June 27, 2005

Burning Issues

Some responses to Friday's column on the anti-desecration amendment:

I couldn't agree more. Do we really want to see every left wing nut from Move On et al burning flags and going to jail to show that W and the republicans are against free speech? Any moron that burns a flag in a post 9/11 world isn't going to win himself any friends any way. Misplaced priorities.....
America has a very short constitution. The last thing I want is for our constitution to be bloated by small issues that don't affect the welfare of the nation. On the other hand, censorship will now be in the constitution, and it may make it easier to censor offensive speech in other areas, due to our court's love for reading between the lines and finding hidden meanings in the constitution.
There's more in today's Reader Mail; they aren't as positive as these, but three out of four of them seem to at least partially agree (and there are some interesting ideas for approaches to flag-burning apart from an amendment). Only one writer is "continually amazed that some conservatives don't get it when it comes to protecting the flag." (Incidentally, if you want a response to an AmSpec column be included in Reader Mail, send it to editor at spectator.org rather than to me.)

This isn't a statistically representative sample of the country at large, but this slice of generally conservative readers at least suggests that while deep passion to protect the flag does still exist 15 years after Eichman, it isn't all that widespread.

Compare that to the pile of missives you have to scroll past to find the flag-burning emails, responding to Christopher Orlet's column on Kelo. As far as AmSpec readers are concerned, it seems next to eminent domain abuse, flag-desecration is yesterday's news. Or, as a letter to the Houston Chronicle puts it (second item): "Frankly, if our property rights are going to be taken away like this, our flag may as well be burning."

Posted by John Tabin at June 27, 2005 02:34 PM

I agree with you, John; I don`t think flag burning should be a matter for the Constitution. I would think there should be ways of dealing with the matter without amending the Constitution. Perhaps voting rights could be restricted for flag burners? I don`t know if that would be possible, but there must be some way around the courts.

Property rights are a far more critical matter, and should be enshrined in the Constitution. Maybe we can arrest those nasty flag burners for trespassing next time they decide to barbeque ole` Glory!

Posted by: Tim Birdnow at June 27, 2005 07:29 PM

Frankly, I've always thought that a right-cross was always the best way to deal with a flag burner.

Posted by: Steven J. Kelso Sr. at June 29, 2005 06:30 PM

Steve, you land a solid blow with that point! The Supreme Court has ruled that there are such things as ``fighting words`` which provoke an attack, and the person using them has, essentially, placed themselves outside of legal protection-and may be considered at fault if he takes a beating. I think burning a flag is certainly a form of ``fighting words``, and the flag burner should not be surprised by a right-cross to the spitter (you can`t call it a kisser).

Posted by: Tim Birdnow at July 1, 2005 08:51 AM