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Flag Follies

Hatch Resumes Push For His Amendment Against Flag-Burning

The stage is being set for an election-year battle over Sen. Orrin Hatch's latest effort to amend the Constitution to outlaw flag burning.

While passage of the amendment remains unlikely, Hatch is moving quickly to move the amendment through the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, preparing it for a fight before the full Senate. The measure was originally scheduled for committee consideration Thursday [June 3], but Hatch postponed it until next week.

... Hatch said that if the amendment is approved by Congress "the nationwide debate over state ratification will be one of the greatest public discussions in American history."

They're considering weakening the First Amendment to deal with an incredibly rare act that harms nobody besides a few over-sensitive patriots. If this is going to be "one of the greatest public discussions in American history," then we have an incredibly lame history of civic discourse.

UPDATE: It looks like New Zealand is dealing with this issue as well. The linked story makes the interesting claim that outlawing flag-burning makes the act more powerful, as the flag-burner has to engage in civil disobedience as well as offending people's sensibilities. Perhaps that explains why some on the far left seem to secretly hope that the government cracks down on their protests and subversive writings -- it makes it seem like they're taking a more radical stand against the system. I, on the other hand, would like my acts of expression to stay nice and legal even at the price of non-radicalness. About the only thing that could make me want to burn a flag is if they made it illegal to do so. The USA should earn my respect, not demand it from me.


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