Flogging the flag

In another absurd act of hyperpatriotism, lawmakers are still clamoring to pass a Protect the Flag Against Burning and Desecration and Stuff Amendment.

WASHINGTON — The Senate may be within one or two votes of passing a constitutional amendment to ban desecration of the U.S. flag, clearing the way for ratification by the states, a key opponent of the measure said Tuesday.

“It’s scary close,” said Terri Schroeder of the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposes the amendment. “People think it’s something that’s never going to happen. … The reality is we’re very close to losing this battle.”

Congress regularly has debated the issue since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Texas flag desecration law in 1989 and its own Flag Protection Act the next year. But until now, it has failed to muster the two-thirds vote needed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate before states try to ratify the measure.

Next week, the House will vote on the amendment for a seventh time. If history is a guide, it will pass for a seventh time. That’s when the spotlight switches to the Senate, where the amendment has always died.

Tell me:  why should doing anything to the U.S. flag be illegal?  Orrin Hatch says, “Burning, urinating, defecating on the flag — this is not speech.  This is offensive conduct.”  No, it’s called freedom of expression…you know, the thing you conservatives often have a problem with when it doesn’t fit your xenophobic worldview?  Oh yeah, that.  Sure, some will find it offensive, but it only makes a statement, nothing more.  The flag is a symbol of freedom — burning or otherwise desecrating it does not affect the freedom of anyone in this country.  Not one iota.  Do you flag-worshippers honestly think that our freedoms are so fragile that they are somehow threatened by someone destroying a piece of cloth made in China?  Loosen your grip on that rifle and get a grip on reality!

Besides that, just how many flag-burnings have you seen in the U.S. recently?  Or ever?  It just doesn’t happen that often.  It’s a symbol, and it symbolizes something good, but that’s all it is, folks.  This amendment is a meaningless gesture intended to make conservatives feel better about themselves, pure and simple.  If this amendment barred people from wrapping themselves in the flag, it never would have seen the light of day.

0 thoughts on “Flogging the flag

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  1. People also forget that burning the flag is part of our nation’s flag code.
    “When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.”
    It’s normally done on June 14th, Flag Day.
    More objectionable is the fashion industry’s dedication to use it as underwear, but while intensely tacky to wear a national symbol on one’s sweaty ass, that still should be perfectly legal and a protected right.


  2. Really liked your comments about flag burning and desecration. I wonder if there’s a similar ritual for all those stars and stripes adorned “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS” ribbon magnets on every SUV in the country. Would love to see the ozone-melting black cloud from that petroleum product passive demonstration! Keep up the good work my friend!


  3. You guys, with your symbols, and things being what they aren’t really, but not being what they should be… it’s so incredibly swell. So the flag is a symbol, that’s alright. People are symbols too – they do things that mean more than the act themselves (just imagine the pope kissing one of his cardinals). In the same way, me taking a crap is symbolic too. It is a party in honour of those things that have contributed to keeping me alive, a celebration to protein, fibre and vitamins.
    I shall go forthwith to celebrate life. On the symbol of freedom. And all will be alright, because it’s just symbolic acts.
    The Man


  4. Coming from the perspective of being the father and son of Army Rangers, I think you are missing the point. Men have died, for over two centuries, to protect the freedom that the flag represents.
    Patriotism is something that some have and believe deeply in. Others take advantage of the freedoms provided by these same patriots.
    Freedom of speech and expression are fundamental rights. However, you can’t walk down the street naked and claim freedom of expression, because you are insulting the sense of decency of the majority.
    The same with burning a flag as a form of demonstration. You are insulting every member of our society who has a sense of patriotism, whether or not they went so far as to defend this county with arms.
    Everywhere people like you scream for free speech. Very few are willing to recognize the sacrifice it has taken to give you that freedom. Fewer still (less than 1% of our population) are willing to stand and defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
    By not allowing our flag to be used in demonstrations we are honoring and respecting the men and women who have fought and died protecting our freedoms of speech and expression.
    It is a small gesture, but an important one.
    Carl G.


  5. As the son of a man who devoted his professional career to serving in the US Army, I think that if burning the flag is the only way you see fit to express your dislike of governmental policies, then go ahead. But, really, it’s so cliché. I think it’s much more creative and expressive to burn a papier-mâché effigy of say, George W. Bush, than to burn a flag, but who am I to tell others how to express themselves.
    Just because some people idolize a flag, doesn’t mean I should have to idolize it. And just because it’s your symbol of freedom or whatever, doesn’t mean it has to be mine. To me, perhaps it’s a symbol of imperialism or the desire to colonize the middle east. Patriotism can be a good thing, but not when used as a mask to stifle others. Ask a German what intense patriotism got them.


  6. Passing a law prohibiting one from burning a symbolic piece of cloth is just as rediculous as passing a law stating that black people are allowed to sit on the bus wherever they like.
    Rosa Parks sat at the front of the bus because she wanted to be able to sit wherever she wanted, not because she likes the front of the bus. She was making a personal statement for something she believes in.
    Annie Sprinkle uses a speculum to spread open her vagina so that anyone who wishes can view her cervix. She is making a personal statement. I think this is quite offensive, allowing people to form a line and take turns peering into her vagina. But if that is what she wants to do, then so be it!
    Why should they pass a law to honor and respect the “men and women who have fought and died protecting our freedoms of speech and expression” by taking freedoms of speech and expression away from everybody else? Why should I be restricted in this manner? Thanks to my ancesters and forefathers I have many freedoms. Why should I have freedoms taken away from me BECAUSE of them? I firmly believe that they are doing bony summersaults in their graves.
    If I choose to burn something symbolic and nobody is hurt or injured and no property belonging to anybody esle is damaged then what’s the issue here? Patriotism? OK, but name one person who has burned a flag in retaliation to those who have fought to earn us the right to freely express our thoughts and ideas.
    Personally I think burning a flag is stupid and juvinile. But I should be able to do it if I want to despite what anybody else thinks. If I buy a car and want to blow it up, so be it!


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