Some Flag Day Thoughts on Flag Burning

We seem to be having yet another of our occasional, moronic flare ups of that perennial Kabuki fight, the flag burning debate, and today seems like as good a day as any to say something about it. Of course, there isn't a whole lot to say—it's a simple enough issue and the ground's well covered—but here's one thought I haven't seen floated elsewhere. Since we're talking about amending the Constitution, I sometimes think there just must be some epidemic of daily flag-burnings on every streetcorner, but as far as I can ascertain, it's actually pretty rare. Every now and then you see some 14 year old soi-disant "anarchist" in a black bandanna torch one at a protest or something, but everyone else invariably seems either bored or embarassed by such antics: As a rule, people here recognize that while maybe flag burning is considered political speech under the First Amendment, it is almost always stupid, counterproductive political speech that's not going to win you any friends.

No, burning American flags is a lot like soccer: Americans have never gotten all that into it, but it's wildly popular in much of the rest of the world. A rest of the world that, barring a third Bush term, American law does not cover. So it might be worth considering the effects of a burn ban in the places where most of the actual flag burning happens. What do people in the rest of the world think of when they see an American flag being burned? Maybe they just see opposition to American policy or military power. But maybe—if we're lucky—they also see opposition to American values: Freedom, democracy, reality television. In the wake of a constitutional amendment, though, I can guarantee what a lot of them will think instead is: "This act of political dissent would be a crime in the United States." And in the shadow of that tought, every hateful claim the people burning those flags make about the hollowness of America's commitment to the high-sounding principles it proclaims will seem a little more plausible.

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  • ||

    I don't remember seeing the flag burned much in the Arab World; I think they're mostly into hittin' it with their sandals. We definitely shouldn't make it against the law to hit the flag with your sandals.

  • ||

    A flag-burning amendment is nothing more than idolatry. It elevates the symbol, while destroying the actual principle the symbol is supposed to represent.

  • Taktix||

    Goddammit, it's just a fucking piece of dyed cloth. People are starving, war is ravaging, cancer strickens far too many people than it should in this day and age.

    And gub'ment assholes are still up at night worrying that some hippie three states away might burn a flag?

    I think a lot of symbolic shit like this stems from the fact that many of these assholes are so wrapped up in their religious zealotry that they apply this template to law.

    1000 years ago: It's a sin for your rosary to touch the ground.

    Today: It's a si... unAmerican to let your flag touch the ground.

    I'd rather burn flags than burn books.

  • ||

    How come you so rarely see Americans burning flags of other nations? I mean, we all hate France, but we never burn their flags. (Full disclosure: I once burned a souffle, but it was more accidental than political). Even back when hating South Africa for Apartheid was cool, we never burned their flags; we just banned their Krugerands and refused to play Sun City. What's up with that? What's Iran gotta do before we burn their flags?

  • ||

    I remember during one of the "flare ups" of the issue in the early nineties, my brother and his friend (both of whom were military veterans) planned to torch the flag the instant after the law was passed. The law wasn't passed, and their flag was saved.

    I think it's a stupid thing to do, unless a law against it is passed. Then, it would be a relevant act of civil disobedience.

  • Dwight Brown||

    The number of flag burnings I've actually seen in person is exactly equal to the number of unattended blasting caps I've found.

  • ||

    I think banning flag buring is just pandering to a bloc of voters (much like the ban on gay marriage). Although flag buring is pointless and dumb, I think it should remain legal to show some of the less democratic goverments in the world that it is O.K. to have dissent within the country.

    I can guarantee what a lot of them will think instead is: "This act of political dissent would be a crime in the United States."

    I agree

    When I watch the news seeing jihadists (and probably others) buring the American flag, I sometimes laugh inside knowing that they probably don't even realize that they have a right to do that on American soil.

    I think that banning flag buring would send a signal out to the world that we are for freedom, but only if you agree with us.

  • ||

    "I think it's a stupid thing to do, unless a law against it is passed. Then, it would be a relevant act of civil disobedience."

    SP, you hit the nail on the head. Maybe Reason would sponsor such an event.

  • ||

    Commander: "Hand salute."

    (Color Guards present arms. Post Standard is dipped. All officers and members except those on the Flag detail salute. Members of the Flag detail dip the condemned Flags in kerosene and place them on a rack over the fire).

