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One thing that doesn't burn my butt

Well, Congress just barely failed to pass an anti-flag-burning amendment By a single vote, the measure will not be passed on to the several states, where it would have taken 38 of them to get it approved.

And I'm glad.

I have to confess, I get a little thrill whenever I see an American flag burned here in the United States.

All my life, I've loved things like paradoxes and oxymorons and other intellectual puzzles. I independently coined the description of vacuum cleaners: "When they suck, they don't suck. And when they don't suck, they suck." And the American flag -- and its potency as a symbol of freedom -- represents such a contradiction.

To my way of thinking, there is a direct and inverse relationship between the flag's strength as a physical object and as a symbol. The more we protect one, the weaker we make the other.

Right now, the flag is treated as pretty much any other hunk of cloth in the eyes of the law. One can burn it, use it as a doormat, wear it as a bandanna or a poncho or a bikini (that's one "desecration" that I almost always endorse), or fly it proudly -- the law doesn't really care. If you can do it with a blanket, you can do it with the flag. You might run afoul of other laws if you burn it without taking certain precautions, or if the flag in question isn't yours, but that's about it.

As is fitting and just.

The flag stands for freedom. A bunch of freedoms, in fact. Many of them are spelled out in the Constitution and its Amendments, but that list is hardly all-enclusive. And I firmly believe that the freedom to burn that very flag is one of those freedoms.

Also, the flag-burners serve a very valuable public service. How else can they so quickly pronounce themselves as ignorant, hateful, irrelevant assholes than by publicly burning a flag? It saves a huge amount of time in weighing whether or not they are worth our time and attention in debating them.

So half a cheer to Congress for failing to pass the Anti-Flag-Desecration amendment. (The fact that it passed the House cost them 1.5 cheers, and failed in the Senate by one vote cost them another full cheer.) Perhaps now they can go back to discussing far more important matters -- such as Dung Beetle Appreciation Day and National Halitosis Month and other lofty matters of state.


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» 7 Deadly Sins linked with Pride: Flag Burning

Comments (51)

Bravo Jay - my sentiments e... (Below threshold)

Bravo Jay - my sentiments exactly.

My stand is a little differ... (Below threshold)

My stand is a little different. I also believe you have a right to burn the flag. However I am also PC and it hurts me to see it done.

So my solution is you burn the flag within your rights and I beat the shit out of you within my rights...

Jay Tea, you remember the n... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea, you remember the name of the man who said "Damn the United States, may I never hear the name again", and his wish came true? Did you know that during the Civil war, men died to protect that flag from hitting the ground? If it is unlawful to speak disrepectfully to a police officer, who is a public servant, inspite of 1st amendment rights, if it so irritates me that I wish to exihibit extreme violence toward anyone burning an American Flag, would my acts be considered freedom of expression, an extention of freedom of speech? If not, why not?

Then we should have the fre... (Below threshold)

Then we should have the freedom to flush the Koran down the pooper chute.

Should I be able to fly the... (Below threshold)

Should I be able to fly the Nazi flag outside my home?

you burn the flag within... (Below threshold)

you burn the flag within your rights and I beat the shit out of you within my rights...

The old "fightin' words!" argument.

This is what's used to justify prohibiting name-calling under the law as "hate speech".

Frankly, it smacks of "I can't control myself, so it's all your fault for being rude".

Further, is cross burning f... (Below threshold)

Further, is cross burning freedom of speech, even if the burner buys the wood? While an individual can own the cloth or whatever material, the flag is constructed from, the symbol belongs to the nation. Your right to free speech stops at our right to a national symbol.

Wait, wait, wait. So if I'... (Below threshold)

Wait, wait, wait. So if I'm reading this right, a corollary of your argument follows: we should agitate for congress to go out of its legislative way to protect the swastika, the stars and bars, and that ubiquitous portrait of Che Guevara from desecration.

Because, it seems, doing so would specifically rob those flags or pictures of their symbolic power for neo-nazis, seccesh, or commies. And then I could go get a swastika or the stars and bars tattooed on my arm (because they really do look pretty snappy) and not be thought to be a fascist or Union-hating riffraff because *congress* has magically robbed a symbol of its power by protecting it.

Is that what you're saying? Because put in the above light, it seems a bit silly.

Should I be able to fly ... (Below threshold)

Should I be able to fly the Nazi flag outside my home?


