Making Flag Burning Illegal

Looks like House Republicans are pushing to make flag desecration illegal. Haven’t we already been through this?

link: http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20050622100909990028

Here’s an interesting quote from the esteemed Hillary Clinton: ‘I support federal legislation that would outlaw flag desecration, much like laws that currently prohibit the burning of crosses, but I don’t believe a constitutional amendment is the answer’

I suppose Ms. Clinton has not reviewed the Supreme Court decision that found that Virginia laws that prohibited cross burning, prima facia, were unconstitutional.

I’m sure BostonBarrister will pop in here and emend or amend as necessary (I’m not a lawyer, I just play one on internet forums).

I don’t agree with the act. However, the moment we start making actions we don’t agree with illegal simply because we don’t agree with them, the easier it will be to eventually make further restrictions on any action that whoever is in power doesn’t agree with.

I’ve thought for awhile that it would be such a good idea to have a new revolution. And then I realized that it wouldn’t do any good… 45 percent of “Americans” support a flag-burning ban.

Gentlemen, we have found the enemy, and they is us.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I don’t agree with the act. However, the moment we start making actions we don’t agree with illegal simply because we don’t agree with them, the easier it will be to eventually make further restrictions on any action that whoever is in power doesn’t agree with. [/quote]

I agree with this in theory, but in this particular case I disagree.

I disagree with the flag-burning amendment, and would vote against it in a ratification because I’m against restrictions on free speech.

However, I want people to talk about this, and discuss the importance of free speech, and realize that it should take a constitutional amendment to overcome a core constitutional provision, not just some ridiculous decision from a group of 9 unelected judges who decide they’ve discovered something unwritten amongst the “pnenumbras and emanations” of the Constitution, which is a fancy way of saying they made it up.

I want more people to be aware that Congress cannot trample on free speech simply because it thinks it has a good reason, i.e. hate-speech legislation.

So what I guess I’m saying my position is on this is that I hope it passes the House and Senate, so as to spur lots of debate, but is then either vetoed by Bush or not ratified.

[quote]nephorm wrote:
I’ve thought for awhile that it would be such a good idea to have a new revolution. And then I realized that it wouldn’t do any good… 45 percent of “Americans” support a flag-burning ban.

Gentlemen, we have found the enemy, and they is us.[/quote]

That’s why I like Walter Williams so much. He’s of the opinion that we whould call another constitutional convention and redo.

As for flag-burning. People can blame congress, but if you want to change the agenda - you have to change the congressman. But that probably won’t happen whrn only 4 out of 10 folks bother to vote.

People are too damn lazy. I think htere should be a law where - if you don’t vote you have lost you right to voice any opinions until the next elelction.

I’ve always found our obsession with our flag to be a wee bit odd. Even the wording of the pledge of allegience (!) strikes me as a bit off: “…AND to the republic for which it stands…”

Let me get this straight: we’re pledging to a SYMBOL of the republic AND to the republic? This seems sort of redundant. Then I did a bit of research into the history of the pledge and the modification of the wording (the later addition of “under God,” ostensibly added to show that we weren’t godless reds) and I came away even more confused. Why are more concerned with symbols and not actions? Statements about freedom and not actual freedoms?

I’ve lived my whole life in the US, so I can’t say for certain whether or not this bizarre “mistaking of the map for the territory” goes on in other republics. Anyone outside the US care to comment on this? Are there flag-burning controversies in the UK or Brazil or France or Germany (where they seem especially hostile to nationalism…with good reason!)?

It is a silly amendment.

Hillary’s statement is also silly. She knows tha flag burning is “free speech” and any laws prohiiting it are unconstitutional.

If she really wanted to ban flag burning a constitional amendment is the way to go.

I wish they would stop wasting time and money on these issues.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
I want more people to be aware that Congress cannot trample on free speech simply because it thinks it has a good reason, i.e. hate-speech legislation.
[/quote]

bb can you expand on this ? i’m not up on politics but i’m trying every chance i get to gain better understanding. i’m assuming from the “context clues” that there is legislation in place which prevents hate-speech while restricting 1st amm. freedoms ? what does it mean or imply if this is passed ? i don’t quite understand how something like this becomes a republican vs. democrat issue rather than a personal preference sort of thing ?

