Concerns about the recent economic bailout of financial institutions have two local residents up in arms.
Soon after the bailout passed, Brazil resident and local business owner Rick James decided he had enough and began flying his American Flag upside down.
"Flying the flag upside down is a sign of dire distress in times of extreme danger to either life or property," James told The Brazil Times. "It's not a violation of the flag code and I am not doing this out of disrespect, but a love for my country."
Not in violation of the Flag Code himself, James pointed out other protests which are in violation.
"In California, there are some schools flying the Mexican Flag above the American Flag as a sign of protest, which is a definite violation of the flag code," James said. "Having my flag upside down may spark some controversy, but it is within the parameters of the code, and it may not be such a bad thing to get people looking at the current situation of the economy."
He added he is extremely concerned about the way the bailout was passed and its effect on the average American.
"In Indiana, if you miss three property tax installments, you're property is placed in a tax sale," James said. "It is pretty severe to take someone's property away, especially in times of economic turmoil, yet we are bailing out the people who put the country in the position we are in."
James told The Brazil Times he feels the majority of the general public has basically turned a blind eye to what is going on in Washington, and by flying his flag upside down, it may spark the average American to take some action.
"I'm tired of what is going on and chances are when you try to contact your legislator, you won't be able to reach the person you need to talk to," he said. "Doing this will hopefully send a message to those in the statehouse and in Washington that we are watching and may do something about it."
However, James' actions have caused residents to contact county officials in an effort to make him turn the flag right side up. Officials have asked James the reasons for flying his flag upside down, but not to reverse it.
But even with the opposition, James has inspired another resident to make a stand as well.
After speaking with his long-time friend, Brazil resident Dave Snyder decided to take down his flag altogether.
"The bigwigs of these corporations answer to no one and when something happens, they turn to the taxpayers," Snyder said. "I've known Rick for years and after discussing the financial and potential automotive bailouts, I decided to take my flag down."
Snyder, who volunteered for two tours of service during the Vietnam War as part of the United States Army, felt the best action for him was to take the flag down rather than fly it upside down.
"There is a deep underlying problem of no one taking responsibility for their actions," he told The Brazil Times. "When I started my business in the 1980s, I was told to 'milk the system' rather than do what is right for the people, and we are still seeing that problem today."
Snyder said the current economic problems are equally the fault of the politicians, corporations and the average American.
"It's just as much our fault because we elect the politicians making these decisions," he said. "So many times people go to the polls to vote strictly for their party affiliation or don't look into who they are voting for."
This is the first time Snyder has ever taken his flag down, and he is unsure of when, if ever, he will put it back up.
"I don't see change happening and I believe things will get worse before they get better," Snyder said. "While I don't begrudge the factory workers who get big benefit packages from the auto companies who may soon be bailed out as well, but do they really work any harder than those at Sony, Bemis or Great Dane?"
Snyder's biggest concern is the effect of the bailouts will hurt future generations.
"My children and grandchildren will also be saddled with the debt from the bailouts," he said. "The biggest issue is that the corporations, as well as society as a whole, needs to start taking responsibility for their own actions."
James said the public needs to step up and help the politicians by speaking out and voicing their opinions.
"I want to help out our Congressmen," he said. "Yes, we may belong to different political parties, but I want them to understand exactly what's going on and go to the source of the problem."
He also emphasized the biggest effect of the bailout will fall on the middle and lower classes, who he believes have become largely ignored.
"They don't look to help the middle and lower class people who have college loans, and now they are on the hook for as much as $41,000 a person as part of the bailout," James said. "Flying my flag upside down makes me a patriot, and a patriot loves this country, not necessarily the government at this moment."