Ilivetolearn's Blog

June 17, 2006

Flag Day comes and goes

Filed under: lyrics,Spain — ilivetolearn @ 9:49 am

Sometimes when I read news from the US I can’t believe how trivial it is. Our governmental bodies waste time debating whether translations of the anthem should be legal–what about American Sign Language?– and whether torching the flag should be legal–wasn’t that settled in Texas v. Johnson (1989), when the Supreme Court upheld the decision that burning the flag is a form of free speech?

The government here has an annual slugfest called the Debate on the State of the Nation, which lasts two days and is broadcast in its entirety on radio and TV. I was listening to it and reading about it, and to my knowledge the flag was never once mentioned (of course, discussion of anthem lyrics is moot). Flag-flying by private individuals is not common here, but I’ve seen two versions of the flag in official places…one with the country’s coat of arms in the exact center and one with it offset to the left. It is also acceptable to fly a blank flag—nothing but the stripes.

At the World Cup the fans had two flags—the one with the crest centered and one that I thought was only a touristy thing, with a huge black bull silhouette superimposed on the stripes—although at the Real Madrid games the Ultra-Sur skinhead crowd waves flags with the eagle symbolic of Franco’s rule in the center. They are protected by the Spanish Constitution: one has the right “to express and disseminate freely thoughts ideas and opinions by word, in writing or any other means of reproduction.” No one is talking about amending the Constitution with regard to who’s allowed to get married or set the flag alight…but then, it was adopted only 28 years ago. It needs a chance to be the law of the land for a while before people start messing with it. And no one has to guess what the framers were thinking on any particular issue…most of them are still alive.

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