And we'll have the right to think of you as a racist/anti-semite/whathaveyou. That's what "freedom" means. The ability to offend others without having to fear for your own safety.

People who burn the flag offend me -- yet, ironically, there I times I feel like barbecuing up an Old Glory to a nice crispy brown. We're all free to be offensive in a free society.

Is this a free society?

Oh, and another thing. Wou... (Below threshold)

Oh, and another thing. Would you say that the bald eagle is symbolically representative of America? Because as far as I know it is.

And guess what? *It is protected from "desecration" (well, being hunted) by the US Government.*

"is cross burning freedom o... (Below threshold)

"is cross burning freedom of speech"


But if you do it on someone else's front lawn it is trespassing and destruction of private property; and if you do it without a proper permit it could very well violate a city ordinance.

Your right to free speech stops at our right to a national symbol.

Spoken like a liberal pushing for Hate Speech laws. "You're right to freedom of speech stops at our right to not be subject to being offended."

i don't agree with flag bur... (Below threshold)

i don't agree with flag burning, but this ain't a real hot issue with me. i feel like if law enforcement would do it's job, the arsonists would be arrested. isn't it against the law in most places to start a fire in a public r.o.w., even if they have a permit to assemble, starting a fire in a public place is against the law, isn't it?

Flakbait, if those flags yo... (Below threshold)

Flakbait, if those flags you describe held sway over the symbolism of a nation, then that would be up to that nation concerning flag burning. I suggest to you the Nazis would have frowned in the extreme, at the thought of burning the swastika ladened Nazi flag. Rwilymz, you are free to irritate who you wish, at your own risk.

if law enforcement would... (Below threshold)

if law enforcement would do it's job, the arsonists would be arrested.

They are, and for the reasons you list. Right to assemble and freedom of speech does not obviate public safety laws.

But that's usually a misdemeanor with a $50 fine ... which isn't enough for some people.

rwilymz, go yell fire in a ... (Below threshold)

rwilymz, go yell fire in a theater. See where you freedom of speech defense gets you. If you do not call me a liberal, which I find to be the equivelent of calling you an idiot. I don't know if you are, but if you call me a liberal, then you must be and idiot.

Rwilymz, you are free to... (Below threshold)

Rwilymz, you are free to irritate who you wish, at your own risk.

I irritate quite a bit, thanks. I'll cite you as authoritative, I'm sure.

I get extremely irritating here: http://dblyelloline.blogspot.com/

And I'll be irritating on this very subject if I'd ever stop being too lazy to post the essay I wrote two days ago.

But "at my risk"? what have you got against freedom?

rwilymz, go yell fire in... (Below threshold)

rwilymz, go yell fire in a theater. See where you freedom of speech defense gets you.

You've got to be kidding.

You are equating the natural impulse for self-preservation in fleeing a burning building to the ideological effrontery of seeing a symbol you cherish being torched?

Do you expect me to take you seriously?

"I don't know if you are, but if you call me a liberal, then you must be and idiot."

You are making the self-same argument that liberals make when trying to rationalize hate speech laws. "I have a superior right to not be offended".

Find the "right to not be offended" in the Constitution.

Shall I wait? or are you going to concede now?

I have to confess,... (Below threshold)
I have to confess, I get a little thrill whenever I see an American flag burned here in the United States.

Just out of curiosity, Jay, how often had you had that little thrill? I've lived in this country for over half a century and I have never seen an American flag burned. From what I'm reading lately, though, it must happen all the time. Maybe I just need to get out more.

Let's step back an realize ... (Below threshold)

Let's step back an realize what burning a flag means.

A flag symbolically represents your country to its core. Not just it current incarnation, but down the foundation. In the case of the US, this include our free speech, innocent until proven guilty, and democracy.

So when someone burns it, they are symbolically destroying not just the US as a country or incarnation, but they are also destroying those ideals. They are saying that they want to take those things away from you forcibly (or at least against your will) and replacement with what they want there.

So we have have a percieved paradox where you can't have free speech unless you allow someone to advocate forcibly taking it away from you. Not just advocate taking it away from you. Let me repeat that: allow someone to advocate forcibly taking it away from you.

They are not advocating change. They are threatening change via a symbolic violent act.

There folks aren't just limited to free speach as well. They can use all our freedoms to build towards on day taking them away from you.

