Sunday, July 2, 2006

Flag Burning A Goes Down in Flames

Democratic senators (and 3 courageous Republican colleagues) struck a blow for freedom of speech against Republican leadership's attempts to suppress it. On the eve of Independence Day, Majority Leader Frist (R-TN), the vast majority of Republicans, and 14 Democrats (including Minority Leader Harry Reid, of Nevada) tried to abridge our First Amendement with their amendment that would allow Congress to enact laws to prevent the "desecration of the flag." They nearly succeeded with a vote of 66 to 34 for the amendment: 67 votes were required to send the proposed amendments to the states for ratification. (Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, was the lone GOP leader who tried to warn the lemmings before they lunged off the cliff.) Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in WWII, eloquently stated, "This objectionable expression is obscene, it is painful, it is unpatriotic but I believe Americans gave their lives in many wars to make certain all Americans have a right to express themselves, even those who harbor hateful thoughts." It seems to me self evident that the most repulsive, vile, and base speech needs to be protected to ensure that all of our free expression may be vented without fear of reprisal. There is an analogue to what Hitler did to the Jews in that they were a minority that were easily (albeit wrongly) vilified. If the government is allowed to perpetuate evil against the weakest, the least popular, and/or the most vulnerable, then it can go after any racial minority, heterodoxist, physically (or mentally) challenged person, etc. If you are offended by the senators' vote, you may want to ask them why they haven't taken on other controversial topics that you deem more worthy of moral censure.

Cf. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/28/washington/28flag.html.

4 comments:

piperfromtn said...

FLAG burning.

Oh. The L makes a difference there...

I thought it was something like burning the new Superman or Adam and Steve...  


Seriously, I think your point is well argued.  There was a caller on Rush that mentioned the same thing.  "Our flag is tougher than that..." said the caller.
Seems to make sense to me too.  Most old tough guys, who valiantly defended there country in WW2, would likely confirm what Inouye said.
The flag from Fort McHenry survived the British onslaught and hangs today in the Smithsonian.  It inspired the national anthem to be written.
There were several flags at Iwo Jima.  Some were destroyed in the process of ascending Mt. Surabachi.  We finally got one up there.  That act inspired the famous photograph(even if it was staged) and statue.
Actor Lee Marvin(now buried in Arlington Cemetary, in between two generals) was a hero at Iwo Jima.  His buddy, Bob Ketchem(otherwise known as Captain Kangaroo)was there also.  Bob saw Lee take shrapnel in his hind-end. Bob was injured on his arm.  
Those two were men, not metrosexuals.  
Frist is a metrosexual, who neither inspires music, art nor heroic deeds.

Sorry for going on too long, guys  

jakeho said...

Jon, thanks for the flag info. I had heard that the Iwo Jima flag raising incident was stage but I'm still glad that they got the pic: it reminds us that we won and at what price. Kudo's to the vets of that august generations! Further, I had forgotten (or didn't realize) that Captain Kangaroo was a WWII hero: as a kid, I knew him only as a kind, friendly Mister Rogers prototype.

jharkansas said...

I think beating up flag burners ought to be protected speech.  

This ammendment, though well-intentioned, would make martyrs out of fools.  And who wishes to see an unbathed, long-haired Berkeley student made into the patron saint of freedom of speech, hmm?

jakeho said...

Joseph, I fear that you may have a more exalted view of the pols than I. I tend to think that it was to a great extent a naked attempt to appeal to national chauvanism with jingoist jargon. If sacred symbols may be profaned lawfully, should a temporal one be given more protection?