Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Green panders on flag-burning

-- Mike Keefe, Denver Post, via Cagle.

Mark Green gets his due in this editorial, titled, "To pander and distract"

From the Journal Sentinel
Posted: June 27, 2006

When was the last time you saw someone burn a flag in this country? Yes, a rarity. And, by the way, what constitutes desecration of a flag?

Wisely, the U.S. Senate asked these questions Tuesday and came up with the right answer, though, distressingly, by only one vote.

It would have been more reassuring had more senators recognized that wrapping yourself in the flag for partisan reasons might be desecration, too. You know, as in voting for a measure and then campaigning as a right-minded American while slamming the guy who has a healthy respect for the First Amendment (as U.S. Rep. Mark Green, running for governor, does on his Web site, bashing Gov. Jim Doyle on this issue).

The Senate was mulling a constitutional amendment that would have given Congress the power to ban flag desecration. The House passed its bill 286-130 last year. Had the Senate approved this by the required two-thirds majority (it fell one vote short), three-fourths of the states would still have needed to ratify it before it became the 28th Amendment.

The U.S. Supreme Court was right in 1989 when it said that flag burning and the First Amendment are linked. Yes, flag burning is offensive. But, simply, even offensive speech needs to be protected.

To sum up: There was no flag-burning "problem." The bigger problem is still the desire of far too many in Congress to batter free speech to distract voters from what has been a congressional session of breathtaking underachievement
UPDATE: Is that George W. Bush desecrating the flag?

Owen Robinson, and many of his conservative/libertarian commenters, agree with Sens. Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl, who voted no.


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