Here's the problem with viewing this a necessary paradox. These people can make their efforts to seize control through our system of government. You can argue that I can make the effort to stop them. Fine. But accepting the percieved paradox, each time they fail, they can try again. All those of us who like our freedoms have to do is fail once and its game over. The only hope after that is bloody revolution which with todays technology in far from assured success.

My personal feelings are th... (Below threshold)

My personal feelings are that Yes burning the flag is protected under freedom of speech. But as a Veteran, and the son of Veterans and the father of a son currently on active duty, it should be my right to either put the burning flag out using your unpatriotic, disrespectful butt, or to wrap the flaming symbol of freedom around your ungrateful Draft dodging neck. You want to make a lasting statement, do it with conviction, just like the budhist monk in the famous photo taken during the Vietnam war. Yes it is your Constitutional right to burn the flag as an American, But I feel that some rights should have to be earned. Before you dare complain about the country and disrespect the country you should earn that right. Serve your country whatever way you can, be it Military, Civil service, Community service whatever, but Serve The Country someway. Then you have the right to complain if you dont like the way things are being run.

You're getting a little tor... (Below threshold)

You're getting a little tortured, there, in your analytical depth, arncha, jpm?

They can use all our freedoms to build towards on day taking them away from you.

So the idea is to beat them to the punch?

"We're so free we'll take away your freedoms before you take ours!"

That'll show 'em!

You can't equate symbolism to reality. A symbolic destruction is just that: symbolic. It's a short step from
1] equivocating burning the flag to fomenting revolution; to
2] equivocating hanging the president in effigy to assassination.

One is symbolic, the other is real.

Two different things. That's why there's two different words used to describe them.

The only [censored censored... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

The only [censored censored] pukes I see burning American flags are Muslims in the Middle East.

Now, I don't know if I care about this amendment or not. If I saw someone burning the flag on my street, you can be sure we'd have some sharp words and maybe even a fist fight.

I'm not sure we need an amendment, though. Remember when the Cubs' Rick Monday saved the flag from two dirtbag liberal hippies in Dodger Stadium in 1976?

That was a PROUD moment for America. We got to see dirtbag liberals in all their glory, and a man who honors the flag doing what comes naturally.

Quite a contrast.

I have to get a permit to b... (Below threshold)

I have to get a permit to burn leaves in my back yard but burning the flag/cross is ok?

When the Supreme Court uphe... (Below threshold)

When the Supreme Court upheld the state's rights to pass laws against flag burning, they came up with a new twist on the First Amendment: Symbolic speech.

Imagine how often the Supreme Court will have to reverse all the penumbras and zones and "symbolic" speech - well, all the laws they've passed and "rights" they have discovered if it "offends" a Muslim, say when someone is taken to court for burning the "palestinian" flag. Assuming the person lives long enough to get to the Supreme Court.

Click on the link at the bo... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Click on the link at the bottom here to see and hear the story of Rick Monday saving the flag 30 years ago this month.


The only thing more un-Amer... (Below threshold)

The only thing more un-American than burning The Flag is making the act a crime.

- MikeB

I've never seen a flag dese... (Below threshold)

I've never seen a flag desecrated in person, but I've been exposed to it quite a bit -- most memorably in news coverage from New York City about a year ago:



The eagle is protected beca... (Below threshold)

The eagle is protected because it's an endangered species.

As to the flag burning: it is a symbol of my country and there do exist specific rules and regulations vis-a-vis handling it. However, all of those regulations have been largely ignored since the 60s when generalized disrespect of a lot of things became the norm.

I still don't like flag burning, nor (with apologies to Jay Tea) do I wish to see an American (or any other flag) made into a bikini - or as jeans or as a shirt or whatever. One of the things that I think has happened since the 60s (dear heavens, I'm OLD)is that we have forgotten to insist upon respect in many areas. And we should: respect for our flag, respect for our president (regardless of whether we voted for him), our police and firemen, our soldiers, and so forth. This slouchy contempt is about as infuriating and detrimental to my blood pressure as anything I can think of!

Peoples! Burning the flag i... (Below threshold)

Peoples! Burning the flag is not something for the Supreme Court to decide! Neither is it "symbolic" free speech. The Supreme Court doesn't think the American people are smart enough to amend the Constitution, so they do it for us. Why do we also have freedom of the press? Wouldn't that be considered "symbolic" speech? I think the Bill of Rights should be scrapped anyway. Read Federalist Paper No. 84, where Hamilton says, "It has been several times truly remarked that bills of rights are, in their origin, stipulations between kings and their subjects." "I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power."

