14 Jun 2003 @ 7:23 PM 

House Approves Ban on Burning U.S. Flag

Gee, it requires a two-thirds majority in House and Senate, and approval by three-fourths of the state legislatures. Yeah, that’s gonna happen.

When a basketball player in New York turned her back on the flag, there were many protests and people of conservative leanings tended to chastise her for having the audacity to turn her back on the symbol of our great nation.

I say, good for her. She was making her statement, although I disagree with her reasoning. The flag does not symbolize the current administration and its policies, but the long history of freedom and liberty the country has generally been in favor of. This is what I posted to a military-themed message board I run:

The concept of freedom of speech means that people are going to say things that you find offensive. People will say things that make you want to scream at them for their stupidity. This girl didn’t even speak until some idiot ran onto a basketball court, disrupting a public event, to wave a flag in her face (dragging that flag on the ground in the process, by the way).

Just because we are all patriots doesn’t mean we must all agree with everything the country does without thought or criticism. That is what true patriots DO – question the authorities, question the path we are on. That’s the whole point of participatory democracy. If we encourage people to be silent just because they are in the minority, is that not a tacit encouragement for totalitarian government?

You can imagine the howls that greeted that statement.

Now, the flagburning prohibition comes up again. This also strikes me as an absurd waste of our legislators time. No matter that I would never think of burning our flag, it should still be legal to do so. To ban the burning of the flag would be to elevate that piece of cloth to a level of importance exceeding anything else (excepting the Alamo). It would elevate the veneration of a symbol representing freedom above the freedoms themselves. When we start to tell people that they are not allowed to say or do things we find offensive but cause no harm, we start down a path toward unreasonable and near-tyrannical legal precedents.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 15 Apr 2006 @ 10:26 AM

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