June 22, 2005


The House of Representatives – again – voted to add an amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawing the burning of American flags.

You know what, guys? A vote on an anti-flag-burning amendment is not a poll asking whether or not you approve of people who burn the American flag. Some of us use it as a test to gauge how much respect and understanding you have for the First Amendment – not to mention the Constitution. Conservatives like to point out – correctly, I might add – that the U.S. Constitution is great in part because it limits the power of the state rather than the freedom of the people who live in this country. Is it really too much to ask that we keep it that way?

Unpatriotic self-loathing reactionaries have every right to burn their own property as long as they are not committing arson. I have yet to hear a compelling reason why we should take that right from them. So what if burning the flag is offensive? The U.S. Constitution is no place for Political Correctness, whether it’s left-wing or right-wing.

Some of these House Republicans are just unclear on the concept. Others, I have no doubt, are dirty political hacks. Ooh, let's see how many Democrats vote against this amendment so we can hang “unpatriotic” around their necks. If you ever wonder why “patriotism” and “flag-waver” are sneer words in some quarters, well, this is part of the reason. Some people make patriotism embarrassing.

Democrats who vote for amendments like this are gutless cowards. But if they wouldn’t promote people to party leadership positions who compare U.S. soldiers to Nazis, Stalinists, and Khmer Rouge thugs they might have a wee bit less to be defensive about. They might want to think about that sort of thing when votes like this one come up.

UPDATE: Sigh. Some people in the comments are sticking up for Dick Durbin and his comparison of Gitmo to the crimes of Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot. I don’t particularly feel like getting into an argument about this, which is the reason I never even mentioned the flap until now. But I will make one point since it fell right into my lap.

Someone who goes by the name of Scrapiron left the following comment, after which he was summarily banned from ever posting here again:
The amendment should include an automatic death penalty. Of course I also think that the educated idiots should receive the death penalty just for wasting oxygen when they breathe. [Emphasis added.]
Now that, my friends, makes me think of Pol Pot.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at June 22, 2005 6:18 PM

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