    (Bugler sounds "To the Colors.")

    American Legion Flag Disposal Ceremony

    Have the flag worshippers figured out if their amendment will supercede the U.S. Flag Code's rules on disposal by burning? If not, protestors could hold a "disposal ceremony" of their own.

    Norman Thomas was an old pinko, but I always liked this remark of his:

    If you want a symbolic gesture, don't burn the flag; wash it.

    Kevin

  • ||

    How much more plausible will the hollowness seem for an activity that is rare to be banned, when smoking marijuana, a much more common activity, already lands people in jail. The hollowness is already there in full force.

    I think a flag burning amendment isn't needed and to some extent it trivializes the U.S. Constitution. However, the fact that people are pursuing it (and hopefully it will be defeated) through the process mandated by the Constitution shows that they respect the Constitution a hell of a lot more (at least in this particular instance) than the "commerce clause allows us to do whatever we want" folk.

    I just can't see there being a huge difference in thought abroad due to such a Constitutional amendment. I certainly don't think that if we pass it, a lot of people who are ambivalent about the U.S. will start to hate us. I don't think a bunch of pro-U.S. people will become ambivalent or anti. I don't even think it provides enough weight to be a straw that breaks a camel's back.

    From my perspective, you're rightly against a flag burning amendment, but are coming up with a scenario that ostensibly adds another reason to be against it, but really you're just preaching to the choir.

    Or to phrase it another way, can someone come up with a hypothetical monologue that would demonstrate this effect, something like

    Before the U.S. passed the flag-burning amendment, I thought $(old_thoughts) about the U.S. Now that they've done it, I think $(new_thoughts).

    It may just be my poverty of imagination, but I can't come up with old_thoughts and new_thoughts that demonstrate Julian's points. In his scenario there are people who are sufficiently upset with the U.S. to burn the flag. These are foreigners who are not burning the flag just to protest the amendment. What could the amendment have changed?

  • ||

    I fly the Naval Jack, and recently got a new one to replace my faded, tattered flag. I decommissioned the old flag according via burning. I guess post a flag burning amendment, throwing it the trash will be the new procedure.

  • ||

    Oh, Zeus, is it Flag Day again? During an election year? Must be time to push an amendment that nobody wants. Rather than do something productive like fix the tax code or recognize limits on government power. Instead, let's get more authoritarian! Yippee!

  • ||

    Sorry, Ayatollah Usoe, but that would involve desecrating a holy national symbol. No, you must instead keep the flag in perpetuity, while burning candles for it before a shrine you must construct in its honor. And don't say anything bad about the flag, because defamation is another form of desecration. Don't even look at it with your un-American thoughts.

  • ||

    It is vitally important that the US protect freedom and democracy around the world by making sure that anyone that dares light fire to a brightly colored piece of cloth is locked up for a very long time. If people are allowed to express themselves in any way that they see fit, it will sully the memory of all of our brave men and women in uniform that fought to give them their freedom.

  • fyodor||

    These are foreigners who are not burning the flag just to protest the amendment. What could the amendment have changed?

    anon2, I don't claim to know how much effect a flag-burn ban would affect anti-Americanism, but I think you miss the point if you think Julian is saying the amendment would directly affect those who are already disposed to burn the US flag. I think his point is that burning the US flag could have a better PR value towards and a deeper impact on those viewing the activity, either from the side of the street on on Al Jazeera (sp?) were the act illegal in the US.

    Personally, I can see the potential, though I would tend to think that after the first month or two, it would likely be a minor factor. Though as I already said, I wouldn't claim clairvoyance i the matter.

    Still, nothing gets people excited like breaking taboo. And assymetrical taboo is easiest to break. Best not make oneself vulnerable to it without good reason, and of course, that there is none is the crux of the matter here.

  • Larry A||

    Prosecuting a protestor for burning a U.S. flag is a greater desecration than the burning.

  • ||

    First thing I do if this amendment is ratified is walk into Congress and arrest all of those jerks for desecrating the Constitution. Then I'm a walkin' over to the White House. And so on.

    Say, maybe we don't need the Censor if this gets enacted--we'll just arrest every politician who "desecrates" any American symbol.

