NO TO THE FLAG-BURNING AMENDMENT-NO TO FEDERAL ANTI-FLAG-BURNING LEGISLATION
THEIR FLAG IS RED, WHITE AND BLUE. OUR FLAG IS STILL RED.
FORGET DONKEYS, ELEPHANTS AND GREENS- BUILD A WORKERS PARTY!
The Senate has just rejected, by a 66-34 vote, a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that would give special protection to the American flag and enable Congress to pass legislation penalizing acts of desecration on that banner. That vote fell just one vote short of the required 2/3 (66.66%) vote needed to pass it on to the state legislatures for a vote and final enactment. Of course, this kind of proposition is red meat to most Republicans and many Democrats. They can vote for these kind of measures all day, every day, and not work up a sweat. The political calculus which drives American bourgeois electoral politics, votes, makes this a real slam dunk. The flag-burning community (all eleven of them) against your average sunshine, couch potato patriot. Even perennial Democratic presidential campaign consultant Robert Schrum can figure that one out.
The Democrats, not to be outdone, proposed as an alternative federal legislation which would protect the flag on federal property. A WORKERS PARTY Senator, on a straight up or down vote on the amendment would vote NO. (Yes, even if that meant a bloc with Democrats- this after all, is a democratic rights issue which we most definitely care about). He or she would also then turn around and vote NO on any federal anti-flag-burning legislation for the same reason (and feel good about being able kick the Democrats in the shins). Following are some quick comments on these developments.
There was a time in America when the American flag was worth militants fighting and dying for- the Civil War, 1861-65. Unfortunately, certain forebears of the current august Senators on Capitol Hill, particularly from the Southern states, had no problem desecrating that flag as they beat the path to secession from the Union over the slavery question. Shouldn’t they then be just a little more circumspect about the rights of others these days who may not be respectful to their Confederate (oops, American) flag.
The amendment’s main sponsor Senator Hatch of Utah (Jesus, I thought he died during the Hoover administration, I really have to pay more attention to who is alive and who isn’t up on the Hill) who claimed that his motivation was to show respect for soldiers, etc. If the Senator means support the troops I already have a proposal for that- and it has nothing to do with flag-burning amendments. It has to do with fully funding 138,000 pairs of sneakers to get American troops the hell out of Iraq now. (See my blog, dated June 23, 2006). Hatch’s bizarre efforts are clear proof of why they are in that quagmire in the first place.
Personally, this writer does not see the point of flag-burning as political protest. However, this is a First Amendment free speech issue and even the Neanderthals on the United States Supreme Court have, for now, declared that it is a protected expression of free speech. Moreover, I can sympathize with any militant (or ordinary citizen, for that matter) who is so outraged by the government’s policies that he or she needs to make such a material statement. However, in contrast to that form of expression let me propose another. This writer shed no tears when 'Old Glory' was pulled down from the American Embassy after the Cuban Revolution by the Cubans or when it was pulled down from the American Embassy by the Vietnamese in 1975. Organizing the fight for socialism to change the flag from red, white and blue to red- that’s the real way to express our outrage. OUR FLAG IS STILL RED.
Labels: american flag amendent