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Professor X wrote:
I don’t agree with the act. However, the moment we start making actions we don’t agree with illegal simply because we don’t agree with them, the easier it will be to eventually make further restrictions on any action that whoever is in power doesn’t agree with.

I agree with this in theory, but in this particular case I disagree.

I disagree with the flag-burning amendment, and would vote against it in a ratification because I’m against restrictions on free speech.

However, I want people to talk about this, and discuss the importance of free speech, and realize that it should take a constitutional amendment to overcome a core constitutional provision, not just some ridiculous decision from a group of 9 unelected judges who decide they’ve discovered something unwritten amongst the “pnenumbras and emanations” of the Constitution, which is a fancy way of saying they made it up.

I want more people to be aware that Congress cannot trample on free speech simply because it thinks it has a good reason, i.e. hate-speech legislation.

So what I guess I’m saying my position is on this is that I hope it passes the House and Senate, so as to spur lots of debate, but is then either vetoed by Bush or not ratified.[/quote]

The courts would not have to decide on everything if our elected officals were not so lazy and trying to keep their repective jobs at all costs.

I agree with Prof X, however, I do think it would be great fun if I would be allowed to express my Constitutional right to free speech by burning hippies…

When you value the symbols more so than the things for which they are merely placeholders, you are travelling down the wrong path.

Attempting to lionize or diefy the institutions and symbols of your country is a deceptively dangerous step.

Be a patriot, or else. Agree with everyone else about the value or the sanctity of this thing, or else.

The news article I read on the subject even mentions that people are afraid to vote against it because they can already see the attack ads during the next election.

Wake up America! You are traveling a dark and lonely road and I’m afraid you are losing your way…

I think it would be nice if we could protect the flag and therefore the country that it represents by knocking the shit out of people that burn it.
Either that or decriminalize the laws regarding such beatings. Kind of like the way they tried to make penalties for hate crimes much more severe, only opposite.

[quote]mindeffer01 wrote:
I think it would be nice if we could protect the flag and therefore the country that it represents by knocking the shit out of people that burn it.
Either that or decriminalize the laws regarding such beatings. Kind of like the way they tried to make penalties for hate crimes much more severe, only opposite.
[/quote]

Yeah, sure. Let’s pass a law that says we can beat the hell out of anyone we don’t agree with. That would make for an exceptional society.

When will the supposedly intelligent people in our government realize that they cannot micro manage the actions of every individual in society. They are in essence legislating a society of criminals.

Criminal acts should be defined as acts which intrude upon, or prevent the exercising of, the rights or freedoms of others. Using that definition, how does a person burning a flag intrude upon the right of a person who wants to fly a flag, salute it, or otherwise honor it and the institution it stands for?

I’m not saying that I think flag burning is not disrespectful. In fact I don’t care particularly car for homosexuals or smokers. But if two fags want to plug eachother in the backside and smoke a cigarette afterwards It’s not infringing upon my rights. Unless they do it on their front lawn instead of in the privacy of their own home.

From the Simpsons:

Kid: Hey, who left all this garbage on the steps of Congress?

Amendment:
I’m not garbage.
(Amendment starts singing)
I’m an amendment-to-be, Yes an amendment-to-be,
And I’m hoping that they’ll ratify me.
There’s a lot of flag-burners, Who have got too much freedom.
I want to make it legal for policemen to beat’em.
Cause there’s limits to our liberties,
At least I hope and pray that there are,
Cause those liberal freaks go too far.

(Spoken)
Kid: But why can’t we just make a law against flag-burning?

Amendment: Because that law would be unconstitutional. But if we changed the Constitution…

Kid: Then we could make all sorts of crazy laws!

Amendment: Now you’re catching on!

(Scene flips back to Bart and Lisa)
Bart: What the hell is this?
Lisa: It’s one of those campy “70’s” throwbacks that appeals to Generation "X"ers.
Bart: We need another Vietnam to thin out their ranks a little.

(Spoken)
Boy: But what if they say you’re not good enough to be in the Constitution?

Amendment singing:
Then I’ll destroy all opposition to me.
And I’ll make Ted Kennedy pay.
If he fights back, I’ll say that he’s gay.

(Big Fat Guy in a brown suite comes running up and states)
Big Fat Guy:
Good news, Amendment!
They ratified 'ya.
You’re in the U.S. Constitution!

Amendment: Oh, yeah! Door’s open, boys!
(At this point, other “right wing” bills and amendments run up the stairs of congress, shooting guns into the air and throwing bombs around).