  • ||

    Isn't the prupose of the Consititution to lay out the rights of the people? There was once an amendment that took away rights - the 18th. It lasted a whole 14 years before it was repealed by the 21st.

    If I have to pay taxes to support the government (and I a bit uncomfortable about that as it is) do they have to waste my money on BS like thid?

  • ||

    Oy vey, somebody feed the server squirrels... been trying to post this for a while.

    I think it's a stupid thing to do, unless a law against it is passed. Then, it would be a relevant act of civil disobedience."

    I'm reminded of an chapter in Allan Sherman's (yep, *that* Allan Sherman) The Rape of the A.P.E. He posits that if a law were passed that prohibited stuffing 47 tennis balls in one's toilet, that the country would be plauged by plugged toilets. Not because we're a nation of lawbreakers- just the opposite. Because human nature would dictate that, while there might be some rebels and petty criminals who stuff 47 tennis balls in the toilet, and some severely perverted degenerates might put 48 or even 49 in, most everybody, being the normal law abiding citizens they are, would have 46 tennis balls in their toilet.

    There is no more sure way to increase the number of flag burnings than to pass an amendment. Why to amendment supporters want to burn the flag?

  • ||

    "Free speech does not protect the speech that we love, it protects the speech that we hate."

  • ||

    However, the fact that people are pursuing it (and hopefully it will be defeated) through the process mandated by the Constitution shows that they respect the Constitution a hell of a lot more (at least in this particular instance) than the "commerce clause allows us to do whatever we want" folk.

    You've got to be kidding. You really think they're pursuing an amendment because they respect the Constitution? They're pursuing an amendment because the Supreme Court left them no other alternative after Texas v. Johnson. You think if they could simply pass a law based on a "commerce clause allows us to do whatever we want" approach they wouldn't?

  • ||

    Kind of interesting that I'm legally protected in most cities to light up the American Flag but if I light up a foriegn flag it would be a hate crime or (God forbid) a cigarette, it which case I would be fined and imprisoned.

  • ||

    Brian Courts is absolutely correct. They tried to pass an anti-desecration law after Texas and got bitch-slapped for their trouble by a very angry SCOTUS. The SCOTUS has taken an increasingly dim view of Congress enacting legislation that is facially unconstitutional. Except when the SCOTUS feels like letting the government run amok, that is.

  • ||

    What about depictions of flag-burning? Cartoons, for example. Or how about a tattoo? What's the penalty for that?

  • ||

    Brian Courts,

    No, I'm not kidding. I admit I worded something poorly. Change "they respect" to "they respect or have been forced to respect" and the rest of my comment stands. In other words, I meant to emphasize the process, not the motivation.

    Fyodor,

    I just don't see the "deeper impact" as being anything more than epsilon deeper. In other words, I believe that such an amendment certainly wouldn't make things better and probably wouldn't leave everything exactly untouched, so in that sense, yes it would be "deeper". However I'll go out on a limb and say that I think the effect would be immeasurably small.

    There are a lot of good arguments against a flag burning amendment. This one isn't, in my opinion. I suspect the popularity of this particular argument lies more in the conclusion that it reaches (a flag burning amendment is a bad idea) than in the argument itself.

    For example, let's say the U.S. passed an amendment to the Constitution that prohibited people from burning a picture of Muhammad. Someone in another country burns a picture of Muhammad and is stoned to death. As they're doing this, they're thinking "This act of blasphemy would be a crime in the United States" which makes them feel better about the U.S. That's an argument in favor of amending the Constitution to prohibit Muhammad's burning. Is it compelling?

  • ||

    One of the things that bugs me about this amendment, among a list too long to repeat here, is that it doesn't ban things like T-shirts or scarves, just political speech using the flag. I would argue that cheap commercial uses are far more "desecrating" than any sort of protest.

    Let me give a personal example. Back in the day, when I had the figure for it, I had an outfit consisting of a midriff-bearing top made out of dark blue fabric printed with white stars and very abreviated red and white striped shorts. Think a 4th of July celebration at Hooter's. I was cheapening the meaning behind the flag; the protestors at least take the meaning seriously. My actions, however, would have been legal under this amendment.

  • Mike Laursen||

    re: "How come you so rarely see Americans burning flags of other nations?"

