A post election oddity I'm noticing

Fair warning – Don’t click through if you don’t want to read something political in nature.

I’m sensitive to those that don’t want to read that sort of thing, hence the fair warning. Nothing bad here, just a curiosity and I’m wondering if other people in the USA are doing the same thing, so testing it on WUWT’s wide readership will likely help answer it.

I have seen upside down US flags twice now in my town. The first time I just thought it was self commentary, now seeing it a second time in a different part of town, I stopped along E. 5th Avenue to get this shot. I wonder, how many people across the United States are doing the same thing after November 6th? In case you don’t know, flying the flag upside down is a sign of distress or emergency. Flying at half staff is respect for the fallen in service of our country. Combined it makes quite a commentary on the Benghazi incident, the fallen soldiers and ambassador, and the election. Checking the Internet I find there are others doing the same thing now, such as this fellow in South Bend, Indiana. Then there’s the story about an upside down half-staff flag at McDonald’s which has angered a lot of veterans even though it was claimed to be a mistake.

The U.S. Flag code says in section 8:

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.

Some people consider it flag desecration such as is on par with burning it as political commentary.

I wonder though, if this sort of visual political commentary I’ve seen in my town is being quietly repeated elsewhere since many people now see the USA as being in distress?


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Thats the beauty of the British flag, turn it upside down and only about 1% would even notice!


There’s a joke around here that Americans are so eager to fly their flag because they are making a community effort to combat the poor school record on geography and prevent kids from wandering off into Mexico or Canada by accident. Not sure what flying it half-mast and upside down means in that context.


Those folks fly an American flag on a flagpole in their front yard. Only Republicans do that. They’re probably in mourning over the election catastrophe.

Bob Rogers

I haven’t seen it myself. Thanks for the photo.

Mark Thomas

I think we’ve got a lot more pedants than that!

Power Grah

I live in a red state. I and many people I know have been wearing black since Wednesday. Of course, I did attend an actual funeral on Wednesday, but…

Flying the flag upside down and at half-mast is a protected form of Free Speech. The Supreme Court long ago decided that even burning the flag was protected speech, because it was done as a political expression. The flag burning case was during the Vietnam war.


Re-electing Obama as the post-constitutional president gets you this.

I think there’s a strong chance that the trend is related to the re-election of Obama. I don’t see it as desecration, but a signal of troubled times ahead (and it is an expression of free speech anyway). I’m not surprised at all to see this sort of reaction, and we might expect more in the coming months.
Here’s an observation for you, if I may. Is it me or do the people who tend to be skeptical of climate change “science” the same people who are skeptical of nutrition “science” (see Gary Taubes, Dr. Michael Eades) and are the same people who are skeptical of government in general? In other words, libertarian? Thoughts?

RE:Pingo However flying the Union Flag upside down ( which is what the British flag is known as – unless attached to a ship in which case its a Union Jack ) is also a sign of distress – just one harder to notice. But then that’s why its useful …http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/geography/unionjack7.html

M Courtney

Pingo says: November 9, 2012 at 8:04 am
But surely our flag is symmetrical with a circle of twelve gold stars on an azure background?
(If we’re having politics from early November I may as well light the touchpaper)


Election is over. Get over it. Move on. Learn to make lemonade.


I’ve seen it, too, here and there. I suppose it’s a statement.
For Dave Burton who said, “Those folks fly an American flag on a flagpole in their front yard. Only Republicans do that.”
What irony, Dave; I infer that you are saying that those who want the most of America’s free gifts refuse to fly the flag, and those who get to pay for them fly it proudly.


What luck! Obama won dozens of Cleveland districts with 100% of the vote.
Colorado Counties Have More Voters Than People
the man who voted TWICE AGAINST the ‘BORN ALIVE ACT’
if the danger was any greater we would suffocate.


