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June 28, 2006

Flag Amendment Fails

I am quite gratified to see that the Senate stepped back from sending this silly amendment to the states.

A constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration died in a Senate cliffhanger Tuesday, a single vote short of the support needed to send it to the states for ratification and four months before voters elect a new Congress.

The 66-34 tally in favor of the amendment was one less than the two-thirds required. The House surpassed that threshold last year, 286-130.

The proposed amendment, sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (news, bio, voting record), R-Utah, read: "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."

It represented Congress' response to Supreme Court rulings in 1989 and 1990 that burning and other desecrations of the flag are protected as free speech by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Senate supporters said the flag amounts to a national monument in cloth that represents freedom and the sacrifice of American troops.

Now that has to be among the dumbest arguments ever made -- because that "national monumnent in cloth" is a piece of private property. As I said in my piece over at Homeland Stupidity, there is a fundamental problem with prohibitting an individual from destroying/desecrating an item that they own.

Yes, I know that men and women have fought and died under that flag — but that flag was not what they were defending. They were defending this soil, this people, and the freedoms enshrined in our founding documents. At best, the flag serves only as a representation of those things. And so while flag-burning may be offensive and enraging — I’d personally like to beat the crap out of anyone who does it within my reach — banning it protects nothing of significance but does undermine very basic freedoms.

After all, if they can prevent you from disrespecting the flag you bought for $9.95 at Wal-Mart, what other items of personal property do they wish to make you hold sacred?

Now I tend to suport most of the rest of the "American Values Agnda" being promoted by the GOP this summer, but find this particular item to be ill-conceived and based upon an emotional response to an act which has less significance than some would give it. And besides, as John over at Whatever pointed out last year, enforcing such a ban would be pretty near impossible.



» Iowa Voice links with: Flag Burning Amendment Fails To Pass Senate



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» Iowa Voice links with: Flag Burning Amendment Fails To Pass Senate, on June 28, 2006, 08:39 AM
Excerpt: The Senate failed by one vote to pass the flag burning amendment: A constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration fell one vote short of the 67-vote threshold needed for Senate passage and referral to the states. The proposed amendment, spons...

» Iowa Voice links with: Flag Burning Amendment Fails To Pass Senate
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NAME: Greg
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