    After you've gotten into the habit of bombing other nations, merely burning their flags just doesn't scratch that itch.

  • Kara||

    According to the American Legion handbook burning a flag is the proper way of disposing of it. It is ironic that the Legion is for a ban on flag burning (which doesnt make any sense).

    Instead of being concerned with a piece of fabric, they should be more concerned with what it stands for.

  • ||

    I'm not up on the latest iteration of the anti-desecration amendment, but I do recall running across something saying that the planned law (post-ratification) to implement a ban on desecration would exempt "respectful" burnings of the flag. Well, if you're protesting by burning the flag, don't use curse words and be sure to dress conservatively. And bow to the flag as it is burning. These actions, taken together, will create a penumbra of respectfulitude.

  • ||

    I will observe only that many of the self-styled "anarchists" (protesting in favor of greatly increased gov't intervention in something -- or everything), when they burn a flag, it ain't their own flag, but one that they've stolen. Not that they're ever prosecuted for that theft...

    This observation out of the way, I'm with the upthread commenter who said that if this nonsense were ever enacted, I would immediately take down my flag and set it alight.

    Not that there's any danger of it actually being enacted -- this is just another example of an election-year Congressional circle-jerk. Worthless goatfucker bastards.

  • ||

    Back in the day, when I had the figure for it, I had an outfit consisting of a midriff-bearing top made out of dark blue fabric printed with white stars and very abreviated red and white striped shorts. Think a 4th of July celebration at Hooter's. I was cheapening the meaning behind the flag; the protestors at least take the meaning seriously. My actions, however, would have been legal under this amendment.

    Around the time she became a citizen my wife liked to wear a sexy tank top with a Love American Style style heart/flag in the middle. She considered it rather patriotic. I certainly didn't argue about it.

    Far from cheapening it, if you want people to revere the flag, you have to put it somewhere that people want to look ;)

  • VM||

    "These actions, taken together, will create a penumbra of respectfulitude."

    awesome.

  • ||

    Let me give a personal example. Back in the day, when I had the figure for it, I had an outfit consisting of a midriff-bearing top made out of dark blue fabric printed with white stars and very abreviated red and white striped shorts. Think a 4th of July celebration at Hooter's.

    &

    Around the time she became a citizen my wife liked to wear a sexy tank top with a Love American Style style heart/flag in the middle.

    This is an important issue. I would like to hear more about this.

    These items, they were tight? Did the flag ripple, swell, heave, etc.?

  • ||

    "... huddled masses, yearning to breathe free ..."

  • ||

    "These actions, taken together, will create a penumbra of respectfulitude."

    I don't know, Pro Libertate, I think the penumbra of respectfilitude would be greater for the Daisy Duke / Halter top flag combo mentioned above. Of course, this depends on who's wearing it...

  • ||

    Arrgh. I'd written my last comment before I saw Stevo's. Appy polly loggies for the near duplication.

  • jk||

    "As a rule, people here recognize that while maybe flag burning is considered political speech under the First Amendment, it is almost always stupid, counterproductive political speech that's not going to win you any friends."

    What friends do you think the signers of the Declaration of Independence were trying to win by committing treason?

    Standing up for what you think is right is seldom about shaping your speech or expression to avoid offending people, unless what you think is right is peddling sodas or toothpaste.

    A perfectly good reason to burn a flag as a form of protest is that Congress wants to wipe its ass on the First Amendment by making it illegal to do so.

    Happy Flag Day

  • ||

    A flag located on the female bosom shall not constitute desecration, provided that the bosom shall be gravity-defying, as defined in Executive Order 12949, and of a size sufficient to fill a C-cup or larger.

    A male bosom is right out.

  • ||

    they respect the Constitution a hell of a lot more

    I could buy this if they pursued these stunts in non-election years.

    Oh, and if their other actions didn't betray these ideals.

    Did the flag ripple, swell, heave, etc.?

    Thanks for not mentioning "standing at attention" in the presence of the flag.

  • ||

    I have, for some years, felt that the solution to the Flag Burning fight was simple:

    Arrest anyone who burns an American Flag for setting a fire in a public place without a permit, and (if the situation is a crowded one) for reckless endangerment.