When I was stationed at Ft. Belvoir performing duties as Commander of the Relief (COR) my squad sometimes had to take down the flag and put up the flag. There were 3 sizes of flags (storm, post, and garrison), and thus 6 clips on the cable to attach the various size flags. It was confusing (don’t remember why), and at least one COR had accidentally put the flag up upside down. To keep from doing this, I carried two different colors of tape with me to mark the proper clips and to denote which clip the top of the flag went to. Another military faux-pas at retreat — sometimes when the MPs would fire the canon (with a blank round) at retreat, they would forget to take the rain cap off the opening, and the gases would rip a hole in the cover.

Steve Divine

Heard caller on a radio talk show mention this couple nights ago. Mentioned a newspaper blogger suggested doing this in protest. Didn’t catch the paper/town. This was also mentioned during the call: Wichita Falls businessman Harry Patterson flew all the American flags on his properties at half-staff Wednesday, the day following a presidential election he fears may cripple America.

E. Calvin Beisner

Thanks for this thoughtful, poignant post, Anthony. The upside down flags express well the sense of dire distress for our country and sadness for the loss of the honored dead at Benghazi that I feel. That our populace could have re-elected a president under whose watch our federal debt has grown by an average $1.3 trillion per year is shocking enough as a commentary on how oblivious many of us are to basic economics, let alone the less obvious but still real immorality of deficit spending, which takes from those who have not even been born and so cannot give their consent, and gives to ourselves. That we can have re-elected a president who has so deeply divided our country, showing such complete contempt for those with whom he disagrees, e.g., on the Affordable Health Care Act, particularly on its requirement that employers must provide insurance that pays for acts that they in their religious conscience consider sinful, is sobering. All this is not even to mention the rampant crony capitalism of his administration (e.g., $billions in loan guarantees by the Department of Energy to companies whose major stockholders were major donors to his election campaign), but that’s the sort of thing that’s not likely to come to the attention of the average voter, so I hardly count it. As a historian, I have less hope for our country’s recovery than ever before.
These are, of course, my own personal thoughts as an individual, not writing as representing any organization.


A M Priestas is probably right. The people who don’t take what “they” say about climate or nutrition as gospel are probably likely to be generally s[ck]eptical about everything. A healthy attitude, if not taken to extremes.

a jones

Pingo says:
November 9, 2012 at 8:04 am
Thats the beauty of the British flag, turn it upside down and only about 1% would even notice!
Actually no as any British boy scout, of at least my generation, would know which way up the Union Flag is to be flown. You may be right of course, just as people commonly call it the Union Jack which strictly it is not except when flown from a jackstaff.
And indeed flying it upside down is a signal of distress.
Kindest Regards

fxk says:
November 9, 2012 at 8:19 am
Election is over. Get over it. Move on. Learn to make lemonade.
If only we could make lemonade.
But with the ingredients that we were given, all we can make is a Sh*T Sandwich.
And we all have to take a bite

A. M. Priestas – I’m not “skeptical” of those things at all. I have read enough relevant material to gather sufficient facts to convince me that the climate/earth can well take care of itself. My diet or health is simply nobody else’s business whatsoever.
And no, I’m not a “libertarian” of any sort. I’m a sovereign individual… a self owner and self governor. I am responsible for myself and my legitimate dependents, and nobody else – though I’m happy to cooperate with other self owners for mutual goals.
Here is my flag: http://www.thepriceofliberty.org/images/culpepper3.jpg


The idea of Capitalism and freedom died on the 6th of November 2012. The US Constitution and the Republic is very much in distress and is in danger of dying next.


Im a lifelong Democrat and appreciate and commend your efforts to keep this site apolitical during the election.
Continue to let the science speak for itself and you will broaden your audience.
Many skeptic sites alienate potential open minds.


My wife and I have been flying our flag upside down since John Roberts betrayed his oath, and thought it was his job to “fix” an egregiously written law. We had dearly hoped to be able to return our flag to its honorable orientation on Wednesday morning but, sadly, the “takers” held the day for the anointed one.
Who is John Galt?

jill colby

@Dan Burton: only Republicans fly flags on flagpoles? Really? Now there’s a statement.


