Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ammendment a bad idea

The American Flag is a very important and very dear symbol to me, but I wonder if a constitutional ammendment banning flag burning is wise or necessary. The flag stands for freedom, and such an ammendment would restrict the freedom it stands for.

I find the act of flag burning despicable--an extreme form of hate speech--and those who have been reading this blog know that I detest both hate speech and extremism. I have as much a right to express myself as does the protester who would be stupid enough to desecrate the flag. I would want the freedom to express my opinion of that idiot who saw fit to burn the flag.

An anti-desecration ammendment could open up a very large can of worms. For example, during the 2004 Super Bowl half time show--yes, that one--Kid Rock displayed his profound, and sincere, patriotism by wearing an American Flag. I am sure that by cutting a hole in the flag, so as to wear it poncho-style, he had no intention of showing disrespect for the flag, and that he was unaware that he was desecrating the flag.. The proposed ammendment would have allowed law that would have put him in jail for a spontaneous demonstration of patriotism and support for the troops. Even President George H.W. Bush's literal wrapping of the American Flag around his body in 1992, while he rendered a speech supporting a constitutional anti-desecration ammendment, was a violation of the rule that the American Flag "shall not be worn as an article of clothing."
Most communities have statutes against burning anything in public as a form of expression. These laws are usually enforced. Any official in America who would issue a permit allowing a demonstration which included desecration of the flag would not stay in office very long. There are also laws against inciting a riot, and against self inflicted harm, which is what a person burning the flag in my community would be guilty of, as the demonstrator would quickly have the burning flag stuffed into one of that person's orifaces. My community is known for its militantly patriotic Harley riding veterans, by the way. It should be noted that any public demonstration desecrating the flag usually has the affect of causing resentment toward the demonstrator, and increasing feelings of patriotism and love for the Flag and what it stands for.

At 165,000 dollars a year per congressperson, the debate over the ammendment is an unwarrented waste of time and taxpayers' money. It is nothing more than a demonstration of members of a political party attempting to justify that salary. At the time of this writing, there are not enough votes in the Senate for the measure to pass. The ammendment, if it does pass the Senate and the House, would more than likely fail to be ratified by the required two-thirds of the states. In case you haven't noticed, at least fifty percent of the states are following a trend toward protecting what little sovereignity they have left.

Freedom of expression is sacrosanct in this country. It is perhaps the greatest freedom in differentiating between our constitutional Republic and the old Soviet Union. I am as strongly against any restriction of that freedom as I am against those who would abuse that freedom.


CM Edwards said...

I share your sentiments. As mad as I get at this country sometimes- when someone burns a flag I can't help but think of my grandpa and great-grampa; veterans of WWII and WWI and I don't like it.

However, I don't think that it is such an epidemic that we really need a amendment to the constitution prohibiting it and eroding something equally as important- the first amendment.

Dawn Benko said...

I agree wholeheartedly, RevJim. As detestable as burning the American flag is, the purpose of the first amendment is very clear. I don't think we should be messing with it.