Call me crazy Jay, but I ha... (Below threshold)

Call me crazy Jay, but I have this rage building inside of me after reading your post. "Flag-burning" as you so easily put it is the way to officially retire the flag from service. I was in the boy scouts, I worked my way to the rank of Eagle scout and while at the boy scouts, I learned that there are only TWO non-military organizations that are officially recognized to retire the American Flag from service (see that "from service"? I've said it twice): The American Legion, and The Boy Scouts of America.

"Flag-burning" is not free speech, it is destroying a symbol of our nation in a vulgar way, in such a way that SHOULD be a solemn and meaningful ceremony (one that ends in taps as a flag is draped over a fire, and every person present saluting the flag that scores of men over the course of history have fought and died over). To paraphrase an earlier commenter, during the civil war men died protecting the flag from even touching the ground.

It is a powerful symbol of our nation. Please protect it.

[email protected] Jay Tea... (Below threshold)


@ Jay Tea

Sorry but I disagree.

I don't see the Flag as a symbol of freedom. I see the Flag as a symbol of America, something far less philosophical and rather more concrete.

To me burning the Flag is tantamount to renounciation of citizenship. It is a public statement that the individual has severed all relationship with America.

rwilymz wrote:"You c... (Below threshold)

rwilymz wrote:
"You can't equate symbolism to reality. A symbolic destruction is just that: symbolic. It's a short step from
1] equivocating burning the flag to fomenting revolution; to
2] equivocating hanging the president in effigy to assassination."

Hang the president in effigy and let me know if takes more than a day for the Secret Service or FBI to pay you a visit.

Quite simply, burning the f... (Below threshold)

Quite simply, burning the flag is a slap in the face to Americans. Why not propose a law that burning the flag is not illegal but instead automatically renounces of your citizenship?

Think about the the soliders and Navy corpsman at Iwo Jima. There are some young folk here who have been poisioned the last 30 years of negative thinking about the flag. To them I say, get some time in life.

Right now there are only th... (Below threshold)

Right now there are only three countries in the world that ban desecration of their respective flags: Iran, China, and Cuba. This is not company that I would want the United States to keep.

Yes, the flag is an important symbol of America, but part of what makes America great is that it is far more than simple devotion to symbols.

As a veteran from a militar... (Below threshold)

As a veteran from a military family that goes back to the revolution I can't imagine burning a flag. It disturbs me to see it anywhere but waving from an appropriate flagpole. That said I agree that this country is not defined by that symbol and the weenie who does attempt to insult the country by burning the flag is showing his lack of appreciation for this country and the very right that allows him to burn it. To me it is the ultimate display of ignorance, immaturity and foolishness. None of which can be legislated against, at least not in this United States of America.

Burning a flag is a retarde... (Below threshold)

Burning a flag is a retarded way to make a statement. It's insulting, degrading, mean-spirited and counter productive.

Yet, the pricks who want to burn flags must have the right to do so.

I actually think VagaBond h... (Below threshold)

I actually think VagaBond has a great idea - if you burn the flag, no problem - you have officially renounced your citizenship.

Tears still come to my eyes every time I see a picture of those firemen attempting to raise the flag at Ground Zero.

The flag itself is just a piece of cloth, just as my beloved bible is just a book. However, what they represent to me is incredibly important and special.

If my flag (which we proudly display from our front porch) or my bible were to be destroyed in a fire, they could both be replaced. But I would NEVER destroy either of them intentionally. I am blessed to live in this wonderful Nation, in good times and bad. And I'm certainly blessed to live under the laws of both God and America.

The flag itself is just a p... (Below threshold)

The flag itself is just a piece of cloth. Its worth...its value is what we place in it ourselves. Someone who feels so little to the flag as to burn it simply burns cloth since the flag holds no meaning to them.

Likewise the fireman raising the flag at Ground Zero placed great value upon that flag and made it special.

Let the "protestor" burn the flag of my chosen country because in their hands it is a meaningless gesture to me. Their simple act of burning does nothing to lessen what *I* feel when I look upon the flag.

As someone who was not born to this great country I view the flag as a symbol of hope, opportunity, and yes, freedom. I proudly gained my citizenship, proudly served the flag in the military and proudly fly the flag in front of my home. For me, the flag holds a deal of value.

No idiot with a match could ever take that away no matter how many flags they burned.

