Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Flag-Burning Amendment

The official Pacific Slope stance on the proposed flag-burning amendment is: I'm opposed to amending the Constitution for this.

I think flag-burning is uncultured, juvenile, and stupid; the rare occasions the media deigns to show a picture of protestors burning a flag, my opinions are reinforced.

But amending the Constitution to deal with this is wrong. here's my thoughts on why:

  • There seems to me no pressing need for this at this time.
  • This threatens to raise flag-burners to martyr status - and those hippies and whackos get too much attention as it is.
  • Most importantly, the Constitution is a document detailing the restrictions on government, not on citizenry. The only place for an anti-flag-burning law is in the civil code, and so such a law is not possible unless the Supreme Court makes a new ruling allowing such a law.

    [This is why Supreme Court justices matter, and why its important to know and understand their views on the application of the law. In this case, by ruling laws forbidding flag-burning as unconstitutional, the Court has placed these acts beyond regulation by society, short of amending the Constitution. Whether their decisions are right or wrong, this ability to place acts beyond the reach of local lawmakers places a lot of power in the hands of nine unelected (and thus difficult to hold accountable) individuals. And the Court is not made of infallible people - you need only look at the Dred Scott decision for evidence of their human failings.]

I personally think there is a much better way to deal with this situation. Reduce beating the snot out of someone burning a flag from a felony to a misdemeanor, with a fine not to exceed $25 and payable to the arresting officer.

But that's just me. Leave your own thoughts in the comments below.

[Crossposted to The Pacific Slope.]


At 5:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like it. I'd pay $25 just to do that.

Don't amend the constitution to "protect" the flag. They will remove one of my personal freedoms (one I won't ever use). And any removal of freedom is bad for America.

At 1:53 PM, Blogger Tyler said...

There's a bigger point to this than that, Travis.

Using a Constitutional amendment for something like this is like using a sledgehammer to go after an annoying gnat.

If there is a sincere desire to ban flag burning, there's a proper way to go about it. Amending the Constitution isn't it.

John at Argghhh!!! has a pretty good take on this. I suggest you go check it out.

And thanks for stopping by!


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