Campaign '06 has begun!
This is the only way I can explain the fact that the Anti-Flag-Burning Amendment (well, actually anti-flag desecration*) has once again gained traction.
I mean, what other possible reason could there be for trotting this out now? It definitely does not solve any of society's current ills--it doesn't even claim to. Flag burning in this country is quite the rare event, surprising given the activities the flag has been made to stand for in the last few years, but it really is rare. Nobody on the streets is calling out for this amendment, because they don't see the supposed offense happening anyway. The only times I see a flag getting burned within our borders is when Congress brings up this fucking amendment. It also flirts pretty seriously with converting an icon of patriotism into an icon merely of nationalism--If they have their way, you won't treat the flag with respect because it's worth it, because it stands for something, like freedom. You'll treat it with respect because you have to. By law.
Hell, there's a better than average chance that this won't even make it out of the Senate, much less get ratified.**
So why do we have to go through this again? So Representative Red District can go home and make a big deal of his vote on the "issue," that's why. In a year when Republicans are looking more and more like a bunch of inept crooks out to line their own pockets and hand over the country to big corporations to plunder, they need something that looks clean to drape around their shoulders come election time. And they need it worse than ever. So it's to be the flag. Again. Who's "desecrating" what here?
Or as it might be mentioned on Fark.com: "All American problems solved, Congress turns to flag burning amendment."*I take issue with the term "desecration" also. In the amendment (and it's VERY terse), desecration of the flag will (actually just "can") be prohibited by Congress. The very term "desecration" suggests that the flag is sacred. Out of six definitions I've found for "sacred," only one could be construed to apply to the nation's flag, out of a sea of religious definitions. Now maybe it's just me, but I'm offended by the existence of things that are supposed to be sacred or otherwise beyond reproach or question. If the supposed reason is religious, I'm even more upset by the idea. I reject the idea that defacing, burning or even folding, spindling and mutilating the American flag is desecration. It's just defacement, burning, folding, spindling or mutilation.
And let's face it. The only reason flag burning is shocking is because the flag is supposed to stand for a country where people have freedoms. Take away some of those freedoms to protect the flag, and suddenly there's no need to protect it, because it doesn't stand for anything anyway.
**OK, sure, this time around it has a better chance of passing in the Senate than it ever has (and this is trotted out every major congressional election cycle by the way), but still, the pro-amendment folks still can't actually claim a solid majority. They're just closer than last time.