Flags and signal flags have been used for a good 1000+ years for information transfer. Still used today in many forms by pretty much every military in the world.
I’m not sure about the flying it as half mast AND flying it upside down is an official position for it. However doing either 1 alone is considered an official and proper display of the flag. Some may argue that the display is isn’t needed for whatever event that happened but they are both official positions/displays.
As to why… most likely in reference to obama and the death of the US Constitution. Though a lot of people are still waking up to the fact that benghazi. The media and obama have done a huge amount to cover that event up and people are still learning and morning the reality of what it means.

I’m a more practical sort. The day after the election, I divested my 401k of all American stocks. The oncoming over-regulation, tax increases, and Obamacare disaster will make the last 4 years look rosy by comparison.

I own three US flags which I’ve displayed for years and which I took down on November 7. Rather than fly the old flag upside down, I’m now looking for a new banner that expresses my patriotism for the old USA while at the same time making it clear that the government in D.C. is now openly hostile to me. The Betsy Ross flag, the 15-star Star Spangled Banner, and the 24-star US flag (24 states voted against the Marxist this time) are all possibilities.

Silver Ralph

M Courtney says: November 9, 2012 at 8:19 am
But surely our flag (the UK’s flag) is symmetrical with a circle of twelve gold stars on an azure background?
Ha, ha – I get the joke.
However, the EU flag is actually comprised of five-pointed ‘Seal of Solomon’ stars, and so it is not symmetrical. You can easily spot an EU flag upside down.
And if you want to know where the EU flag came from, take a look here. Again this is a ‘political’ comment, but perhaps not in the manner you are expecting. This has nothing to do with the Catholic Church.

… rather, more importantly, a majority of voting Americans are openly hostile to me.


It is very common here among those who hate democracy, particularly when it does not give them the answer THEY wanted.


I remember the hanging of the French flag upside down while serving on a joint post. That didn’t mark distress but certainly caused some for the fellows who hoisted it that morning.


Flying the U.S. flag upside-down doesn’t seem necessary to me. Or useful.
There is no way that the National Socialist Democrat Party (NSDAP) supporters could look upon the American flag as a symbol of their loyalties or intentions. Indeed, pre-election surveys of likely voters showed that the sight of that flag was a powerful inducement to respond negatively when the subjects were asked whether they supported Michelle’s Metrosexual Marxist Meatpuppet in the contest concluded this past Tuesday.
I’d think that any “Liberal” fascist seeing the insignia of their enemies flown upside-down as an expression of distress would just gloat over it. Wouldn’t you?

“If there were a generic one-word expression for ‘one whose fear of the uncertainties of success moves him to surrender at the very moment of victory’, it would be ‘Republican’.” [L. Neil Smith]

There was an old Sci Fi story from the 60’s. A guy was accidentally given an anestheic and put in suspended animation for 70 years. When he woke up, society had SPLIT into 10% “Brights” and 90% Morons. The BRIGHTS were RUNNING EVERYTHING AND DOING ALL THE WORK to support the morons.
How predictive!


At 8:49 AM on 9 November, Max Hugoson had written:

There was an old Sci Fi story from the 60′s. A guy was accidentally given an anestheic and put in suspended animation for 70 years. When he woke up, society had SPLIT into 10% “Brights” and 90% Morons. The BRIGHTS were RUNNING EVERYTHING AND DOING ALL THE WORK to support the morons.

The story was “The Marching Morons,” written by Cyril M. Kornbluth and originally published by editor H.L. Gold in the April 1951 edition of Galaxy.
Kornbluth’s story (still under copyright at the time) was plagiarized to make the movie Idiocracy, which was briefly and narrowly released theatrically in 2006 – and never closer than a canonical hundred miles from the city of New York, where the literary agents for Kornbluth’s estate are located.


