Flag Desecration Rag

They tried to pass an amendment in the U.S. Congress
Seems these thugs have some grievance to redress
They said we all must pledge allegiance, ’cause that is what they need
We may not desecrate their symbol of hypocrisy and greed

But the flag is just a rag (2x)
Just a worn-out, tired, dirty, blood-soaked rag

Pledge allegiance to the symbol, well how about the deed
Allegiance to democracy or blind authority
It’s a flag of war from L.A. to Vietnam
It desecrates itself each time the Air Force drops a bomb


Like they say in Mexico, “Yankee Go Home”
Uncle Sam and his club thinks the world’s there to roam
And to make the point well they do the traditional thing
Light a match and let freedom ring


So burn it, stomp it, tear it up or at least hang it upside-down
Tie it to your foot and drag it on the ground
Let everybody know how many lives are gone
‘Cause of idiots who said, “My country right or wrong”


“The Flag Desecration Rag” first appeared on the CD, Live at Club Passim in 2000.

To quote Howard Zinn, “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.” Patriotism, someone else said, is the last resort of a scoundrel. The general media climate drummed into our heads day in and day out in the US is one of blind, flag-waving obedience. But still, there was dissent against this orientation. Then, back in the 1990’s, they passed laws criminalizing the desecration of this symbol, the US flag. This symbol that represents, for some, the brave fallen soldiers of democracy. But for others, the flag represents all of the millions killed in American war crimes — from the Native Americans killed with smallpox-infested blankets to the millions of civilians killed in the carpet-bombing of the cities of Japan, Germany, Korea, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and the hundreds of millions forced to live under torture states in Latin America and around the world, funded and trained by the CIA, such as Pinochet’s Chile and Samoza’s Nicaragua.