How illegal should it be?
week, the US Senate took a brief recess from persecuting
The New York Times to vote on a Constitutional amendment
criminalizing desecration of the American flag. And not a
moment too soon. Though most of us would never think of burning
a flag unless Ann Coulter was wrapped in it, itís time to
face facts. This thing has gotten out of control. Everywhere
you look these days -- every street corner, bowling alley,
and infomercial -- thereís some pyro with a butane flicker
lighting up Old Glory.
were actually two separate votes -- one on proposed federal
legislation banning desecration of the flag and a second one
on whether to amend the Constitution itself. A third vote,
on whether to adopt a Constitutional amendment banning desecration
of the Constitution by frivolous amendment, was not taken.
Unfortunately, they couldnít quite sew it up this time. With
66 votes in favor, the Senate is still a Kerry or Clinton
away from moving the amendment forward. But with only a single
additional vote needed, that could happen one fine day when
fence-sitter Joe Lieberman decides to chew his gum on the
right side. When it does, a whole new confusing era of flag
law will be ushered in.
we will need to know what kind of sentences weíre talking
about. A year? Five years? How about a week per star, a month
per stripe? Lawmakers will need to codify first and second
degree flag burning, flag-slaughter, and flag burning in self-defense.
Decades of case law will be required to sort out the legality
of torching state, municipal, and Lions Club flags. Look forward
to month-long Congressional filibusters on the legal status
of flag linen, flag pajamas, and flag underwear. The Supreme
Court will eventually hand down a 125-page ruling on the legality
of flag toilet paper, with Justice Alito sitting out.
very notions of free speech will be challenged. Can you run
into a crowded theater and yell "Flag on fire?"
What if a flag burns in the woods and no oneís there to see
it? What about the penalty for playing flag football? Not
the political kind being played right now by Bill Frist. I
mean the kind using a real American flag. Iíve seen it, or
at least dreamt it, and Iíll tell you this -- someone has
gets more complicated. In the past, veterans caught burning
the Stars and Stripes have claimed they were holding a flag
funeral. This raises the fundamental question of whether the
flag was really dead or was just being euthanized. Florida
Governor Jeb Bush has issued several executive orders prohibiting
the removal of life support from comatose flags, while the
AMA has stressed the importance of all flags preparing a living
responding to flag burnings with arrests, prosecution, and
incarceration may no longer be enough. The President believes
we need to stop flag burnings before they happen. Through
a series of preemptive measures, we can strike at the heart
of those insurgents fanning the flames.
aggressive electronic monitoring, the Department of Homeland
Security can track all flags ordered over the internet. Large
orders of flags should raise a flag. Repeated smaller orders
of flags should raise several smaller flags. Verizon, AT&T,
and Sprint are already being asked to turn over records of
all calls made to and from flag manufacturers, wholesalers,
and retailers. Flag raids on homes and business will no longer
require a warrant, and knocking is optional.
to burn a flag is a serious offense. RICO laws will be extended
to cover any two individuals convening at any type of banner
or emblem or transporting a flag across state lines. Flag
cells must be infiltrated and brought down. Ask any intelligence
officer and theyíll tell you -- if you want to stop flag burning,
follow the money. Wool and cotton fibers can usually be traced
back to Egypt, Syria, Morocco and other hotbeds of insurrection.
French and Middle Eastern burners of American flags will be
extradited to Guantanamo Bay, while Americans igniting foreign
flags will be given several chances to win a time share.
we go in and fail to find a flag, we can simply keep looking
and blame the CIA. Eventually, some sort of logo or pennant
will turn up somewhere. In the meantime, there are plenty
of travel bags to search for Viagra without a prescription.
Stay the course.
critics like the ACLU argue that jail time for flag burners
qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment and that the rate
of recidivism will be high. They contend prison will be a
place where flag burners meet other flag burners and come
out more hardened flag burners. Regardless, with November
elections looming large, this summer promises to be one of
the busiest ever for right wing pontificating, debating, and
voting on such vital national interests as, the Pledge of
Allegiance, same-sex marriage, internet poker, requiring English
when ordering a taco, intelligent design, and whether Betsy
Ross was a virgin.