    A full sized flag is a fairly large piece of cloth. Set on fire it becomes, in potential, a sheet of flame that could get loose of its moorings and be wrapped around somebody by a passing breeze. In fact, I could swear I remember a picture of this happening to an anti-American protester in the days just following 9/11, but I don't remember where.

    Arresting Flag Burners for being reckless fools rather than for 'desecrating the Flag' would force them to

    A) Burn tiny flags, thus rendering themselves even more absurd

    B) Give up the practice (fat chance)

    C) Do the time and pay the fines.

    or

    D) Obtain a permit every time they want to burn a Flag, and adhere strictly to whatever safety regulations apply - which would but them on an even social footing with the Cross Burning twits of the KKK ..... where they belong.

  • ||

    If burning a flag is desecration, what have the flagmeisters to say in regard to flying a flag which is dirty, faded, and tattered?

    My grandfather, an Army veteran from a time when it was unnecessary to specify World Wars by number, used to go into an apoplectic frenzy when he saw a decrepit, worn-out flag fluttering from some fool's front porch.

    There were times when I thought he was going to stop the car and go to up the front door and forcibly compel the owner of said pathetic tattered rag to decommission it, by (you guessed it) burning it.

  • ||

    Stevo Darkly,
    Would you have a word with C. S. P. Schofield?

    He should be posting as an eye-witness to Sherman's March from Atlanta to the sea.

    (That burned me up, BTW, even though it was a few years before my time.)

  • ||

    Things like this and the gay marriage amendment are the reason why the Republican party scares the hell out of me.

    It isn't that I value gay marriage and flag burning so much more highly than economic freedom and gun rights. No, what scares me is that these measures are apparently necessary to appease their core supporters, because their core supporters are upset over the energy spent on the failed social security reform effort.

    Now, say what you will about the social security proposals put forth a while back. Love them, hate them, call them intermediate steps, whatever. The fact remains that the GOP base apparently considered these things a waste of energy that could have been better spent on gay marriage and flag burning amendments.

    I may not have liked all of the proposals put forth, but I certainly thought that Social Security was an issue worthy of attention, with the hundreds of billions of dollars (if not trillions of dollars) at stake. I didn't think of it as a distraction.

    But many (no, not all) of the GOP core supporters considered it a distraction from the more pressing matter of amending our most fundamental legal document to express disapproval of behaviors.

    That scares the hell out of me. Yes, yes, I know, the Democrats would do all sorts of awful things as well if their core supporters had their way. I'm not suggesting that anybody learn to love the Dems. I'm just saying that the GOP scares me. That's all.

  • ||

    I would like to note that Google did not create one of their signature holiday graphics for google.com. They didn't do one for Memorial Day either, yet the Persian New Year gets one... go figure.

    http://www.google.com/holidaylogos.html

  • ||

    Ruthless,

    Huh? What did I say that provoked THAT reaction? In what way is there a connection? I seriously don't get it, and I'd like to.


    Thoreau,

    At least the Republican political hacks have the decency to amend the constitution. The Democrats simply do an end run around the Constitution or Bill of Rights by ignoring both when convenient. It isn't as if the constitution hasn't been amended in sillier ways. Graduated Income Tax and Prohibition come to mind....

    Seriously, in a rational society neither of the amendments that spook you so badly would be issues. Marriage has meant a union of male and female for longer than there has been an English language. Hell, the Macedonian Greeks of Alexander's army revered homosexual relationships above heterosexual ones .... but still used a word meaning 'marriage' exclusively to refer to the male/female pairing. The bumptious judges who believe that they have a right to change the meaning of the language of the laws, and thus the meaning of the laws, are out of order. And I'm pro-Gay marriage.

    As for Flag Burning; playing with fire on that scale in a crowded public place is irresponsible. A rational society would treat flag burners as firebugs, unless they got the necessary permits. We are, as a society, altogether too fond of 'symbolic speech' that could hurt people. The use of fire is a good example; were you aware that the Kent State protesters had (the night before the shootings) set fire to the ROTC building and interfered with firefighters on the scene? Think about the death toll if that had gotten out of control. Or think about the awful possibilities connected with PETA twits - or Pro-Life jerks - throwing red paint about (fortunately, I suppose that most of the little old ladies who wear mink also wear glasses).

