Friday, June 09, 2006

Why Stop At Flag Burning?

The three items on the Republican Senate agenda this week were gay marriage, estate tax repeal, and flag burning. Two of these have now failed and we are waiting on the constitutional amendment to ban the burning of the American flag. Before the Senate votes on flag burning, Senator Frist should withdraw the constitutional amendment and rewrite it to make it more expansive and more in line with the conservative GOP agenda.

It is clear from Ann Coulter's outrageous comments recently, and from the Republicans rushing to defend her, that what they really want is for ordinary citizens to be stripped of the right to criticize their government. So Mr. Frist, I ask you, why would you stop so far short of what you really want? Particularly given how extraordinarily rare flag burnings are. Senator Frist, please, do not undershoot your goals, legislate to make America what your Party clearly wants America to be. I propose that the flag burning amendment be withdrawn so that a far better constitutional amendment can be brought to the floor. Why stop at flag burning? The Senate Republicans should instead go for what their party really wants and ban all speech except by public officials. For as Ms. Coulter and her supporters have argued: Why let the 9/11 victims make the case when Howard Dean can make it for them? Let's just get rid of speech by ordinary citizens, that way we can better weed out the rabble. The text of the amendment currently reads as follows:
The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.

But this can be much improved upon, Senator Frist should not stop there, when he can go so much further. The Amendment that the Senate should in fact be voting on would read like this.
The first article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed. Private Citizens in the United States shall speak only when spoken to.

With the extraordinary effort Republican partisons have gone to recently to defend Ann Coulter's outrageous statements, I fail to see why the Republican Party would sell itself short. Senator Frist should move to eliminate the pesky First Amendment immediately.

cross posted at dailykos


Abe said...

I think it morally reprehensible to burn the flag but it is a from of free speech so I guess the amendment would be wrong. Also i think you reaching with the GOP wants to get rid of free speech bit. They rush to defend Ann because she one of them.

Kari Chisholm said...

I still think it's silly that they don't just do a simple law that would require all flags to be made of fire retardant material.

If they can do it for kid's pajamas, they can do it for flags.

Ugh. Grandstanding.