Daily Outrage on the Flag Desecration Amendment
by HKingsley, Sat Jun 24, 2006 at 06:11:12 AM EDT
The Senate takes up flag desecration next week, in the form of debate about a constitutional amendment that would give Congress the authority to criminalize personal expression.
From what I can tell, the pro-amendment camp is a mere one vote away from watering down the bill of rights. And I'm pretty sure all 50 states stand ready to ratify. So next week is do or die on this issue.
The point of this diary is to expose the bizarre Orwellian inverted-speak at play here. We already know that Republicans are masters at this game. For example:
Then alter the constitution to deny the right.
Want to "protect" our liberties?
Then elevate a unitary king who on his own discretion can indefinitely detain any of us at his arbitrary whim. And who can ignore laws passed by Congress if he and his vice president decide over a beer that it should be so.
Want to "support the troops"?
Then send them off on speculative military adventures. And send them in light numbers, so they can't control the occupation, becoming easy targets for insurgents. And send them without armor. And leave them there treading water indefinitely.
Want to support working families?
Then sell them on tax cuts for the super rich, paid for with reductions in student loan assistance.
Want to protect religious liberty?
Then coerce people by codifying Christianity into our laws.
You get the idea. But now we can add a new one:
Want to protect the flag?
Then destroy it by making its appeal hollow.
Let me explain.
Why do we so cherish the flag? Why do we as Americans think it's a unique symbol in a world filled with so much pain?
Well, the reason we value it so much is that our allegiance to it is VOLUNTARY. We as free individuals through our own volition latch onto it as a beacon. We reach that conclusion on our own. In other words, it's respect in its purest form, not coerced nationalism.
To me, that's why our flag is so transcendant, compared with those of other nations.
If you think about it, a flag desecration amendment - and the resulting laws - obliterates this very spirit. Because by enforcing through law a form of blind nationalism, allegiance becomes compelled, through coercion. The flag as we know it is literally destroyed.
At this point, it's no longer allegiance in the pure, precious form; it's fascism, mimicking similar laws in Nazi Germany, Iran, Iraq and Cuba (if I have those right). If we pass this amendment, respect for the American flag morphs into the same kind of "respect" displayed by the people of Iraq when they "voted" to keep Saddam in power with 99% of the vote. In other words, it becomes phony and hollow. Soulless.
The amendment would remove an inherent, God-given right - freedom of expression - and hang it out to dry at the whim of the majoritarian mob.
I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. I mean, look at the torture matter. Rather than elevate ourselves as the beacon for human rights standards, our Republican leaders would prefer to simply lower ourselves to the level of our enemies.
Same here, I suppose. Rather than remain a country courageous enough to take the good speech with the bad, and allowing respect for symbols to flower from an individual's free will, we are fatally close to becoming cowards on an important matter. Our leaders are about to say in one loud voice that they don't trust freedom - they'd rather play it safe and trample it, just like oppressive governments we supposedly abhor.
My only hope is that there are enough brave souls in the Senate to defeat this horrendous effort.
I just got in from a 10-mile run. So I'm pumped. For all of us with Democratic senators, get on the phone and express yourself. Don't simply send an email - CALL. Talk to a human. As teacherken said in a super diary yesterday on Kos, tell your senator this is a make or break issue.
It's time to further translate netroots energy into victories. And there's no better cause than defense of patriotism.