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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Mark This Day On The Calendar

This is one of the very few issues I find myself in agreement with many on the Left:

WASHINGTON - The House on Wednesday approved a constitutional amendment that would give Congress the power to ban desecration of the American flag, a measure that for the first time stands a chance of passing the Senate as well.


The proposed one-line amendment to the Constitution reads, "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."
Let me say up front that I would never burn the flag of the United States of America. Far too many good men and women have died defending the ideals for which it stands.

The problem I have with any amendment/law against flag burning is the same fundamental issue I take with women being forced to wear a burka under the Taliban. A woman may very well believe that it is virtuous to wear a burka, and be happy to do so. However, the very fact that doing so is compulsatory, under the threat of death, not only restricts one's freedom but also destroys one's ability to exhibit virtue.

Similarly, under current law (well, really under a current Supreme Court ruling) I am free to burn the flag. The very fact that I choose to not do so indicates that I have a certain level of respect for the flag and the ideals it represents. Criminalizing flag burning steals that distinction.

On the other hand, criminalizing flag burning really only serves to increase the power of a flag-burners message. One of the favorite refrains of the Right (myself included) is to ridicule those in this country who are "brave" enough to criticize the government as it's really not all that "brave" when there are no consequences. Bravery would be to go to Saudi Arabia and criticize their government.

In the same vein, flag burning currently has not legal consequences in this country, and so the act is no more than an impotent expression of misplaced rage. Criminalizing the act, however, would mean that a flag-burner is openly defying the law, lending significance to the act that was previously so pathetic.

This proposed amendment is wrong from all angles. I can only hope that logic will prevail over misapplied patriotism.


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