Burn Baby Burn
The Senate voted yesterday 66-34 in favor of a constitutional amendment banning flag burning. Thankfully, they need 67 votes to pass an amendment. Yes, that’s right, I support flag burning. And not just the right to burn flags, but actually burning flags. I guess that means I hate America.
I heard Pelosi’s argument the other day comparing burning a flag to defacing the Jefferson Memorial. If the latter can be made illegal, the former should too. Pelosi, you are an idiot. Defacing the Jefferson Memorial is illegal because it is federal property. It is also illegal to set fire to the flag that is flown at the State Capitol. But a flag that you own is yours to do what you want with. If you owned the Jefferson Memorial you would be free to deface it however you liked.
Opponents to banning flag burning always say the same thing. “I love the flag and oppose burning it, but I love the freedoms it represents more.” I think Kerry actually said he loved the Constitution more. Memo to Mr. Kerry, try reading the Constitution some time. Freedom of Speech isn’t in there. That’s why it was put in the First Amendment. Anyway, there’s a better argument for flag burning than simply the same old “I like freedom” b.s. everyone uses.
The purpose of banning flag burning is to stop the disrespect of our nation and our values. But disrespect is only conveyed through the meaning of an act, and not the act itself. If a flag gets soiled or damaged, burning it actually shows respect. Most people want to ban flag burning when done in protest. So is it the actual act or is it the intent of the person burning the flag that offends people? You can criminalize an act, but you really should not start policing intentions and opinions.
If you really want protestors to stop burning flags, the best way is to make flag burning patriotic. So if you really love this country, and its values, go out and burn a flag. A flag represents the ideals our country is based on. But the flag itself is just a physical object. Burning the flag does not damage those ideals. As you watch the flag reduce to ashes, use it as a reminder that our country too has the potential to be destroyed. We take our freedoms for granted, but they must be constantly defended or they will be lost. Or burn it to rember the fallen soldiers. Or those who died on 9/11/01. I don't care. Patriotism should not just be flag-waving and boastful pride. There should be room in patriotism for humility, for thankfulness, for flag-burning. So burn your flag proudly and with great respect, and let the flames rekindle your defense of all the freedoms and values it symbolizes. Yes, burn that mother down.