Wednesday, June 28, 2006

That's not what the constitution is for!

What is the purpose of the Flag Desecration Amendment? Amendments to the U.S. Constitution (for review please read the Constitution and the amendments again) should be for protecting rights not restricting them. Most of the amendments clarify rights for the people or restrict the rights of the government, and some are procedural. One of them was restrictive. Prohibition (the 18th amendment, which prohibited intoxicating liquors for beverages) didn't work and may have single handedly created the organized crime that is romanticized so well in the movies. It was subsequently repealed by the 21st.

Should there be an amendment to the constitution preventing desecration of the flag? I agree with almost all anyone has said on this topic. It is a disgrace to burn the flag and it insults people who feel strongly about it. But burning the flag is an expression of free speech, and free speech is one of the founding principles of the United States. All of those that have died to protect the honor of the flag, have also died to protect the right to burn it. That is the paradox of a free society. Dissent is a vital component of democracy.

How will they define physical desecration of the flag? When was the last time you saw an American burn a flag? I have seen many flags in other compromised positions. T-shirts, bandanas, Old Navy adds. Will the pickup and motorcycle drivers flying ragged shredded flags be prosecuted? What about the faded-to-white flag magnets on the backs of cars? The bandanaed cats and dogs. Or the shredded flags I see flying in the rain without lights on many houses through the summer. Is it a flag or a rag? Isn't this flag amendment stunt supposed to draw exactly these people back into the GOP. On Flag Day, I suggested that we all reread the etiquette for flying and displaying the flag.

The proposed Federal Marriage Amendment which also recently failed in Congress seeks to restrict rights rather than grant them. While it attempts to define marriage as between a man and a woman, one wonders if this is a useful purpose for the constitution as well. My preferred criticism is that this definition should be left to the states, though I don't think the government should have much of a say in this at all. Shall we allow the people their personal freedom?

By the way, the only appropriate use of the flag in the pictures above is the boy scouts saluting the burning flag in the first picture. That is the proper respectful way of disposing of an old flag.

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WayneDawg said...

Thank you.

It's hard to find others who acknowledge that if someone wants to burn the flag...then they should have that right (as long as they have their burning permit).

I wrote about the flag issue the other day on my blog.

Good job.

calvin1 said...

I'm just unclear why congress feels the need to keep bringing this up. Is there some flag burning epidemic going on out there that I'm just not aware of?