People in the US are very divided politically — now there’s an insight! But in a democracy, just accept the result. The R party has painted itself into a corner, and they will continue to lose elections until they figure out how to attract larger numbers of women and Hispanics and young voters. That is just math.
This election was for the Rs to lose, what with the economic situation. The Rs also had a huge amount of money, counting the unaffiliated superPACs. But they still lost. LIke it or not, enough of country didn’t like what they saw, despite the economic situation.
In the meantime, as a result of the elections, some things will happen in the US that probably aren’t for the long term good of the country. But if we want to get a different result, the Rs have to appeal to a broader swath of people. That is the issue. What the Rs tried didn’t work — so how do they change it?

I’ve also seen some twitterers change their photo identity to an upside down US flag.


Of course when the moonbats started flying the flag upside-down ( the only time they EVER displayed a flag!) during the Bush years, no one said a thing. I bet the “vets” who whined about McDonald (if the incident really happened, and was not just a journalist embellishment) were lefty faux vets, likely just some spokesmen for a fake “veteran” organization, made up of mostly non-vets who’s purpose is to turn American heroes into Marxists traitors.

This greatly bothers me because, yes we have a problem, but we can’t be expecting the cavalry to come rescue us, we need to be our own rescuers. Arguably we are in the situation we find ourselves in because of a long-term set-up of the mainstream media – an example of One Percenters controlling far more than they are entitled to.
To rescue ourselves, we must stop allowing the MSM to frame the narratives with premises that are false from the start – e.g. tea-party people being racists, global warming being a ‘settled science’ issue that is obstructed by corrupt skeptics, on and on. When the mainstream media is revealed to a larger portion of the disinterested public as One Percenters who leave out critical parts of stories and mislead their viewers, the MSM’s credibility goes to zero and candidates like Obama never ascend to the presidency in the first place. Confront folks with the truth and they call you names and run away – for all intents and purposes, this is no less than exactly what happens when you confront the MSM, just like what you see in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HWlqiv-YL7c#t=59s

Doug Jones

Max- The Marching Morons, by Cyril Kornbluth.
I’m building a spaceship as fast as I can…


John and so many other people in the USA and in the UK say that if you dont get elected then you need to try and appeal to more minorities. Dont go down that route because madness that way lies.
Romney stood on what he believed in and what he believed he could achieve and that is the only way for honest politics to survive.

Mark Whitney

People’s distress is well founded. Only hours after securing the second term, the President ordered UN staff to vote for the UN arms control treaty, which the president had backed away from pre-election. Next watch for the sharks from the EPA te begin their feeding frenzy.

John F. Hultquist

Quite an interesting thing but I’ve not seen or noticed. That might be because the small population county where I live voted 55.46% for Romney/Ryan – having no effect on the outcome in this blue state.
Still, the US is facing serious problems. For some thoughts on this topic try E.M. Smith’s blog – see right side of this page under Skeptical Views at The Chiefio, between The Air Vent and The Cosmic Tusk. Try the 14 September post — Demographic Bomb and US Debt Explosion.


fxk says: Election is over. Get over it. Move on. Learn to make lemonade.
You mean like how the left got over the presidency of George W. Bush?

John says: “But in a democracy, just accept the result”
A democracy is a greek concept whereby ordinary people run government … notice the word “ordinary” … i.e. without politicians.
You don’t often hear politicians mention that!

Crispin in Waterloo

Here is the Canadian view from Rex Murphy
“…dirty, small, gritty and harsh…rigid partisans…”
I thought the press conf this morning with the (R) Speaker of the House was downright conciliatory by comparison.


I’m a hardcore climate skeptic who visits this site daily and quotes it and links to it in my frequent arguments against the CAGW faithful. They usually respond that the skeptic view is a Fox Network addicted, GOP hardcore, backwards sort of standpoint to which I’ve always replied that I’m an Independent, socially liberal guy who hates Rush and his disciples, never ever watches Fox (in fact not even on my TVs menu- programmed out), and just happens to be a professional chemist and lifelong science buff who knows bad science when he sees it.
Reading these responses, now I’m not so sure. I’m having a hard time identifying myself as being aligned with the mindset being displayed in the comments above. I’m quite seriously having a crisis about my feelings on climate issues if I’ve been basing part of my opinion on the comments of those in the WUWT community whose ideas I had previously looked to for real scientific (i.e. unbiased and based on facts) insight.
Please tell me that the majority of you are not “THAT guy”…
REPLY: For sure I’m not THAT guy, nor is that even my house. Here is how I fly my flag. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/31/americans-fly-your-flag/ – Anthony


