to JUSTIFY their existence to the government, and if they couldn't justify that they were putting in MORE than they were taking out, the government should do away with them (i.e. kill them). This man was a psychopath, at best.

He was a "dedictated socialist" and believe in eugenics. Having said that under his plan of eugenics, he himself might not have been born. He was VERY similar to Hitler in that he wanted to use eugenics to form a perfect breed of human being.

Quote from George Bernard Shaw: "You must all know half a dozen people at least who are no use in this world, who are more trouble than they are worth. Just put them there and say Sir, or Madam, now will you be kind enough to justify your existence? If you can't justify your existence, if you're not pulling your weight in the social boat, if you're not producing as much as you consume or perhaps a little more, then, clearly, we cannot use the organizations of our society for the purpose of keeping you alive, because your life does not benefit us and it can't be of very much use to yourself."

Does this sound like a reasonable person who ANY human being should want to quote? If so, WOW!!

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 01/17/13 - 05:00 pm
5
1
I've said it many times......

I've said it many times and have been attacked for it also, but I will say it again; the hard leftists of this world CLAIM to be champions of civil rights. But they ARE NOT. The only civil rights they are concerned about are those of the people that AGREE with them. Evidence in their attacks on such black politicians as Tim Scott.

The FAR left of the world would GLADLY "do away" with those people who disagree with their vision of the world and how it should be ran. Just like Hitler, they would kill millions, with a smile on their face. The Weather Underground in the 70's, went as far as to admit this very thing. The FBI infiltrated them in the 70's and has them on record saying that under their plan "25 million" people would have to be "done away with". When asked to explain it, they said those that wouldn't conform to their rules, would HAVE to be done away with.

They are ruthless!! They will lie, cover up, scheme, plan and do ANYTHING to obtain their goals. They CAN'T let their true agenda be known, thats why they attempt to discredit anyone who exposes that agenda. They will call them crazy, conspiracy nuts, etc. They actually do believe the same as George Benard Shaw. They believe those that disagree with them are inferior human beings. That's why they so adamently accuse them of being ignorant, uneducated simpletons. Those idiots that cling to their Bibles and guns. It's just a shame that MOST people don't believe this. They don't want to believe there are truly evil people in this world. We live in this land of the free and most WANT to believe that everyone wants it to stay this way. But that just isn't reality.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/17/13 - 05:31 pm
1
3
I'm just thinking of it as

I'm just thinking of it as loftier with more virtue. Nothing wrong with loving or thinking your better. CHeers

Bizkit
31267
Points
Bizkit 01/17/13 - 08:57 pm
2
0
We absolutely have a right to

We absolutely have a right to stomp, burn, even defecate on a flag, bible, Koran, Buddha statue, etc. However it doesn't mean there won't be repercussions from such actions. Freedom has to tolerate the things we may find offensive because others may find you intolerable. Course a person has a right to stomp on it and I would have a right to protest and disagree. Just like a black man has the right to yell I hate cracker and kill all the whitey babies as a white man to yell I hate blacks and kill all "n" word (as long as they don't act violently and just rhetoric). It's disgusting but freedom has to tolerate that. This notion of a hate crime will kill freedom. That is where religions come it-to change a bunch of animals into caring, loving human beings-because there is just one race-the human one.

KSL
129074
Points
KSL 01/17/13 - 10:27 pm
3
0
I object to teachers imposing

I object to teachers imposing their own political views on students. That is not their place to do!

grouse
1635
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grouse 01/17/13 - 10:38 pm
0
0
"While school district
Unpublished

"While school district officials have stated that the teacher’s actions did not appear to be politically motivated, and that he only intended to inspire his students to write an opinion paper on the subject of flag burning..." The political correctness from The Chronicle is surprising and failure to see the big picture is not..

Bizkit
31267
Points
Bizkit 01/18/13 - 12:02 am
0
0
Well in a school place you

Well in a school place you are absolutely correct. It would be like a science teacher refusing to teach evolution and teach creationism "because it is their free speech to speak their mind". Or teach them Islam and indoctrinate them into a religion because two constitutional rights-free speech and religion. Yikes!

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