Flag Amendment Nearing Vote!


by Sly Spurling

Short and sweet, folks: Congress is about to take away a fundamental right of all Americans to demonstrate dissent in the name of "protecting" the flag from "desecration." The proponents of this bill say that they think they have the votes needed to line it up with time. THIS HAS TO BE STOPPED.

Why? Because freedom of speech is more important than protecting symbols and icons from destruction. Because any time they can take a fundamental right away from us because, gosh, using it might make someone upset, our freedom is denied for the most spurious of reasons. Because having the right to speak your mind means that sometimes people will be offended, but that's the whole idea.

The First Amendment wasn't created to protect non-offensive speech: it was put in place so the most revolutionary, reactionary, angry and demanding of voices could be allowed to be heard. Our founding fathers fought a war with England because, amongst other reasons, their right to petition the Government of England was denied them. Their right to protest was taken away. And now, more than 200 years later, the American government wants to limit our right to protest. What have we learned in that time? What do we REALLY stand for?

One of the reasons given for this proposed amendment is to "respect" the memories of those who fought and died to keep our country safe. That's a gross contradiction: they fought so we could have the freedom to say what we think and feel, but this measure would take that right away. There's respect and then there's hyper-patriotic frothing at the mouth, which is what this bill comes down to when you look at it.

If this bill passes to the states, and they approve it, goodness knows what forms of speech could be affected next. Once you start saying "uh, maybe not THAT" it gets easier and easier to do it each time as less and less people pay attention to the consequences.

And what does desecration mean? Burning it? Wearing it on your shirt and not washing it? Putting it upside down on a record cover? Anal-retentive prosecutors looking for reputations could have a field day with this, and probably will. The backlog could get really horrible really quickly, and is that the sort of thing we need to foist on our overworked justice system as it is?


This must not get out of the box, folks. Don't rely on the voters to stop this in its tracks at the ballot box.

As soon as you can, write something off to your Senator or Representative urging them to vote against these bills. You can find information on your Congressmen at:


The bill is HJ Res. 33 in the House and SJ Res. 14, in the Senate. You'll need to mention them when you contact them.

The ACLU has set up a site where you can send a free fax to your congressman. Go here to use it as soon as you can:


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