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House Votes for Flag-Burning Amendment

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The House of Representatives has again voted to approve a constitutional amendment that would ban the burning of the American flag.

I’m sure the Republicans who back this measure believe that they are doing their patriotic duty by voting in favor of the amendment, but in fact, the opposite is true.

What could be more un-American than believing that our great country is so weak that it cannot withstand criticism and dissent? The flag is a symbol of something, not the thing itself. There are already laws against treason. Are we really so insecure that we need to start legislating against thought crimes in addition to the real ones?

Adding insult to potential injury, Rep. Randy (Duke) Cunningham, R-Calif., exploited the memory of 9/11 to score cheap political points when he spoke in support of the amendment. “Ask the men and women who stood on top of the [World] Trade Center,” he said. “Ask them and they will tell you: pass this amendment.” This should be seen as nothing less than a despicable act of opportunistic political ventriloquism. It also has the distinction of being incorrect. A 2005 survey showed that 63% of those sampled oppose a flag burning amendment, up from 53% in 2004.

The U.S. is a great nation because it allows the most freedom of expression in the world. Passing this amendment would protect the flag, but at the cost of diminishing what it symbolizes.

(parenthetical remarks)

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  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com/ Eric Berlin

    Pete –

    Do great minds think alike?

    Looks like we just checked in with the same topic just about at the same time.

    I believe we’re pretty far apart in ideologies, but on this issue we’re very much on the same page.

  • http://spaces.msn.com/members/dorksandlosers Tan The Man

    Although I understand why people would see why flag burning can be both liberating and hurtful to burn in protest, today’s world hasn’t been kind to this country, for reasons both right and wrong. This country needs to show its unity, and flag burning shows too much hate than it does love for this country. I am always reminded of the film The American President and how Michael Douglas protects the right to burn flags. (I’m putting this on both pages)

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    Sez who? This nation purportedly is about freedom, right? Unity, shmunity. People are free to love, hate, or be indifferent to this artificial construct — and if the ideals of this nation mean anything more than bullshit, then people ought to be free to express what they feel, whether it is popular, offensive, or not. Otherwise, America is a sham.

  • Dan

    We already have regulation of “hate speech” and “fighting words” so a flag burning amendment is really nothing new. We’ve already crossed that threshold.