June 27, 2006

Flag Burning

I have an uncle named Richard. My mother tells me all the time how much I remind her of him. My grandmother, in her declining years, sometimes slipped and called me by his name. But we've never met. I only know him through their stories. He died in the service of his country, in Vietnam, four years before I was born. He was just 19. My mother cries for him every Memorial Day and every anniversary of his death. So I understand the emotional appeal of protecting the symbol of the country for which he died from those who hold that country in contempt. I understand it very well.

But when you compel respect for a symbol of freedom, it no longer stands for freedom. To me, that takes my uncle’s sacrifice, and the sacrifice of all other fallen veterans who gave their lives to defend liberty, and sells it on the cheap. The only thing that would ever make me want to burn an American flag is a law saying I cannot. Because there is another American icon which I hold in higher esteem than the flag – the Constitution. And the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression – not just the expression of popular ideas, or safe ideas, or inoffensive ideas.

This proposed amendment is a cynical attempt on the part of Republicans to wrap themselves in the flag and make those who hold the Constitution sacred come out "in favor of" burning flags. I don't think most of them give a damn about the flag, but would rather hide behind this particular emotionally charged issue than try to deal with the actual substantial problems we face. They want to change the subject. They want to make an oxymoron of our Constitution for their own short-term political benefit.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by Mr Green at June 27, 2006 08:25 AM | TrackBack

You're exactly right. I'm a conservative, an independent, and I did two tours in 'Nam - but it really pisses me off that Congress fritters away its time with things like this - and investigating the use of steroids in major league baseball - instead of paying attention to important things like destroying Al Queda and fixing our illegal alien problem.

Posted by: Pat in Kentucky at June 27, 2006 04:41 PM