Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Flag Burning Amendment Loses

The Flag Burning Amendment failed by one vote. I have mixed feelings about this one. Of course it's offensive to see someone burn the American flag, but it's also offensive to see Mapplethorpe's "Piss Christ".

The truth is, in a nation where free speech is treasured, we need to recognize that flag burning is a minor bit of rebellion at best. It pales in comparison to 9/11 and the experiences we've had overseas since then. To say that burning a flag is spitting in the face of our soldiers is a little extreme. Soldiers aren't the only people which are represented by this flag.

Additionally, any amendment to the Constitution needs to be considered very carefully and approached with utmost care. Amending the Constitution to ban flag burning seems extreme, when there are more pressing issues (such as The Patriot Act, the current wars we're fighting, and even gay marriage).

And the problem is that when you open the door to amending the Constitution, you also send a clear signal that the Constitution is now free game. What's next? Incorporating the Patriot Act (which is anti-constitutional) into the Constitution itself? We would no longer be the U.S.A. And we are already in danger of losing our Constitutional rights (we've begun to lose them already). If it's OK to amend the Constitution now, where will it stop?

I'm shocked that this lost by only one vote. Our leadership is failing and we are left with people who are attempting to lead the country, but are not able to consider the repercussions which their actions could cause.


R2K said...

How do they feel about burning the bible? The constitution (a fake copy)? The bill of rights? The seal of the president? Your draft card? Your bra?

Why they just pick the flag is confusing to me, and I fear the worst: like gay weddings, they just want an issue to split people up because when they do split people up, they seem to get elected. They always = 'publicans.

: )

Ed Abbey said...

Most agreed with both you and Alex. I'm willing to bet the Republicans are going to use this as a campaign issue in the fall and those that voted against it are labeled as anti-American. In my belief, those who voted against it are the true patriots in preserving our freedoms that this country was founded on.

Burning the flag really pisses me off. But so do people in the Olympics who wear it draped across their soldiers, those who display it wrong and those who allow it to be flown tattered in front of their homes. All go against the rules of respect for using the American flag.

Miss Cellania said...

Its a campaign thing, good for a blurb or a photo-op. Th more informed American citizens are concerned with things like the war, health insurance, education, jobs, etc etc. Things that will make a difference to a LOT of people.

When you sort it all out, we all want as much freedom as possible. Thats what America is!

Grant said...

I blame the current political environment on President Bush. I think he means well, but he's a crusader with the attitude that his beliefs are right and should be forced on everyone else. I don't think our flag should be burned, but I don't think it should be a law, especially not in the Constitution. One senator in favor of it actually said something like "It needs to be protected because it's a symbol of our freedom of expression" without a hint of irony. Redneck moron.

mal said...

it is fortunate that the founders did not make amending the constitution an easy process. I would be afraid that all sorts of junk that should not be there would wind up in it (ie Prohibition)

It is easy to allow people to express things that we agree with. The real challenge for freedom comes when we can allow some to express something we find offensive. Freedom of speech (expression) has to be without fetters or it is not Free

What frosts my pumpkin is that we have REAL issues before us and we are wasting energy on this bologna?

KristieD said...

i think i am alone in this, but i dont really care if someone burns a flag or not. To me, its an expression of free speech and to each their own. I think the right to do that should be protected not made illegal. I feel that this is something that represents a moral issue some people have and in my perfect world, its not my government's job to tell me whats right or wrong beyond what is accepted by cultures around the world (like murder, theft- those sorts of things humans innately dont like and tend to do something in retaliation). Didnt our government already try this amendment once before? I think it will be a sad day for our rights & freedoms if this sort of thing is ever passed because it will only open the door for more and more freedoms to go away. but thats just my 2 cents.

Brianne said...

I had a somewhat heated conversation over this throughout my lunch break today at work.

I kept my mouth shut (though it was difficult), but I can't help but feel that people deserve their rights - which INCLUDES gay marriage, flag burning, and the sort.

Scott said...

