Place the Lighter on the Ground and Let Us See Your Hands
So I have been thinking on this whole flag burning issue and all the things it could imply. Now a lot of people right now are saying that there are more important issues at stake and something so trivial is a waste of time. Believing such is really losing sight of some very key changes happening in our nation right now. Being a strict conservative, and currently serving in Iraq, I was surprised to find that I am actually appalled that the House approved a ban on flag burning.
It has been well established that there are limits on free speech. For example, one cannot scream "Fire" in a crowded movie theater. That is based on public safety and a need to maintain order. Now burning a flag can defiantly lead to disorder and injury, especially when some pissed off war vets curb stomp the flag burner. However someone may burn the old "Stars and Stripes" for many reasons.
You could have someone burning the flag on some TV show to shock and disgust American viewers--hell, people watch reality television almost as a form of masochism anyways. Someone could burn the flag because they are an acid-dropping, tofu eating communist that hates the country that allows him to be so liberal-minded. It could be some dumb college kid that never worked a real day in his life who's trying to strike back at "the man." But you know what; there are others who might burn a flag or two.
Maybe it's a war vet with a lot of dead buddies who is pissed off that we are starting trade relations with Viet-Nam. Maybe it's that family that spent thirty years working its ass off to buy a home and is now told Starbucks can take it away from them for another high priced coffee shop. Heck, it could be a born again Christian down in Arizona pissed off that the Feds aren't doing enough to curb illegal immigration. As many reasons someone might burn a flag to show hate for America, there are as many to show love for the nation.
Burning a flag can be a stupid publicity stunt; a statement made by an idiot who has no idea how good he has it, or it could be someone showing true dismay that the Government has failed to protect the rights of its people. The flag is a symbol of all the dead who gave their lives for freedom. Indeed, it is a symbol of those very freedoms itself. Setting the symbol on fire can be an apt ways of saying those freedoms are in peril of being lost.
All of the constitutional rights we have in this country are supposed to work hand in hand to support the American people's God-given freedoms. Even the conservative-minded, nuke-loving, church-going guy I am is a little creeped out by what is happening here. I can really see the so called "slippery slope" happening here. Right now you are being told you cannot set a flag on fire to protest the government.
Given the right circumstances, like say a large riot at a protest, the government might place rules on when and where you can meet. What happens when you are told you are no longer able to meet in a group if it's to openly criticize the Government? If you or your children have grown used to losing one form of free speech, will you notice another going away?
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