Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I Say Desecration, You Say Speech

     I'm not going to go all knee-jerk liberal on you about the Flag Burning Amendment passed by the House today. Personally, I think it's a stupid waste of time. We'd get better use out of our taxpayers' money by renaming french fries, "freedom fries" and by trying to keep dead people hooked up to feeding tubes. I know this amendment, like aforementioned dead people, has been hanging on to life for a decade, but I find the timing rather amusing.
     How is it that when Muslims go nuts about American soldiers peeing on their Koran (purposely or accidentally, although, please - I've never peed on a Bible accidentally. Or purposefully, I guess I should say), conservatives whine that a) Who cares?, b) they would do it to us, c) serves them right for being terrorists, d) what's the big deal? It's just a book, not a life. To a good extent, they're actually right. It doesn't make us right for doing it. I mean, would you rip a lollypop out of a little girl's hands and laugh in her face, justifying that it was OK because the sugar would have rot her teeth? Even if taking away the lollypop was a good thing to do, there are right and wrong ways to do it.
     Whatever. The point is, conservatives just don't see the big-freakin' deal about desecrating a Koran. Which makes it all the more ironic that they are pushing the Flag Burning Amendment! Hey, Republicans, what's the big-freakin' deal? It "accidentally" caught on fire. Oh - I was peeing into an air vent and, oops, the flag got a little urine on it. I needed toilet paper and, well, the flag was just right there.
     The sad thing is that it's a known fact that conservatives don't get sarcasm. There are still studies underway to determine whether or not they have the capability of empathy, but it doesn't look good. So we can say for near certainty that they will never understand that they share the same views as the Muslims they disdain. They would have kittens if a Muslim government that we have relations with (say, Saudi Arabia or Malaysia) had soldiers that routinely desecrated the American flag while that government did absolutely nothing.
     If you tried to burn a flag in protest or (God forbid) wear a flag jacket, you would be arrested and sent to jail. That's the United States, folks. It says a lot about where we've come as a nation that it sounds so foreign to us. But that's how this country worked in the 1950's and 60's. That's the reality that the reactionaries in Congress and the White House are trying to bring us back to.


Mike said...

Ya know, Republicans didn't just make up this issue. It stems from a Supreme Court decision years ago. I would hardly say it is "hanging to life" when it passed the House by a 2/3 vote and only missed passing the Senate by a few votes the last time it came up there. I think it's going to pass this time considering the Republicans have 54 seats and now we're post 9/11.

Talk about ironic, I find it funny how liberals are all concerned about treating the Koran with dignity, but when it comes to the American flag, well piss on that!

I don't necessarily agree with desecrating the Koran, but I don't think it warrants closing Gitmo or calling it a Gulag. What bugs me about your post is the left is basically saying nothing is sacred anymore. You would rather trade eye-for-an-eye stories than respect the efforts of people who bled and died to preserve that flag and your right to free speech. I think it's a good thing. Flag burning is so 3 decades ago. Can't you come up with a sign with a catchy slogan? Like "Bush lied, kids died."

Ben said...

I don't like it, it strikes me as bad in many ways, some of which I listed on my own blog, so I'm not going to get too in depth on reasons here. But before I mention any, I jsut wanted to point out that this couldn't have gotten as far as it did without some bipartisan support. When it comes to restricting free speech/expression, the left has far more to answer for over recent years than the right. And I'm sarcastic as hell, and thus pick up other sarcasm.

I don't like the way the ammendment is worded. There is way too much leeway for interpretation, and if recent years have taught us anything, the Supreme Court can find ways to make any law mean anything. Next thing you know, they'llbe encouraging towns to use eminent domain agaisnt people who don't fly their flags right because they are a threat to the public interest or whatever. Who defines prohibit, or desecration, or even physical? If I burn a flag in Georgia, does it affect intertstate commerce? If I look crosswise at a flag, does that hurt the flag's feelings, and cause it to shrivel and be desecrated?

Scott said...

See, the thing about this amendment is that it doesn't have to affect interstate commerce. It doesn't have to not restrict free speech. It doesn't have to follow anything else in the constitution. When our representatives choose to amend the constitution, there are no restrictions, assuming they can gather the required 67 votes. If they wanted to amend the constitution to say that Jews and gays were to be imprisoned, they could do so, and it would be legal and binding. That's why amending the constitution is not something that should be done for little things, like gay marriage or flag burning, or prohibition. It's too serious.

Mike said...

So what defines a "little thing?" other than something Scott doesn't care for? I'm sure before the 13th amendment some people thought slavery was a "little thing". I'm sure before the 19th amendment some people thought letting women vote was a "little thing."

This could reach much further than just flag burning. Congress could limit how the flag is displayed. No more U.S. Flags on corporate logos. No more of those U.S. Flag magnets you keep whining about. No more athletes whipping the U.S. Flag like a towel in the Olympics. No more U.S. flag boxer shorts. This amendment is more than flag burning. It's about restoring the stars and stripes as an honored and respected symbol of American freedom once again. To those of us who love our country, this is not a "little thing."

It's glorious being in the majority. One of the privileges is you get to pick the agenda. I highly recommend it, if the liberals ever come up with an agenda.

ignerens said...

Waste - o - time. Definitely a "little thing".

Hey look! These guys burn flags all the time!?!

Ben said...

