Oh Jeez, Not This Again

Via the AP wire:

House on Wednesday approved a constitutional amendment that would give
Congress the power to ban desecration of the American flag, a measure
that for the first time stands a chance of passing the Senate as well.

By a
286-130 vote - eight more than needed - House members approved the
amendment after a debate over whether such a ban would uphold or run
afoul of the Constitution's free-speech protections.

of two-thirds of the lawmakers present was required to send the bill on
to the Senate, where activists on both sides say it stands the best
chance of passage in years. If the amendment is approved in that
chamber by a two-thirds vote, it would then move to the states for

Why is it there is so much obsession of late with freakin icons?  The Left gets bent out of shape that some books were mishandled in Cuba and the Right is back on its no flag-burning kick.  The US Flag is a piece of cloth, that has meaning to the extent that one respects what it stands for.  Legislating against burning flags will do nothing to increase respect for what the flag stands for, and in reality helps undermine those values.  No one who loves the US thinks less of our country when they see someone burning flag -- they think less of the flag-burners.

A hundred years ago, the Constitution was modified to allow income taxes, an amendment that was sold to the public as but a small, small exception to constitutional protections.  We see now what has been driven since through this small crack.  Lets not do the same with free speech - we cannot create an exception to our strong Constitutional protections of free speech.


  1. Duane Gran:

    While we disagree on many points, I agree (see http://duanegran.com/blog/?p=219) with you about the flag issue. However, I'll point out that the issue over desecrating the Koran is legitimate, given the ritualistic respect that Muslims exhibit toward the object. While I'm not a believer in Islam, I can see how they regard every copy of the Koran as a holy and sacred object. The flag, on the other hand, is purely a symbol with a well-defined code of etiquette for its handling and display.

  2. A Stitch in Haste:

    Early Thoughts on the Flag Amendment

    "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."
    --Proposed Flag Protection Amendment

    "[A] government cannot mandate by fiat a feeling of unity in its citizens."

  3. Gary and the Samoyeds:

    The whole point of free speech was already gutted in the Campaign "reform" act. I don't care to protect the pornographers or flag-burners who piously say they are the vanguards of the First Amendment, because free speech in its most important form is already dead.

  4. Ron:

    You would think with everything that is going on in the country today our legislators could find "something" better to do than beat this old horse.

  5. weener:

    "This old horse" seems to get trotted out whenever heineous and flagrant malfeasance is being produced by the Powers That Be. Anyone remember the last major confabulation over the flag burning? Think Ollie North admitting to all of his crimes and trying to fall on his sword. It saved Reagan and it is certainly possible that Bush&Co. will find a patsy, but I hope we are more sophisticated than that.

  6. Mark in Mexico:

    Flag Burning Amendment

    The House of Representatives approved the flag burning amendment yesterday. I don't really have too many strong feelings about this. It was probably just a little show of patriotism for the homefolks, although about 130 representatives declined the o...

  7. Big Cat Chronicles:

    Fallaci and flags -- the not-so free speech spectrum

    Two unrelated events received spotlights yesterday and today and show a free speech spectrum that bears exploration.  The first is the flag-burning Constitutional amendment in the US and the other is the impending trial in Italia...