Wednesday, June 28, 2006

How Free is Free?

How free is free? Is the ability to burn the U.S. flag too free?

Yesterday the Senate voted down an ammendment to ban flag desecration.
Senate supporters said the flag amounts to a national monument in cloth that represents freedom and the sacrifice of American troops.

"Countless men and women have died defending that flag," said Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., closing two days of debate. "It is but a small humble act for us to defend it."

Opponents said the amendment would violate the First Amendment right to free speech. And some Democrats complained that majority Republicans were exploiting people's patriotism for political advantage in the midterm elections.

"Our country's unique because our dissidents have a voice," said Sen. Daniel Inouye (news, bio, voting record), D-Hawaii, a World War II veteran who lost an arm in the war and was decorated with the Medal of Honor.

"While I take offense at disrespect to the flag," he said, "I nonetheless believe it is my continued duty as a veteran, as an American citizen, and as a United States senator to defend the constitutional right of protesters to use the flag in nonviolent speech."
OK, so that's the essence of both sides of the argument. I personally have always agreed with the opinion voiced by Sen. Inouye; I love that we live in a free country. We have the right to express ourselves freely - so freely in fact, that we can even burn the U.S. flag if that's the way that we want to make our point.

To me, this ammendment said, "Hey, you know what? We need to back down that whole freedom thing a little". I'm glad it was voted down. That fact that it was voted down by only one vote? Very unsettling.

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