I've been getting some questions about the upside down flag as of recent. I used it in an ad for this campaign site and I have one showing on my computer at work. When people ask about it, they're sometimes upset. They think I'm trying to be offensive, and my patriotism gets called into question. I probably shouldn't be surprised at the fact that many people don't know what it means; many people don't know the cops can't legally search your car without your permission or a warrant, either.
If you don't know, flying the flag upside down is a signal of distress. When I explain that, people go from thinking I'm a anti-American to thinking I'm just being dramatic. I respectfully disagree. I truly do believe America is in a state of emergency, and has been so long before the Obama administration. People don't know their rights. The government pretty much owns GM, and is making yet more inroads on the entire practice of medicine. We're using fiat currency. Our Constitution has been disregarded for many decades. We're bailing out banks. We expect to be taken care of by the government. "Emergency" is an understatement.
I use the upside down flag for three reasons: One, it gets people's attention regardless of whether they know what it means. Two, if they don't know what it means, it gives me the opportunity to teach them. And three, considering the meaning, it's an excellent symbol of my beliefs.
I started using the upside down flag when I happened across an excellent series of videos on the Constitution by Michael Badnarik. The videos are an eight hour course he goes around the country teaching, and it's available on Youtube in 43 parts (he explains the meaning of the upside down flag about two minutes into the first video). I cannot recommend this series of videos enough. It is a treasure trove of information on the Constitution, history, rights, and the state, almost none of which I remember from high school. It should be the cornerstone of every American history/civics course- something all Americans need to watch and understand.