In October of 1998, for the second time, the Senate refused to hear debate over the proposed Flag Desecration Amendment. Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) wished to pass, by unanimous consent of the Senate, the Amendment that would alter the Bill of Rights (and even contradict it in our opinion). Supporters of the Amendment who had spent millions of dollars campaigning for its implementation, were deeply disappointed when Senator Robert Kerrey (D-NE) objected and thusly defeated the bill...at least for now. "Today's action demonstrated once again that the U.S. Constitution is not for sale," said Solange Bitol, of the American Civil Liberties Union Legislative Council. "Voting to unravel the First Amendment by passing a proposed constitutional amendment to ban desecration of the flag would have instead desecrated what the flag represents and what millions of Americans have died to defend."
According to the ACLU, in 1999 the same lawmakers who have the brilliant idea of handing out "tickets" to those who desecrate the flag and forcing them to take a course to teach them about the flag, will be back in force spending our tax dollars to protect a piece of cloth, a symbol. The flag is indeed a symbol of our freedom in this nation. A symbol can very well be desecrated, but the freedom the flag represents cannot. Without the freedom it represents, the flag is meaningless. What Lott and his followers fail to recognize is that in this nation we are free enough to burn, step on, tear apart, shit on or otherwise destroy this piece of cloth, this symbol and still retain our freedom.
If we weren't so free to do so, we might as well be living in China. Just after Hong Kong became an official part of China, the legislature adopted its own flag "protection" act. Defacing the Chinese or Hong Kong flag is punishable by a three year prison term or a fine of $6,000 or more. Handing out tickets and forcing people to watch propaganda films in this country is just the first step towards the desecration of our freedom that others in the world have already lost.
Be sure to keep an eye on your own Representatives and Senators in 1999 and if they try to desecrate your right to free expression, let them know how you feel. Contact them today and voice your opinion on the Flag Amendment issue. Passing legislation that undermines our freedoms desecrates the flag far worse than any form of "offensive" expression. Keep coming back to Rock Out Censorship for more information on this ongoing situation. Visit http://www.freedomforum.org/speech/series/flag.amendment.for.asp to find out who is standing up for freedom, and who is grandstanding to undermine our rights.