Epic Nation

Thursday, June 23, 2005

GOP plays politics with US constitution

First off, I would like to begin this post by explaining why I've neglected my blog lately. I spent the last month going through the evaluation/approval process for my master’s thesis. Now that my paper’s fate is out of my hands, I have some more spare time for updating my blog. Let the blogging commence!

It appears the GOP has forgotten its conservative roots and has decided to play barefaced political games with the US constitution:

The GOP-led House voted 286-130 on a measure Wednesday that would give Congress authority to ban desecration of a U.S. flag. Its prospects aren't good in the Senate, but Republicans could still get what they want — an issue that divides or even conquers Democrats in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

I doubt I need to defend my patriotic bona fides, but if anyone is wondering, I do not condone the burning of the US flag and if I witnessed such an act I would probably have to bite my upper lip to keep myself from misdemeanor assault charges. However, I respect the constitution a far deal greater than the stars and bars, and therefore could not disagree more with the Republicans in congress on this issue.

The political gamesmanship here is not difficult to decipher. The GOP is trying to put Democratic members of congress on the record for voting against a flag burning amendment. The Dem's would be cornered; trying to placate their base by voting against the amendment would disgust moderates. As tempting as this is, it's an incredibly myopic strategy for the GOP.

This amendment process, if it continues, will leave the GOP reeking of hypocrisy. How can a party of so-called constructionists expect to be taken seriously if we are willing to chip away at the very rights we claim to champion? The next time we deride the left for its attempts to curb freedom of speech/expression we won’t have a moral foundation to stand on.

Sure, burning the flag is a horrible act. But so long as no persons or property are harmed in the process, it should be covered by the First Amendement. In a perfect world I would expect that every American would respect and cherish the flag and what it represents. But if amending the consitution is the only route to meet that end, I'll pass.

The GOP will not always be the majority party (I know, hard to imagine). If we tinker with the constitution to win a couple political points and silence those who offend us, who knows what the opposition will cook up in the future to settle the score.

If some imbecile is so incapable of engaging in public debate that their only recourse is to buy and burn an American flag, then that should be their right. Pity the poor dumb bastards? Yes. Amend the constitution to infringe upon their right to free expression? Absolutely not!


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