Criticism Is Not the Issue

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Adam's Apple, Jul 3, 2006.

  1. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    Thoughtful article about the proposed Flag Amendment to the Constitution.

    Confused Discourse
    By Paul Greenberg, The Washington Times
    July 3, 2006

    It happens every few years. Those trying to reverse an old 5-to-4 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that made flag-burning a constitutional right petition Congress for redress. And every few years, the House approves a constitutional amendment that would protect the flag, and the Senate proceeds to turn it down. But by fewer and fewer votes.

    This time the amendment fell only one -- one -- vote short of passage in the Senate. It was another sign that we happy few who began this fight are becoming we happy many.

    After all these years, the Flag Amendment itself has become a symbol of American grit and glory, and its advocates aren't about to haul it down.

    Those on the other side of the issue tell us the flag is a symbol much like any other, and that disrespecting it is just an expression of opinion, the kind that should be protected by the First Amendment.

    These sophisticates keep trying to explain to us yokels out here that burning the flag of the United States isn't action but speech, and therefore should remain a constitutionally protected right. But a lot of Americans, poor naifs that we are, remain under the impression that burning the flag is burning the flag, not making a speech.

    Facts are stubborn things, as old John Adams once noted, and We the People can tell the difference between speech and action.

    What we have here is a failure to make elemental distinctions in our confused public discourse. Every time that ability fades, the airiest sophistries are wheeled out to fill the vacuum created when reason abdicates. So it was only to be expected that those who oppose protecting the flag would wrap themselves in the First Amendment and contend that an act is just another form of speech.

    But it isn't criticizing the flag that some of us propose to ban. Any street corner orator should be able to stand on a soapbox and badmouth the American flag all day long--and apple pie and motherhood, too, if that's his inclination. It's a free country.

    It is actually assaulting Old Glory, it's defacing the Stars and Stripes, it's an act, the physical desecration of the flag of the United States, that ought to be against the law, just as it once was. The Flag Amendment would ban an indecent act, not an exercise of free speech.

    for full article:
    http://www.washtimes.com/commentary/20060702-102211-9729.r.htm
     
  2. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    A flag is an inanimate object that is personal property. Defacing it is not something that is going to destroy the innocence of a child. It is not going to hurt anyone. Outlawing its burning is an infringement of personal property rights until you actually admit that what the person is saying by burning it is why it's being outlawed. Then, it's an infringement of personal property and free speech rights.

    When I ask why flag burning should be outlawed, the answer I get always burns down to "Because it's an American flag." Ok, that's a good reason why it shouldn't be burned, but there's a difference between shouldn't be done and what should be illegal. You shouldn't have unprotected sex with a stranger. It's not illegal. You shouldn't curse in front children. This is also not illegal. There's lots of things that shouldn't be done that are not and should not be illegal.

    To outlaw the burning of the flag is a step down the road towards banning unpopular, rather than just harmful, speech. It also places the flag in a position of government ownership, as there is nothing else you can own (except an animal) where the government has this kind of oversight.

    And the only other argument I've heard against burning the flag is that it 'isn't speech.' Neither is writing a letter, hanging a sign, typing on a message board, or many other things. It is, however, a harmless (yes, harmless) expression of disgust with this country. Burning flag hurts no one. The only thing it does is offend those who love the flag. Last time I check, there isn't a consitutional right against being offended, a fact we conservatives love to point out whenever the liberals sue becuase somebody's offended. Is that a fact we forget so easily when the shoe is on the other foot?
     
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  3. nt250
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    nt250 Senior Member

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    Good point.
     
  4. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    If it's physical destruction they're concerned about, are they going to make it a crime to tear up a picture of the flag? What about burning someone in effigy? What about people who have American flag bandanas on their sweaty heads, or American flag boxer shorts? Should we outlaw those as physical assaults on the flag? Are all versions and renderings of the flag to be protected?

    This amendment has absolutely no place in our Constitution.

    acludem
     
  5. musicman
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    musicman Senior Member

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    You're missing, and muddying, the point - but, then - that's the idea, isn't it? Dilute, deflect, misdirect - right out of the handbook. At issue is the object itself. Versions and renderings of an object are not the object itself.

    Agreed. This is not a matter for the federal government AT ALL. This is for the people to decide at state, community, and individual levels - per that quaint little document, the U.S. Constitution.
     
  6. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    I will not have a problem with this as long as there are already laws in effect which assure that anyone who sets fire to the American flag will be punished. If there are no such laws on the books, then I have a problem with that.

    To me the flag is a symbol of the American nation. When one sets fire to the American flag, s/he is saying in effect, "I wish I could burn America to the ground; but I can't, so I'll burn its flag." So that kind of "free speech" and evil intent should go without punishment? To me the proposed flag amendment deals with the "doing" rather than "saying"--you burn the flag, you know there is a penalty to be paid for that action.
     
  7. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by acludem
    If it's physical destruction they're concerned about, are they going to make it a crime to tear up a picture of the flag? What about burning someone in effigy? What about people who have American flag bandanas on their sweaty heads, or American flag boxer shorts? Should we outlaw those as physical assaults on the flag? Are all versions and renderings of the flag to be protected?


    How am I missing or muddying the point? My questions are a direct response the author's argument, that physical destruction of the flag is the problem not criticizing it. Again, what about burning one of those miniature flags on a stick? Is that the same as burning a full-size flag? This amendment is insane.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by acludem
    This amendment has absolutely no place in our Constitution.


    I disagree, localities should not be outlawing flag burning either. Free speech is free speech wherever you are, community standards do not apply to political expression.

    acludem
     
  8. musicman
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    musicman Senior Member

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    I think you have managed - albeit unwittingly - to perfectly sum up your hateful, tyrannical worldview in one phrase:

    "Community standards do not apply".
     
  9. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    Actually the hateful, tryannical view is that held by those, evidently like you, who would force their "community standards" on everyone by force of law.

    acludem
     
  10. theHawk
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    theHawk Registered Conservative

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    LOL yea, how dare they force those laws passed by elected officials!

    Damn democracy!! :salute:
     
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