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.