Scott, you merely calrified my point. It doesn't have to be defined, which means they can find any way to interpret it that they want in the future. That's exactly why the people that wrote the Bill of Rights would be so disgusted at hearing gun control activists reinterpret the right to bear arms as only being applicable to militias. They'd be so disgusted with the Supreme Court for deciding the commerce clause gives Congress virtually unlimited power. If you don't like this ammendment because of the ambiguosness of it, then you ought to be against the way they've reinterpreted the commerce clause, but you favor it there. So to you it's ok to make up new interpretations, as long as you agree with the new version. I, on the other hand, am disgusted at any sort of interpretation of the Constitution that does not fit it exactly as written.

Believe me, if this passes then some left-wing poltician in twenty years will find a way to stretch it to fit his agenda, and then you will be applauding him, because it will fit your agenda, too. My agenda is not giving more power to Congress, and this adds a lot to their power.

Mike said...

Of course they burn flags all the time, Ignerens. That is the proper way of disposing of them. But if you read it you see it is done with honor and respect, not with the intention of disgracing our great nation.

You all scoff when some say (not me) desecrating the Koran is a "little thing." But for a symbol that means so much for true Americans, well what's the big deal?

You guys will never get it. Until you stop defending terrorists and people who hate America, you're not going to win elections. You've put yourself in this position. You've put us in a position where conservatives hold nearly 2/3 of Congress and a strong majority of state governorships. Now we have the power to consider using Constitutional Amendments for these things you consider trivial. Of course, I don't see how you can call it trivial when the Supreme Court decided it was worth ruling on which put us where we are today. This amendment is about checks and balances. Preventing a few unelected judges from overuling the will of the strong majority. That is NEVER a trivial thing.

Sylvana said...

I think that this is a bad idea. I also think that conservatives are way too eager to ammend the constitution to make sure that everyone does things "their way". If this thing passes, how could they justify allowing people to display the Confederate flag. I find that a threat to this country's unity and peace! It symbolizes the desire to break up the country. It's not only unpatriotic, it's down-right treasonous!

Ben said...

I'm curious what all you left-wingers think about the Kelo decision the SCOTUS handed down today. It's ironic that the dissenters were the conservative justices, while the 5-4 winners were the liberals voting in favor of seizing property from the poor to give to the rich.

Mike said...

The Confederate flag is irrelevant to this discussion.

alex said...

Scot as a conservative i am against banning flag burning. For the simple reason that free speach and expresion are important parts of american political life. AS for the statement about how the USA would get pissed of if foreign nations burned american flags I think you need to start paying attention as you watch the news (american flags are burned quite regularly by foreign nations along with effigies of US presidents and other symbols of america) and we routinly don't say anything we definatly don't riot and kill people over it so please stop with this (america is always wrong stuff) While i agree with you on the specifics of the issue i really wish you would take that chip off your shoulder. Oh and ben i agree with you totally about the supreme court decision it just goes to show you that the liberal members of the supreme court care nothing for the personal rights of americans and only about expanding the power of the central goverment (good by your home and hello wallmart)

sideshow bob said...

Thank God we as a nation have the foresight to pass a Constitutional Amendment that will affect approximately seven people. Is this really such a problem? Besides, I thought we were trying to get the Amendment through that would make it legal for Ahnuld to run for President.

ignerens said...

Yes, I know the American Legion burns flags to respect the symbol, rather than as an attempt to disgrace anything. I mainly listed it out out of being a smart alec.

The main dfference betw the two -- burning a flag in effigy and burning a flag for retirement -- is the purpose behind it. It's a difference in motives.

If they made flag defacement illegal, then the result would be very similar to the laws for housing and employment discrimination. These laws, too, make illegal an otherwise legal action simply because of the motives in play (ie. you can refuse to hire someone, but not simply based on their race, creed, etc.) Flag people will be our newest protected class!

Then we can all be proud when the first flag person plays in the Major Leagues (Jackie Robinson) or becomes a major box office draw (Sidney Poitier)!

(sorry that got a little absurd towards the end)

Sylvana said...

I don't really think that bringing up the Confederate flag is irrelevant. The reason that people are giving for supporting this new law is that the burning of the flag is symbol of hatred for this country and therefore an act against this country. The Confederate flag is also a symbol of hatred for this country and therefore an act against this country (using the same reasoning, of course). Totally relevant. Oh, and they are both flags- even more relevant.

Ben- I heard about that Kelo decision this morning and it completely pissed me off!! I was so hoping that they were talking about just MN. No luck. This is completely outrageous!!! The topic of forcing people to give up their homes because the government needed the land was already enough to send me in a tirade, but THIS?! THIS IS JUST TOO MUCH! THIS IS THIEVERY!! I have to go punch something now. Or scream. Or scream and punch something while I'm screaming.

Ben said...

Yeah One of the justices on the majority opinion said that public use can mean increased tax revenues. Well what exactly can now be described as "not public use?" Absolutely nothing. It's easy to find a way to say that a township or whatever will benefit in some way or another in any situation, so the government now has UNLIMITED power to steal from it's citizens, as long as they can come up with an excuse, and we all know that as long as there are lawyers, there's an excuse. This trashed both the "public use" and "just compensation" portions of the 5th Ammendment. It goes against conservative private property ideals and liberal protect the poor ideals. The only people that will benefit from this are town council members and real estate developers. I imagine this will help to end the real estate boom. WHo wants to speculate on property when it can be stolen at any time? I think it's going to take some property owner bearing arms to protect his property to get this changed.

ignerens said...

Or scream and punch something while I'm screaming.

Hey, neat. She must have two heads.