Desecrate THIS, fuckwads

Hmm. Republicans need votes in November. What could they do to rally their base? I know! They could piss on the greatest governing framework in history, by proposing a blight on it that confuses flags with freedom! Yeah! That’s perfect! Flag-burning will suddenly become the biggest crisis facing the United States! because gay marriage couldn’t get any traction this year

I see two options.

They really mean it! They actually want an amendment that makes it a crime to burn an American flag. Who cares if it’s antithetical to freedom of expression and freedom of dissent? Freedom’s just a stupid word. Flags are what this country’s really about.

Oh, don’t worry. They don’t really mean to pass an amendment on flag burning - it’s just a ploy to get votes. So what if they’re acting like it? Nobody expects senators to really vote honestly on a matter that only has symbolic value. It’s like when they act religious. It’s all bullshit. Get over it.

I guess ALL the other problems have been solved, and this is the only one left. It’s political horse shit, designed to rile up The Base and the kneejerk superpatriots who prefer empty symbols over the concepts of freedom and liberty. A flag is a bit of cloth, nothing more. It is a symbol that represents something, sure. But it is not some sacred relic or artifact. There are more important isues.

The scariest part is that the measure lost by one fucking vote. ONE VOTE.

If it ever passes, I will take another Doper’s suggestion and burn an “almost flag” every fucking day. I’ll make it my life’s work to give these assholes something to do. Fucking morons.

Well, not really. It lost in the Senate by one vote. Thjere are, of course, other difficult hurdles to cross before the measure could actually gain force. And this thing hadn’t the chance of an snowball in hell of crossing the other hurdles.

But I entirely agree with y’all. It’s pointless window dressing meant to prop up sagging support from the Republican loyalists.

Prior to the Supreme Court striking down (by one vote) flag burning laws, every state in the Union (except I think one) had an anti-flag burning statute. Should this aboniation ever make it out of Congress, it will sail through the states. All the same pressure that the zealots bring to bear on their federal representatives will be brought to bear on their state legislatures. What state legislature wats to be known as pro flag burning?

Would such an amendment stand a chance in the states? I figure it would pass very quickly. That is the scary part.

Don’t take that at face value. That says to me the vote was prearranged to allow the largest possible number of Senators to come out in favor of the ol’ Star-Spangled Banner in an election year, while not actually passing the thing.

The scariest part is that protecting free speech rights is not seen as a winning issue for many pols.

Guess so; I heard Orrin Hatch say (very close to verbatim quote): “Is this the most important matter for the Senate to be dealing with right now? You bet it is!” That Orrin – he so crazy!

If this thing ever actually passes, that’s the day I burn a flag.

Nah, they’ve still got to decide the size of their pay raise, and whether to rename the country Pennsylvania.

Great. So this is the way we should run the government.

OK. Please identify the ONE issue that requires attention, and I expect to hear you immediately attack all other government effort on any other issues as misplaced, because, after all…

Or maybe, even though they haven’t solved the most important problem, they can still spend time on other, less important issues as well. eh?

Not to say I’m taking a position on how this particular issue should be handled. But for cryin out loud – this idea of, “Oh, how dare they consider this when there are more important issues out there…” is nonsense.

Actually, Bricker, I think that’s a swell idea.

Since we haven’t finished up with the Iraq War yet, I heartily suggest we stop attempting to deal with all other problems until that one is fixed. Shut down Medicare, end prescription drug programs, shut down farm subsidies, end Social Security, destroy the Department of Education, and terminate the EPA until the Iraq War is over.

THIS Do Nothing Congress? When pigs fly!

What do these geniuses propose to do with old, tattered flags that must be disposed of?

US Flag code Title 4>Chapter 1> Sec. 8(k)

“The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning"

That, my friend, is the most insidious part of the whole thing.

Obviously people who are properly disposing of an old flag by way of a proper burning ceremony are exempt from the amendment. In other words, in order to decide whether to persecute … er, prosecute someone for flag burning, a DA must know their intent. If one is showing the flag the proper reverence, they get a pass. If someone is somehow deemed not reverential enough, they get prosecuted. Hell, you don’t even have to touch the flag. Just looking at it with an evil glance will be enough.

No it isn’t, really. Or do you feel that Congress should consider all issues in the order in which they are proposed, without regard to relative importance, even if America is attacked by terrorist piranha bats in the meantime?

Welcome to the age of thought crime. Orwell was only 22 years off.

Of course not. Becuase if you took a position it would interfere with this freakykewl devil’s advocate thing you cultivate in thread after thread after thread.

Oh it is not either. Flag burning is not only not an important issue, it is practically the definition of “non-issue.” Whipping up the base by trotting out shibboleths like flag burning and same-sex marriage (which, as ridiculous it is for Congress to be considering that amendment, at least it’s actually happening more often than flag burning is) and “partial birth abortion” is an utter waste of time and money, is politics at its most cynical and is (or ought to be considered) a national embarassment. There are dozens if not hundreds of issues more deserving of Congress’s time, money and votes than any of this shit, and calling shit shit is the furthest thing from nonsense.

Don’t be obtuse; the whole point is that this is just about the least important issue there could possibly be*. But good going with the pedantry though, you almost had a defence going of this massive waste of time.

Of course many issues should be tackled at once; no-one is disputing that (as well you know). The point (and it’s pathetic that this needs explaining) is that there exist finite time and resources, and the implication of wasting those on this ridiculous bit of chest-beating is that there really isn’t anything better we could be doing. Which of course is bollocks.

Sorry if this spoils your fun nitpicking throwaway phrases, though; I know you enjoy it.

  • WARNING! Loose phraseology! Danger, Will Robinson!

Yeah. That would be awful. The first crime in the nation’s 230 year history to have an element of intent.

Next thing you know, other crimes will have intent elements too. Why, before you know it, almost EVERY SINGLE CRIME will require the prosecutor to prove intent. The ones that don’t will be so rare, we’ll have to come up with a name for that class of crime.

When the time comes, I will nominate “strict liability.” It just seems to, you know, fit, and stuff.

But until that dreadful day comes along, I, like you, will relax, knowing that the prosecution doesn’t have to EVER consider intent. Whew!

Not so.

The idea that flag-burning is protected by the First Amendment is a jump. It’s not speech. It’s not press.

It’s not as crazy as many of the ideas that are supposedly found in the Constitution, I grant, but neither is it a slam-dunk. I believe we could choose to exempt flag-burning from Constitutional protection without doing violence to the entire fabric of the nation.

I also believe we could make flag-burning permissible by statute without making it a matter of constitutional import.

And of course I believe we could maintain the status quo without embracing something terribly wrong, either in effect or in precedence.

But I think it’s a worthy use of time to discuss these issues in the assemblies that are charged with amending our constitution.