Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Door's open, boys!

Boy: Hey, who left all this garbage lying on the steps of Congress?
Amendment: I'm not garbage.

I'm an amendment to be
Yes, an amendment to be
And I'm hoping that they'll ratify me
There's a lot of flag burners
Who have got too much freedom
I wanna make it legal
For policemen
To beat 'em
'Cause there's limits to our liberties
'Least I hope and pray that there are
'Cause those liberal freaks go too far.

Boy: But why can't we just make a law against flag burning?
Amendment: Because that law would be unconstitutional. But if we changed the Constitution...
Boy: Then we could make all sorts of crazy laws!
Amendment: Now you're catching on!

--The Simpsons, "The Day the Violence Died"

The House has passed a flag-burning amendment (again). It seems that they do this all the time just for fun, and it never gets the required 2/3 in the Senate. Let's hope that 34 Senators continue to support freedom of expression.

If somehow they don't, then the amendment needs to be defeated (or never brought to the floor) in at least 13 state legislatures. What do we do if it comes to that? Public flag burnings, as nuanced as we make the message, would probably be preaching to the choir and giving the wrong message to those who are on the fence. Maybe burning copies of the proposed amendment?

In the meantime, call your senator if s/he's on the fence.

So why are they pulling this now? Is this just the usual distraction, like the Christmas Panic of 2004, to rev up the right-wing echo chamber and force liberals to respond (don't get me wrong, this assault on civil liberties would certainly require a response) and then, while we're looking the other way, repeal Social Security or Medicare?

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