    I agree that Amendments are not the way to deal with either problem. The Mass. judges should be impeached for grossly exceeding their authority, and protesters who endanger the public by playing with fire should be jailed (and placed under observation). No amendments required. But the political reality is that rational reactions are sometimes not possible. With a little luck just the effort to try to pass such amendments will blow off the necessary steam.

  • Ron Hardin||

    The annual flag burning amendment debate is our canary in the coal mine, checking that free speech is still well.

    Flag burning makes enough of the right people mad so that when they lose again, it verifies that the flag still waves over the land.

    Philosophically, the problem is that the flag belongs to everybody, not some veterans' special interest group. In belongs to snake oil salesmen as well as boy scouts, and anybody may fly it.

    The only actual desecration experience I have is when a politician stands next to a flag, but that's the price of freedom.

  • An Annoyed Moose||

    "At least the Republican political hacks have the decency to amend the constitution."
    "I agree that Amendments are not the way to deal with either problem."

    I guess partisanship has to be qualified somehow. It's good to have a wafer thin rationalization so you can still pretend to be a "classical Liberal, with a big 'L'" or whatever the hell you'd profess to be. And then you can pretend to be logical and consistent. No appeals to Pathos here. Move along.

    You're like those morons who claim "well, I support ID because it pisses off the liberals". Just have the balls to admit your stance, go for it, and we can discuss. This pussy footing around your feelings that people shouldn't be burning the flag (what a fucking dumb issue, anyways) and want technicalities to do your dirty work for you.

    But then again, lots of the fundie types today feel that "free expression" = "free to express things how I want them expressed and any activity of which I disapprove should be banned".

    Why don't you go and hump your Judge Bork blow up doll and get back to us when your pripasm calms down.


    And may England lose. Cannot stand that team. Or its fans.

    Immer wieder
    immer wieder
    immer wieder Oesterreich


    oh whoops.

  • ||

    Am I taking crazy pills or something, or am I the only American* who is pulling for Team USA?

    * I was going to say the only American other than those directly associated with the team, but after the game against the Czechs, I'm thinking it may be just me. Certainly, I don't think I've seen one pro-U.S. soccer posting in this forum. Don't piss me off, or I'll burn your flag.

  • VM||

    ProL: Am definitely cheering for the US. I didn't think the US had a chance (predicted 0:2 and "not that close"). I have the US going three then home, maybe scoring one goal. Like back in 1998. This was a prediction before the tourney started. It doesn't diminish how I cheer or how I hope.

    Maybe that's a different reaction from what you're used to. But: I grew up near Cleveland. Am used to the teams losing in dull, drab fashion (with only a few exceptions where they managed to lose spectacularly).

    Perhaps what you're seeing is the casual world cup fan that actually believed in the FIFA rankings.

    Dunno. But Mrs. Moose and I are big fans of US Men's and Women's Soccer. But neither of us have the US advancing (she has the US at drawing with Ghana). Nor did we have the US coming close to CZ. Sigh.

  • ||

    VM, I was rather hopeful this year, only because this team had been playing fairly well. I was thinking that maybe the Czech Republic was overrated, but they played pretty well against us. We should've been more aggressive, which is our usual failing in the World Cup, but I think we were also outmatched :(

    If we can get our act together against Ghana, maybe we have a vague chance of advancing. Beating Italy in Europe will take an amazing performance by Team USA, though. Somebody sure hates us out there--could we have gotten a worse draw?

  • ||

    The flag burning amendment is a shibboleth.

    If it were really to be enacted, the downside wouldn't be anywhere near as bad as that of Wikard v. Filburn or McConnell v. FEC. It would be a waste of money in all three branches of government, but as a percentage of GDP it wouldn't even register. People are opposed to a flag burning amendment more because of what such an amendment stands for than the net loss associated with it being successfully passed. This includes both the net loss of money associated with legislation, enforcement and prosecution as well as the loss of the ability to burn a U.S. flag, an act that is already rare.

    Sure, if a flag burning amendment is passed, a bunch of people will burn a flag in protest, but only because it's easily done and the penalty incurred initially is likely to be minimal. There's already a substance that one can burn in public to demonstrate one's opposition to encroachment of liberty and get arrested for doing so, yet few people do so, even though the illegality of marijuana has a huge negative impact on the country.

