View Full Version : Nothing Says 'Loser' Like A Burning Flag

06-25-05, 04:25 AM
Nothing Says 'Loser' Like A Burning Flag
June 25, 2005
by Joe Mariani

The US House of Representatives has passed a proposed Constitutional amendment that will prohibit one of the favorite activities of the hate-America crowd: trashing the American flag. The proposed amendment reads, "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States." If the measure passes the Senate by a two-thirds vote, then 34 states (2/3) must ratify it within seven years.

Until 1989, 48 states already had laws prohibiting the desecration of our national symbol. There was also a Federal law to the same effect passed in 1968. All of that was thrown out by a 5-4 Supreme Court decision saying that burning the flag is a kind of "free speech," thus protected by the First Amendment. The only way to overturn a Supreme Court decision is to amend the Constitution itself, and that may finally happen after several attempts. But is it really necessary?

Desecrating the most widely-recognised symbol of America, in my opinion, is not any kind of speech at all. It's the opposite: the end of speech, the end of debate, the end of principled opposition. Those who do so make it clear that there can be no compromise or argument with them. Once you think that burning or besmirching an American flag will make your point, your argument is already lost. If you can't express your point of view in words, it probably isn't worth consideration anyway. Anyone who burns an American flag is, in effect, symbolically setting fire to America. They're willing to seek our destruction in order to get their way. Trashing the American flag, the one symbol all Americans can claim as their own, is not merely unpatriotic... it's anti-patriotic.

Let them burn the American flag if they want to... just allow real Americans to defend it appropriately. They can make no clearer statement to the effect that they hate America and everything it stands for than that. Our flag, and our country, have been through a lot worse than having some hemp-smoking hippies declare their everlasting hatred of us. We should make it clear to them, in turn, that disrespecting the American flag will automatically lose the support of all true Americans for whatever their lost cause is. Causing harm to the flag only hurts them, not America.

There's no reason to change the Constitution to protect the flag. What we really need is a federal law giving Americans the right to rescue a flag from desecration by any means necessary, short of causing death or permanent injury. I wouldn't mind seeing a bunch of America-bashers interrupted in their flag burning by a gushing firehose or a string of firecrackers going off, would you?