So, it looks like the House has -again- approved a bill to create another amendment prohibiting "the physical desecration of the flag of the United States". Not only would this repeal a 1989 decision by the supreme court, but endangers the first amendment's free speech. I know that burning a flag is not speaking, but the act of burning is symbolic, just as the flag itself is symbolic. The flag represents a country where we proclaim to embrace freedom, to celebrate diversity, and to allow liberty for all. By banning the burning of the flag, America becomes an international hypocrite. With this bill, the physical substance of the flag has been confused with the symbolism behind it. The supporters claim that the increased patriotic sentiment will garner public approval, which it may for a short time. As the public realizes what they have lost, they may regret their previous approval for a bill which places further restrictions on the American people.
After 9/11 (which was tragic, yes - but have we really grown from it? or is Mr. Bush, the President, playing on our sympathy to force his restrictive and invasive measures through the legislative system?) the Patriot act was passed, which essentially allowed the government to monitor our reading material, internet browsing, purchases and other assorted data. The need for increased security measures and better inter-bureau communication was blatantly evident, but the Big Brother-esque micromanaging is rather frightening. More alarming is the similarity of the Patriot Act to legislation Hitler passed in 1940s Germany to establish himself and the nazi party as supreme, but I digress. The more restrictive and closely monitoring the government - particularly the republicans, who are loath to finance all these expensive little ventures and then shortchange the key programs- the closer America gets to an oligarchy or a dictatorship run by the very people who are supposed to serve the people and attend to the best interests of their constituents. The people too must be faulted for allowing their freedoms to be revoked without serious protest. Adolf Hitler said "Just as a hundred fools do not make one wise man, an heroic decision is not likely to come from a hundred cowards." Those who do not fight for their freedom even in the face of war will lose it. "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy." (Christopher Dawson, The Judgment of the Nations )