I am glad that it did not get passed and was surprised by how close it was as well. It will be an election issue for sure.

I am glad the right to do so is preserved even if it bothers people. That is the core of free speech.


Reverberate58 said...

I get so worried the closer we get to any elections because no matter how deep we dig, how much we read or digest, when the time comes to pick the right people to run in any office you never know what you get! Look at Bush! Look at Clinton! How can we be sure that we get what we vote for. We can't because it has become a process that is more set up to entertain us then really be about doing things for us! I did not participate in my voting rights until I hit 40 and I am always over confused on issues! Hubby does his best to help me weed through but I just find all this so not the way it is suppose to be!

Nihilistic said...

I'm glad it didn't pass...I'm sad that only one vote though...Being able to burn the flag is part of what that flag stands for!!

Ellen said...

If you look at the issue closely, you will see that it is a smoke-screen away from the real problems we need to pay attention to. But then that's what our politicians are so good at. When it comes to solving important issues at hand, they fail miserably then throw out some red herring in order to distract and confuse the masses.

Your readers here have already shown that they are smarter than that. What are those silly politicians thinking???

Mr. Althouse said...

saur ~ did you get my email??

Regarding your post and an anti flag burning amendment:

Your comment about opening the door to an amendment frenzy may be a bit extreme, but certainly not outside the realm of possibilities. Although a slippery slope argument... some slopes are indeed slippery and therefore not necessarily fallacies.

Your example of the Patriot Act being unconstitutional is sobering, for if it were incorporated into the constitution, it would be by definition constitutional - and THAT would open the very gates of hell.

My opposition to a flag burning amendment is pretty consistent with my political ideology, which is one that must be tempered with my political reality, but in this case they coexist very nicely. I want to see less of the government, not more. I want it's presence in my life reduced, not increased. If my tax dollars are going to be spent, I want them spent on something that will produce tangible results - not censorship driven loyalty.

I agree that burning the most recognized symbol of freedom the world has ever seen is a repugnant act, but that act is and should be protected by the very freedom that which is being burned symbolizes. I don't take it personally, I take pitty.


Kathleen said...

Screw the amendment. All posturing and a violation of our freedom of expression. It would be nice to have the flag manufactured using non-flamable fabric. Amusing to watch flamers trying to make the point to no avail. :o)

The Lazy Iguana said...

To me this is very simple. Here is my logic!

The Constitution spells out how the government works. You know, two Senators per State, and Reps based on population. The three branches. Seperation of powers. And other stuff like that.

The AMENDMENTS spell out the freedoms the people have. The Constitution itself, without the Amendments, contains no freedoms for the people.

Therefore, ONLY Amendments that EXPAND freedoms should be ratified! That simple! We do not want, nor do we need, an Amendment limiting freedom. Did we learn NOTHING from the Amendment banning alcohol?

I posted about this already. This act is the desperate death throws of a neo-consertive movement gasping for that last breath of air.

Badoozie said...

fine, people can burn the flag if they want to. but freedoms? every single person in this country has a line they won't cross. and when we get to THEIR line, what will they do.

i also agree with the people here who said, why are we wasting time on this crap when there are real issues at hand, like the need for medicaid, medicare funding etc. we have Head Start loosing funding and we're all worried about the flag? without people, there is no flag.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

It's election time, hence falg burning and gay marraige come up.

Shocking political nonsense.

jj mollo said...

The hypocrites in Congress don't believe there should be a flag burning amendment. It would be insane. People would be burning flags from morning til night just to prove they can. Very few people care one way or the other about this issue, but the ones who do care are a lot easier to talk with if you've voted for the amendment. They foam at the mouth quite a bit less when they think you might be on their side.

The fact is, the Congresscritters all line up, begging to vote for it. The party leaders calibrate it pretty close. God forbid it should actually pass, but we need to get our guys some street cred. It might be amusing to see who has to vote against it. I'm betting they're mostly ready to retire or from liberal districts anyway. Somebody told me that even Hillary voted for it. That must have given them a scare.