[quote]nephorm wrote:
I suppose Ms. Clinton has not reviewed the Supreme Court decision that found that Virginia laws that prohibited cross burning, prima facia, were unconstitutional.
[/quote]

It’s just amazing to me how far off both sides are on this issue. For a conservative to push for a law banning cross or flag burning is a joke to me. If its a federal LAW it doesn’t matter because it is still protected by freedom of speech (as it has been greatly expanded to mean). If it is an amendment, it is certainly not a “conservative” amendment because its trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. In this sense, conservatives are selling out their idealistic conservative principles.

On the other hand, for such a law to be “Prima Facia” unconstitutional because of freedom of speech is just plain judicially improper. Freedom of speech should be determined on a case by case basis.

I think that many conservatives just are beginning to realize that with the power of the courts today, and the fact that the MOST LIBERAL interpretations tend to become precidents, that symbolic laws will soon pass away.

What a true conservative congress would do is pass an adendum to the bill of rights defining free speech. That’s the problem (for conservatives) not the issue of flag burning.

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
On the other hand, for such a law to be “Prima Facia” unconstitutional because of freedom of speech is just plain judicially improper. Freedom of speech should be determined on a case by case basis.
[/quote]

No one said that the law was “prima facia” unconstitutional. What I said were that VA laws that, prima facia, banned cross burning, were declared unconstitutional. They are not a content neutral ban. Burning a cross might have all sorts of non-intimidatory purposes (intimidation was the reason cited for the cross-burning laws). I might be anti-religion, for example, and burning a crucifix might be my way of protest. So by prima facia declaring that all cross burning is illegal, the VA legislature was assaulting freedom of speech. The SC ruling did not interfere with the state’s right to legislate against intimidation, just their ability to ban a class of speech because of one possible interpretation or use of it.

[quote]swivel wrote:
bb can you expand on this ? i’m not up on politics but i’m trying every chance i get to gain better understanding. i’m assuming from the “context clues” that there is legislation in place which prevents hate-speech while restricting 1st amm. freedoms ? [/quote]

I’m not BB, but I’ll take a crack, here. Legislators cannot, because of the 1st amendment, make hateful comments illegal. What they can do, apparently, is make penalties stiffer for people who seem to be motivated by hatred for a minority or protected class. So if I kill a guy on the street, it’s one prison term. If I kill him while screaming racial epithets, it’s a different prison term, and I’m being charged with a “hate crime.” The speech is not criminalized per se, but in combination with another crime, it exacerbates the offense. Make sense?

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
What a true conservative congress would do is pass an adendum to the bill of rights defining free speech. That’s the problem (for conservatives) not the issue of flag burning.
[/quote]

No, what a “true conservative” (or what they’re calling “paleo-conservative” these days) congress would do is leave the goddamned constitution alone, and realize that it is painfully obvious what the framer’s intended. The first amendment was intended to protect speech, regardless of its merit, from the prejudices of government and fellow citizen. I guess some people figure that changes when you really, really don’t like what someone is saying, huh?

OK, put simply

  1. When John Kerry says he is morally against abortion but would not vote against it BECAUSE he believes in seperation of church and state, I HAVE NOT RESPECT FOR HIM whatsoever.

  2. When a conservative proposes a law to prevent the “DESICRATION” of the flag, FOR POLITICAL REASONS, HE shits on the flag.

How did these messed up SOBs come to represent us?

[quote]nephorm wrote:
mertdawg wrote:
What a true conservative congress would do is pass an adendum to the bill of rights defining free speech. That’s the problem (for conservatives) not the issue of flag burning.

No, what a “true conservative” (or what they’re calling “paleo-conservative” these days) congress would do is leave the goddamned constitution alone, and realize that it is painfully obvious what the framer’s intended. The first amendment was intended to protect speech, regardless of its merit, from the prejudices of government and fellow citizen. I guess some people figure that changes when you really, really don’t like what someone is saying, huh?[/quote]

You may be right, I’m not sure. I’ve heard moderates say that freedom of speech was intended to allow public criticism of the government without fear of imprisonment. Others who say that it was intended to protect ones right to state an opinion, but not their right to choose the precise time, place or form of the statement of the opinion. And then there are those who say that clearly the framers of the constitution intended the right to bear arms to give the general public the military means to overthrow the government if necessary.