    Interestingly, to me anyway, people are in favor of a flag burning amendment more because of what such an amendment stands for than the net benefit that they associate with it being passed. I have a hard time articulating their reasoning, but it's clearly about symbolism, just like opposition to the amendment.

    On both sides, the message associated with the amendment is much bigger than the effect of the amendment. Although the messages are big, the effect is so small, that it's an issue that could safely be ignored, except that ignoring it would fail to show solidarity for your group, and such individualism is a major breech of social patterns.

    In the meantime, it's real easy to get very animated when talking about the subject and to feel quite superior to people on the other side. Not only is there no risk of getting arrested for doing so, you're unlikely to be ostracized by your peers. Instead, you'll get high fives for being on the right side of this ostensibly important issue.

  • VM||

    "Somebody sure hates us out there--could we have gotten a worse draw?"

    we were, tho, appropriately put into bin three, so in any group, we'd be up against two other elite teams, and we'd be saying this anyways. until we get some wins the hard way in UFEA land, we're gonna be in bad draws. sigh.

    sigh.

  • lunchstealer||

    A flag located on the female bosom shall not constitute desecration, provided that the bosom shall be gravity-defying, as defined in Executive Order 12949, and of a size sufficient to fill a C-cup or larger.

    What? You're dissing B-Cups? But they're so perky! I just don't know if I can support your anti-perk politics.

    A male bosom is right out.

    At least there is common ground.

  • ||

    I'm sorry, lunchstealer, but the Clinton Administration clearly defined "big breasts" as C-cups or larger in its executive order. This was done at Clinton's request to clarify what the Czechs meant when they said, "You know. . .you American girls have such big breasts all the time."

  • VM||

    ProL and Lunchstealer:

    That's because most of his B-cup interns couldn't hold his cigar in their cleavage...

  • ||

    My fellowship was in the summer of 1995, when Monica was hired. Though I don't recall ever seeing her, I do remember vividly thinking how hot most of the female interns were. Like disturbingly so, considering that most of them were scions of supporters of the president. Anyway, I don't remember a lot of B-cups in that crowd. America has a reputation to maintain, after all.

  • ||

    Annoyed Moose,

    No, I wouldn't call myself a Liberal. I'm a Crank.

    If people want to dribble paint on the Flag, stomp on the Flag, shred the Flag, I'm fine with that. I simply don't think that "Freedom of Speech" should extend to "Nonverbal Speech" that endangers the public - or, for that matter, violates common sense public health codes; no peeing on the Flag (without being arrested for public urination, or whatever the local health codes call it). That Flag burning is wonderfully photogenic, and this would hamper that, pleases me, but I think the foundation of safety concern is legit.

    As for "lots of the fundie types today feel that "free expression" = "free to express things how I want them expressed and any activity of which I disapprove should be banned".", how, exactly, does that differ from the attitude of so many Campus Liberal Elitists? THEY get to say that any male is a 'potential rapist', but god help you if you disagree with them on anything.

    I say that Amendments shouldn't be necessary because they shouldn't. The majesty of the Constitution is overkill in both cases. Unhappily, some kind of Amendment may well be the only way to get the judiciary under some kind of control. Judges who think they have the authority to change the meaning of the language so that laws say what THEY want the laws to say are an authentic menace. The Gays are happy now, but how happy would they be if some homophobic judge decided that laws passed to protect Gays meant something else?

    The Flag Burning amendment is silly. It should be possible, even with modern courts, to arrest and fine or imprison Flag burners on the simple grounds that what they do isn't safe. If they apply for permits, give them no more and no less than the KKK gets when they try for permits for a Cross burning. If being placed on the same level as the Klux annoys the Flag burners, good.

    Law mangling judges are a serious threat. Flag burners are annoying twits. Our response should be proportionate, and we should refrain form promiscuous amendments where possible.

  • Moose is Confused, now. hrumph||

    "No, I wouldn't call myself a Liberal. I'm a Crank."

    ah! gotcha! a loquatious one at that !

  • ||

    THEY get to say that any male is a 'potential rapist'

    Only if she thinks about saying "no."

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