Being from the United States, you can imagine my reaction when, from my window at Trinity, I saw a group of antiwar protesters waving American flags with swastikas on them. I was outraged. Comparing an entire nation to the Third Reich, effectively comparing all Americans to Nazis, takes things way too far.

I am a complete free speech advocate, and I agree that it was within their “rights” to deface the flag. Their actions, however, were still offensive, reckless, and juvenile.The American flag represents much more than the current Bush administration. It represented my grandfather as he stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-day, and it will continue to represent my home, my family, and many of my friends for the rest of my life. Its defacement, especially when done just to amuse a small group of disgruntled youth looking for the latest fad-protest, is personally insulting.

I am undecided in my views on a potential war with Iraq. While I am not a Bush fan, I don’t despise him either. I do, however, firmly believe that any debate on the said issue should take place in a respectable, educated, and non-offensive manner.

The anti-war protest that occurred a few days ago was none of the above.In a country that prides itself on being so open and tolerant, I am shocked to see how the unfounded, yet popular, criticism of all things American is not only tolerated, but widely supported. It is wrong to totally discount ANY country and its people.

I am an American, but I am also a U of T student. I should not have to look out my window and see people comparing my homeland to Nazi Germany. It’s as simple as that. I demand the same amount of understanding, dignity, and respect that Canada so graciously offers to citizens of other foreign countries.I am the first one to admit that the United States is not a perfect country, but neither is Canada, or Iraq for that matter. There are, however, ways to protest and voice your opinion without marginalizing an entire group of people. When you treat everyone with respect, you will most likely be taken more seriously as well. You can inflame people, or you can make them hear what you have to say. Right now I’m inflamed.

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