At , 9:17 AM on 9 November, ujagoff had written:

I’m having a hard time identifying myself as being aligned with the mindset being displayed in the comments above. I’m quite seriously having a crisis about my feelings on climate issues if I’ve been basing part of my opinion on the comments of those in the WUWT community whose ideas I had previously looked to for real scientific (i.e. unbiased and based on facts) insight. Please tell me that the majority of you are not “THAT guy”…

Please be advised that – with high levels of reliability – those of us who are literate in the sciences (and predicate each our “hardcore climate skeptic” status on that qualification) tend with great strength to be literate in history and in political economics.
This gives us acutely and with thoroughness to appreciate that the anthropogenic global warming (or “man-made climate change”) premise is not only without support in physical reality but that it serves the purposes of politically malfeasant enemies of constitutionally lawful civil society in these United States, chiefly as a mechanism to “keep up the skeer” and otherwise excuse government actions which are unproductive, wasteful, predatory, unnecessary, hideously corrupt, disruptive of the division-of-labor economy, and overwhelmingly destructive of the quality of life among the poorest people in our republic.
These “global climate change” alarmists bent upon the exploitation of this preposterous (and obviously deliberate) misrepresentation of how and why the global climate does, indeed, change are uniformly on the left side of the standard political spectrum, where we find the partisans and apparatchiki of the National Socialist Democrat American Party (NSDAP, which ceased to sustain the fiction of being in any way “democratic” in 2010 when they enacted Obamacare over the enraged opposition of a majority of their own core constituencies).
In the course of your personal thought on the subject of the AGW hysteria, have you given due consideration to what the screaming “climate” hysteria frothed-up by the leftie-luzers demonstrates about their positions on just about every other issue about which they howl and gibber and point guns at people?
To oppose the AGW fraud in these United States necessarily places the scientifically literate observer in political opposition to the “Liberal” fascisti of the American left. In so doing, it necessarily requires that we examine scrupulously their other positions and purposes, right?
Literacy in political economics “(i.e. unbiased and based on facts)” makes lucidly reasoning people to become advocates of the free market (and therefore skeptical in the extreme of government “regulation” of voluntary exchange, which is invariably aimed at “picking winners” among the politically well-connected). This will reliably make us opponents of fiat currency “quantitative easing” to further debauch the U.S. dollar, as well as other aggressive impositions of armed thuggery upon the peaceful lives of the private citizenry.
Now, if these qualities make “the majority of [us to be] ‘THAT guy'” and therefore odious in your eyes, then you’re not approaching other factors in your environment – emphasis on political economics – with the same proper skepticism that informs your consideration of the global climate issue.

“‘Manmade Global Warming’ is a collection of ideas that have been thoroughly discredited by real science for years. Yet you would never know it by observing the behavior of politicians, media personalities, and certain corrupt academics and scientists. There is not now, nor has there ever been any scientifically respectable evidence for global warming. Just like Lysenkoism, it is a complete and total fabrication, a hoax, deliberately perpetrated for prestige, power, and material gain.” [L. Neil Smith]

John F. Hultquist

Jody Wilson says:
November 9, 2012 at 8:42 am

The rattlesnake symbolism of the Gadsden flag . . .
. . . might suit you.


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.

I guess they’re feeling distressed.
Although I’m a little left of liberal, I feel their pain. I felt the same when Bush Jr. got re-elected. 😉 Really, the country is splitting into two halves that can’t even talk to each other. Some have even predicted that it would break up. Now that’s distressing.

I have been attaching my postal stamps (American Flag picture) to my letters upside down for the last 4 years. This has been done as a sign of distress that our cdountry is going through