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We don’t need flag amendment

Opportunistic politicians often believe they can win elections by finding out what scares voters and then offering to pass legislation to fix the so-called problem.

Monday, July 23, 2001

Opportunistic politicians often believe they can win elections by finding out what scares voters and then offering to pass legislation to fix the so-called problem.

Those same politicians like to wrap themselves in an American flag and claim that they alone are the defenders and protectors of freedom.

Pandering to our fears is one of the main reasons why the U. S. House of Representatives passed a constitutional amendment last week that would allow Congress to pass a law against burning the American flag.

We don’t need a flag amendment, and we certainly don’t need a flag amendment that takes away the right of an American citizen to express his/her opposition to government policy by burning an American flag.

Americans have always been fearful that someone or some group is going to take away the freedoms we hold so dear. Sometimes in our zeal to protect our freedoms, we inadvertently attempt to take away the freedoms of those in the minority who disagree with the majority view.

We lose sight of the fact that an American flag is a piece of cloth that belongs to the person who paid for it. It is not the property of our government. As the rightful owner, a person should be able to do with his/her property what he/she wants.

While I abhor burning or desecrating the flag as a sign of protest, I believe that everyone should have the right of free expression guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. If individuals who disagree with me want to burn a flag, they should be able to do it.

I, on the other hand, would never think of burning a flag or any other symbol of our great nation. I love my country and the freedom that it guarantees. I could not participate in any demonstration that included burning the flag.

But I will defend the right of any individual to express him/herself in that manner because I don’t think that burning a flag is going to result in the fall of our great nation. I’m more afraid of people who would inflame the majority to suppress a minority by perverting one of the main freedoms guaranteed to all Americans under the First Amendment – the right of free speech.

Freedom doesn’t live in a flag. Freedom lives in the hearts of Americans who are willing to step up and defend it. Those who worship the flag in the name of patriotism should instead support the United States by fighting to protect the freedoms that all of us enjoy. Burning a flag will not take away those freedoms, but an amendment to ban flag burning will.