The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.So reads the flag burning amendment the Senate rejected today by one vote today, deservedly killing the measure.
I hate flag burners. I hate the dirty, snot-nosed hippies who so hate our country, but can afford to be professional protesters leaching off of society and accomplishing nothing at all because of what our country is. I hate the childishness of it, and the utter inanity of the gesture. Who are they trying to impress or emulate - Jihadists? Nazis? (They liked to burn all kinds of things.) North Koreans? Iranian theocracy-sponsored demonstrators? Short of Jimmy Carter, has there ever been any American in power who would be moved by such an act?
But despite my strong feeling towards those who do it, there is simply no other reason in the world to burn a flag other than as a political statement. None. And political speech was what the Founders had in mind most when they limited the government from abridging free speech. There is no good reason to restrict such expression - no safety concerns, no national security issues, nothing. The only reason people want to make this particular form of expression illegal is because the content offends them. And that's not a good enough reason to suppress free expression, even in a small way, in a free society. After all, we are conservatives - we understand that we don't have a right not to be offended! Don't we?
And what is a "flag," anyway? A design on a shirt? A drawing? A painting? A cap? A mural? A bumper sticker? And what does it mean to "desecrate" the flag? Carelessly letting it trail in the mud? Sewing a peace sign over the star field? Getting into a fender-bender with someone with a flag bumper sticker?
I am deeply, deeply offended by flag burning, but I am not harmed by it. The physical flag is only a piece of cloth - it is precisely because you can burn it without being thrown in jail by the government that makes it so special and so unique. Because of that, this amendment would have diminished our flag that I hold so dear, and in doing so, would have been the ultimate desecration of Old Glory.