November 26, 2008
Jeff Russo says the decline of the textile industry left his family business, Greenville Industrial Rubber & Gasket Co. Inc., with about $1.5 million less in annual revenue.
So he can't understand why the federal government is now spending billions of dollars of taxpayer money to bail out financial-services firms and, possibly, domestic auto makers.
Russo was so upset by the government bailouts that he started flying the U.S. flag upside down outside of his business on Poinsett Highway as a protest. Russo said he got no objections for about a month. Then a veteran complained, and a local TV station aired a report about his gesture, and he got a slew of e-mails and voice mails.
Tuesday, Russo said he loves his country and turned the flag upside down -- a sign of distress -- because he's concerned for its future.
"The government never once bailed the textile industry out. You're talking hundreds of thousands of jobs lost in this area, including my company. We lost a million and a half dollars a year," Russo said.
"You know what the government told us? Re-educate yourself. Go after new markets. They didn't give us a bailout. I'm trying to represent every small businessman in the country. We don't get bailouts. We're responsible for our business, our employees. The buck stops here. They never have given us a bailout, never will give us a bailout, and we are the backbone of this country.
"By doing this I think I am a patriot," Russo said. "I love this country, and I don't want to see it go down the tubes."
From The Flag Code:
(a) 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.
In searching for the article, I found other examples of upside down flags:
- "discontent about not having a VA hospital in the Rio Grande Valley" [here]
- "to show they didn't agree with the way the presidential election was conducted" [here]
- "unhappy with the results of the presidential election and the general state of the U.S." [here]
And these are all just from this month!
Some veterans have apparently complained in each case, saying it's disrespectful to the flag and not the distress signal that was intended in the flag code.
What do you think?
Personally, if I had heard any of the other three stories I bulletted, I wouldn't have bothered to write this post. But that first story really intrigues me.
Posted by: kannie at November 26, 2008 11:29 AM (iT8dn)
Posted by: Leofwende at December 01, 2008 10:40 AM (jAos7)
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