Monday, June 19, 2006

Identify the common factor

One thing unites these nations: the United States, Cuba, China, Iran, and (Saddam's) Iraq. Our hatred, and desire for explicit legal penalties, for desecrating the flag.

Sixty-six Senators back a Constitutional amendment restricting people's rights to petition their government for redress of grievances, one less than is needed to pass the amendment.

Soon Congress (and the courts) may get the chance to tackle such weighty issues as (in Joe Biden's turn of phrase): Does "wearing a very skimpy bathing suit" decorated with the flag constitute an act of flag desecration? If, as amendment backer Dianne Feinstein claims, a bathing suit isn't a flag, can one legally burn such a bathing suit in protest?

If Congress bans any combustion of flags, what will the America-haters of the VFW do? Will they find new ways of retiring worn out flags, or will Congress ban burning the flag when certain intentions are behind it? And if so, will the issue not be the burning of the flag, but the speech act implicit in the burning, a topic for the 1st amendment, not the newly passed amendment?

On the scale of retarded things to spend time on, this amendment rates a perfect ten. It fails to solve a problem, it takes away citizens' liberty for no cause, it distracts from real issues, and it won't have the effect its backers hope to achieve.