My major reason for being a... (Below threshold)
Mike Boelter:

My major reason for being against an anti-flag burning amendment is that it restricts a citizen of the 'land of the free and the home of the brave' from doing what any ragheaded yahoo in a third world hell hole is free to do. Burn an American Flag.

I still regret the day I di... (Below threshold)

I still regret the day I did not rip the flag used as a headband from some hippy scum.

We have PC trust upon us for consideration of others but none for mine.


I utterly hate the idea of ... (Below threshold)

I utterly hate the idea of banning flag burning. Yes, the people who burn the flags are usually in the most dire need of a violent curb-stomping --- but the "solution" is even worse.

I hate speech codes. I loathe the concept of hate crime. Heck, I even think groups have a right to protest at funerals (by the same token, the mourners should have the right to beat the beejeezus out of them) Why on God's Earth would I approve of banning flag burning?

I forgot to add to my earli... (Below threshold)

I forgot to add to my earlier comments that i Have taken part in the burning of the American Flag, and was honored to do so. At the end of its life, the flag may be burned to retire it. Our local VFW held a retirement ceremony for torn up faded and otherwise non serviceable flags. My Boy Scout troop assisted and it was something to be proud of. Each Flag was handled with dignity and placed gently into the fire with respect.

Why would someone want to b... (Below threshold)

Why would someone want to burn the flag in the first place? Political statement? Upset with the government? Knee jerk reaction? Try burning a copy of the New York Times (it could be any newspaper. this one is just more topical) in the middle of town square. If you burn ANYTHING out in the open in the middle of the street, you get arrested. Why don't those same laws that prevent you from burning your divorce papaers in town square apply to the American Flag? The arguement that Iran, etc has laws that prevent people burning their flags and we shouldn't be in that company is skewed. They also have laws against murder, rape and watching FoxNews, but I don't think we want to follow in those footsteps either.

In my last comment, I stated that the person who burnt the flag should have his citizenship revoked. I think this is the best solution. If you are unhappy with the government, write a letter. However, for all you "please let's just all get along"" people, here is an option. Get a permit to burn the flag. If you don't get the permit, you get arrested. Not for burning the flag, but for burning something without a permit.

However, that person who burns his flag, is retiring it. For himself.

Hmmm.In a similar ... (Below threshold)


In a similar vein:

Is this whole debate over burning the Flag, which wouldn't even be imaginable 50 years ago, a result of some cultural process?

Today's "Superman" now has as his motto "Truth, Justice and all that stuff".

Wow. Invigorating isn't it?

Natalie Maines cannot possibly understand why anybody would be patriotic.

Makes me want to dance the naked Rumba that does.


Where, and when, did America get put into the discount bin?

Hang the president in ef... (Below threshold)

Hang the president in effigy and let me know if takes more than a day for the Secret Service or FBI to pay you a visit.

I doubt they would. For the Secret Service and FBI are aware that symbols aren't reality, also. "Symbolic threats" are everywhere; we tend to look at those which have some component of tangibility to go along with it. And in any event, visiting is not the same as arresting. Nor is it the same as convicting for assassination... which is the nearest analogy.

Why don't those same laws that prevent you from burning your divorce papaers in town square apply to the American Flag?

For the umpteenth time: they do.

It's already a crime to burn a US flag
1] without a permit on public right of way, or
2] that belongs to someone else.

Listen! I'll say this again for the hard of hearing: IT. IS. ALREADY. A. CRIME.

Do you get it yet?

The issue here is: some people want it to be MORE OF A CRIME than burning the NYT on the sidewalk, because, for some reason, a symbol and artifact of the US is "more sacred" than a symbol and artifact of our free press. Most others do not.

This is, frankly, a legitimate difference of political opinion, and one which should be decided in our political process, which devolves upon republican democracy. NOT as some axiomatic and dogmatic tyrannical imposition.

American flags are burned everyday by people protesting the US and our policies ... typically by foreigners in foreign lands. How many Americans burn the US flag for such petulant reasons? in the US? annually?

If you aren't good at fractions, expand the time to the last decade. How many Americans burned the US flag in peevish protest in the last 10 years. 2? 3? I know of one: some weenie at Bush's first inauguration, who was stopped by a Gore-supporter there to protest Bush's first inauguration herself.

One. In the last 6 years. Even with all the hooha over "illegal wars" and "stolen elections" and "rude US foreign policy" coming from our own tear-stained dweebs. One. Anyone know of others?

