TED Conversations

Lawren Jones


This conversation is closed.

Obama orders flags at half staff for Nelson Mandela. Should the US flag be lowered to honor non-Americans?

There's no denying that Mandela was a great man, but I think lowering of the US flag is an honor that should be reserved for Americans. Do you agree?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Dec 11 2013: I've been disappointed in the responses I've received so far. Not because I've been disagreed with, but because the issue at hand seems to be confused.

    The issue is not whether or not Mandela is deserving of honor and respect. The issue is not whether Americans are superior to others. The issue is simply whether this *particular* form of respect should be reserved for Americans. I have searched and cannot find any evidence of foreign flags being lowered upon the death of any US dignitaries. It's also worthy of note that President Obama did not bestow the same honor to Margaret Thatcher when she died.

    President Obama and former President George W. Bush are attending the funeral, which is an appropriate honor for the great man, and should speak to America's respect for Mandela's impact on the world stage. But I still maintain that lowering of the flag should be reserved for American citizens.

    Nor I am not alone in my opinion, as elected leaders at the local, state, and federal levels have spoken out with the same viewpoint.
    • Timo X

      • 0
      Dec 12 2013: Discrimination on the basis of nationality is not essentially different from the discrimination on other arbitrary characteristics such as skin colour, gender or sexuality. Of course, discrimination on the basis of nationality is widely accepted, and perhaps even normal or institutionalized in some places. Does that make it right though? I don't think so. Maybe local politicians are your source of moral authority, but I prefer to think for myself. Either way, I cannot help but perceive irony in the fact that your issue with a man who fought against discrimination for most of his life, is that he is supposedly not the proper nationality for the honour he received. I would urge you to learn a lesson from the 'disappointing', i.e. dissenting, responses here.
    • thumb
      Dec 13 2013: IMO America is an idea as much as a place.

      You say that Mandela was a great man, was he not convicted of murder? Why was he great?
      • Dec 13 2013: Pat,

        Believe he was convicted for conspiracy to overthrow the government, not for murder.
        • thumb
          Dec 13 2013: Not according to this article, which indicates he was responsible for many deaths


          That is the trouble with deifying people. We talked about this a while back about Abraham Lincoln who was literally the opposite of the legend.

          I guess the pendulum can swing too far the other way, but in Lincoln's case and Mandela's case it does not appear to be the case.
        • thumb
          Dec 15 2013: convicted for conspiracy to overthrow the government - treason - punishable by death
        • Dec 15 2013: " Not according to this article"

          It's just a blog post by some ideologue ... it isn't factual.

          "We talked about this a while back about Abraham Lincoln who was literally the opposite of the legend."

          Aside from the misuse of "literally", this is another false claim.
      • Dec 14 2013: Pat, I think that in the political arena, a person could be convicted by the government system of murder, regardless whether he killed a man, or killed for justified reasons. I am not arguing for Mandela, but regardless of any "history" or "official report". one must look at these report with a grain of salt..
        My comment has nothing to do with the constitutionality of the lowering of the U. S. flag.
        • thumb
          Dec 14 2013: No grain of salt necessary. His cause was against apartheid ostensibly this would be to better his group's standard of living. Apparently this ideology justified murder?

          The sanctity of life is above ALL else, certainly an ideologue holding up a straw man to incite heinous crimes is Not a great man.

          Does anyone have a reason why Mandela should be admired?
        • thumb
          Dec 15 2013: no!!! they do not

          they cannot justify why or give reason why he should be admired... except that he is black and if we support him it does not make us seem racist
          it is sad that tedx contributors cannot eloquate their admiration...

          the truth is: he like the rest of the world supported a cause that enriched the fat cats of the anc and that the previous government still pulls the puppet strings- this is what keeps SA intact

          this is the era when we give "black" people recognition to prove we are not racist...
          yet nothing is done to improve living standards and conditions of these liberated people...
        • Dec 15 2013: Mandela didn't murder anyone. As for why he should be admired, that has been written and spoke about extensively, even by people like Ted Cruz. Asking whether there is a reason is not a legitimate inquiry.
      • Dec 15 2013: Pat if the UN had any guts,

        there would be quite a few presidents and non presidents that could and should be charged with crimes against humanity.

        For one I dont think the flag needs lowering on their death, more like a national street party.
        • thumb
          Dec 15 2013: Me thinks that the UN is another deity and a myth?
      • Dec 16 2013: There are others out there Pat, but yes, the UN is a bit of a deity. There is The Hague, Court of human rights, but it's a call that no-one dare make to charge a president. The consequences of arresting a president for crimes against humanity, are maybe just to dire for far to many to want to be less than honest with them selves. Unless it's some African president, they it's ok, because again it shows they do care... So instead they'll impeach a 1st world president for having consensual sex, it shows to the public at least that you still have "some" morals.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.