Thursday, June 23, 2005

Say No to Flag Burning (Amendment)

It looks like the House of Representatives has, once again, approved a constitutional amendment allowing lawmakers to ban flag burning. It's going to the Senate for final approval.

Let's make sure we all know what we're talking about, here. This is not an amendment that bans flag burning; it's an amendment that lets state legislatures and the U.S. Congress ban flag burning. It overturns a 1989 Supreme Court ruling that protected flag desecration as free speech.

Personally I find desecrating the national ensign to be insulting. As someone who served my country in the USMC, I consider it vile. I love the American flag. It is a symbol of what I find great about this country.

I love the U.S. Constitution more. I don't like to see it mucked with.

This proposed amendment conflicts with the first amendment, which guarantees free speech, among other things. In other words, I can rant (or blog) about what ever I want (much like I do here) and the government won't haul me away to jail. There are darned few countries in the world where you can do that.

What concerns me is that, even though I think people who desecrate the flag are idiots (they're fighting against the same country that gave them the very right to do what they are doing without going to jail), what kind of a precedent does it set if we start limiting this kind of speech? What's going to be next? We're already fighting a losing battle over the freedom of religious rights (also guaranteed by the first amendment, ironically). Will we not be able to criticize our public leaders when they do things we don't like? Will it become against the law to blog about public policy that we find unjust? Will we have to start worrying about the legal ramifications of doing anything that might offend anybody? I hope not.

Just say no to this amendment, and urge your Senators to do the same. The U. S. Constitution, which I truly love, guarantees the right to freely voice our opinions without worry of prosecution. It doesn't protect us from ever being offended. Nor should it. Let's keep America Free.

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