Let's set aside the emotional claptrap for a second [I know; why don't I sprout wings and fly to the moon while I'm at it? Ask people to ignore their emotions is foolish]: as a purely practical matter, what is the cost-benefit ratio of the Congressional debate [going on now for well over a decade] and which isn't showing any sign of stopping, to be followed [if/when the idiotic thing passes] by legislative debate in all 50 states, all in attempt to stop a handful -- literally, a handful -- of panty-wetting crybabies every decade from wetting their panties in public?

Is it worth the cost? And, yes, there is a very great financial cost involved, here. Legislators are paid to do our deliberating for us, and they have only so much legislative time each year and no more. If they're devoting a month to debating the "flag burning amendment" then they aren't using that month to debate new roads and whatnot. Legislators are paid quite well most places, and the legislative season is fairly short -- six, eight months in some states. You want to pay them $20K each to debate flag burning, and $60K to debate everything else?

Is it that important?

Is unburned American flags worth potholes to you? Because that is the practical cost.

Unless it's no new schools.

Unless it's no laws addressing sex offenders.

Unless it's property tax relief.

"I'm sorry we don't have funding for updated textbooks this year, but the schedule was filled by the 'flag burning amendment' and the public hearings on same. We simply ran out of time..."

Not a good excuse in my book, frankly. Your mileage may vary.

Nice rationalizing RWILYMZ.... (Below threshold)

Nice rationalizing RWILYMZ. However, If it wasn't for the Flag and what it stands for, you wouldn't have textbooks or roads.

If it wasn't for the Fla... (Below threshold)

If it wasn't for the Flag and what it stands for, you wouldn't have textbooks or roads.

Cool! You have an alternative reality machine? That's way cooler than a wayback machine, I gotta tell ya.

Or, rather, you don't have any way of knowing that what you surmise is, in acy way, accurate, and you're flummoxed and stuck for a response. So, let's start tossing out irrelevancies and non-sequitors, eh?

Equivocate "having an American flag" to "concurrently having roads and textbooks".

Vag, what you needed to say is: "Yes, Ross, you're right; *I* believe not burning the flag is important enough that it's worth this national debate" and be done with it.

This is a political debate that needs to be resolved in our political process.

Unfortunately, our political process, as you've just demonstrated, comes tied up in santimonious bows and self-righteous ribbons.

No you are wrong Ross. And ... (Below threshold)

No you are wrong Ross. And way too young to have any feelings for the Flag obviously. So discussing this to you or anything you can't relate to would be futile. You can't relate to anything before 1985. You rely on clever put downs to make a point. You missed the whole meaning of the statement.

When the caskets come home from the battlefield they are draped in the Flag. It's symbolic. The Flag means something. It also means something when someone burns it. I don't really care if 6 or 6000 people have burned it. Just because 6 people broke the law does it mean we shouldn't prosecute the crime anymore?

By the way, since this is a National symbol, I don't personally believe this is an issue for the individual states to decide either.

Those who think we are wasting our time with passing an amendant will NEVER see the significance of issue. Therefore I am done discussing it.

I don't deny that the flag ... (Below threshold)

I don't deny that the flag means something.

Sadly, that means it most needs protection as a form of speech.

The unpopular stuff is the stuff that most needs to be protected.

Just wondering how fire = s... (Below threshold)

Just wondering how fire = speech.

I understand its an expression, but i think all these expressions are too easily translated into "free speech".

Burning a flag is a flagrantly hateful action. It's more than offensive, it's more than rude, it's more than annoying. It is flat out hateful. It is not a form of dissent. It is a form of declaring hatred for this country.

I think if someone burns this flag in this country they should either a) go to prison for treason, or b) be deported and stripped of their citizenship.

Burning an american flag is simply put, an action. It isn't speech. Speech is saying something using vocal chords.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Ok, nowhere does it say that there is a freedom of expression, or a freedom to perform an action that expresses a deep seeded hatred of the very paper that phrase was initially written upon.

So to say that because you can't burn an american flag you aren't free is to say that just because i can't go out and commit a bunch of murders that i'm not free. There are boundaries in any sane society, and by all means declaring an open hatred of the country you live in is about a mile past the line in my book.

I doubt seriously anyone is... (Below threshold)

I doubt seriously anyone is still reading this particular blog but Ben Stein has a good piece on this and says it more eloquently than I ever could.







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