flag burning, mostly
Mood: mellow
Music: nothin' at the moment
Posted on 2005-06-23 10:15:00
Tags: activism flag burning python challenge
Words: 263

So the House passed the flag-burning amendment yesterday, and people think it has a chance in the Senate.

Quick poll on the subject:

I wrote my senators (Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn) just now.

I would urge you to vote against the constitutional amendment that would give
Congress the power to ban desecration of the American flag. I agree that the
flag is a powerful symbol of our country, that many have fought and died for.
However, they have fought and died for the freedoms that the flag represents,
including the freedom to disagree with the government. Free speech is one of
our country's most important rights, and any curtailment of such should be

In addition, flag burning is such a rare event that it seems foolish to amend
the Constitution to prevent it. Our Constitution has been amended very few
times in the history of our nation, and never has it been amended for trivial
or symbolic reasons.

All these concerns notwithstanding, the text of the proposed amendment is very
broad and open to interpretations. Does this mean that wearing or washing a
T-shirt with a picture of the American flag on it is "desecrating" it?

I hope you share my concerns about this amendment, and I would be interested in
hearing your thoughts on the matter. Thank you for your time!

In non-flag related news, I did another Python Challenge level, but I'm stuck on level 5.

ASMC rehearsal is tonight - hopefully it won't be as tiring as the last one. Especially since I'm more tired going into it...


Comment from wildrice13:

Felt like leaving a comment, but don't have much to say, since your letter pretty much summed up my sentiments exactly! Sometimes burning the flag is an honorable thing to do, as in properly disposing of it if it's tattered or dirty. Given the text of this proposed amendment, you could have a court battle no matter HOW you chosoe to dispose of an old flag. Law should be unequivocal, not to mention in line with the bill of rights...

Comment from gregstoll:

True, although "desecrate" probably means that burning it for disposal in the proper way would be OK.

Sorry if my posts have been a little politics-heavy lately. Oh, and I forgot about del.icio.us...next time, I guess...

Comment from onefishclappin:

I really agree with your point of the language being rather vauge. Anything like that tends to scare me... (will they start arresting people who fly the American flag at the same height as the state flag? Or boy scouts who accidently drop it during a flag ceremony? Come on, we have much better things to do with our resources...)
While they likley wouldn't run Scout meeting busts, it could be used as a pretext arrest for someone they want to question or suspect but don't have enough evidence in another case...
Or am I being over-paranoid?...

Comment from cifarelli:

Would they start prosecuting businesses that don't take the flag down at night and let it fly until it is in tatters as well?

Comment from onefishclappin:

It would let some small town sherrif harrass some no-good whoever... Or rather, give them one more reason to harrass them. I could see it actually decreasing the number of flags being flown, as the penalties for not properly lighting, protecting from rain, replacement, etc would be higher.

Comment from destroyerj:

Yes, ya'll're being a little over-paranoid. The proposed amendment, put into the constitution, would not be law. It gives the power to create law. And laws have to go through their processes (yay school house rock), wherein various people have the chance to formulate language etc. Furthermore, once any such laws are created, if you run afoul of something stupid, the courts have the chance to say that it's something stupid and does not fit the language of the proposed amendment.

There's *plenty* of vagueness in the constitution, over which many a court battle has been fought and many a floor fight been had. But it's not, itself, the law.

Comment from onefishclappin:

Yeah, I know I was being paranoid. The worry is that our legislators have put into effect laws forbidding flag burning in the past, and I'm sure will be willing to do so again in the future. The Supreme Court declared it was unconstitutional, so now they are trying to put a very vaguely worded amendment to make it constitutional. I guess something sorta bugs me that they decided this wasn't constitutional and now it is. It seems that most amendments are more along the lines of protecting personal rights or clarifying points or strengthening positions, not direct changes in what's allowed or not, and rarely further restricting rights.
(And most amendments are worded to the effect of "Congress has the authority to legislate on the matter of", but the real change is the amendment, not the subsequent law. For example, 16 - national income tax: The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration., and 13 -
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation..

Constitutional Amendments"

Comment from anonymous:

wat the fuck?!?! the congress has to much power

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