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Politics - Flag Burning Amendment Defeated - Freedom to Act Stupid Alive and Well in the US

June 27th 2006

Politics - Flag Burning Amendment Defeated - Freedom to Act Stupid Alive and Well in the US

Daniel Inouye

When I think about the flag burning amendment to the constitution I think about all of those brave Americans that died so that we would have the freedom to burn the flag if we so choose.  If the amendment had passed, it would have been a slap in the face of all of those soldiers that have died or who were injured for this country and our freedom.

Many senators said this is not the most pressing matter before the congress.  "No, no, not even close," said Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.).  So I ask “why insist on modifying the Constitution over it?”

When the founders penned the Bill of Rights they were more interested in preserving freedom for Americans and not removing them.  Look at each of the first Amendments; they all concerned themselves with limiting government power. This amendment, like the ban on gay marriage is all about limiting the power of the people and the power of the individual states. 


Even the typically gung-ho senators had a trouble making arguments for their planned amendment.  Dana Milbank writes in the Washington Post “Out on a lethargic Senate floor, both sides were struggling to find speakers to fill the time for debate. Starting at 11 a.m., the lawmakers killed time with five quorum calls as they hunted for somebody to take the floor; one quorum call ended only when the senators decided it was time for lunch.”  Comment on this article at our Forum

Amazingly, the senate almost passed the amendment.  They were one vote shy of the two thirds majority required to get the amendment going.  The vote was 66 to 34. To pass, the measure needed 67 votes.


For a good chuckle listen to how some of those that backed the amendment justified their position.  "It is time that this body acted to protect Old Glory," said Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky. Shouldn’t these people be more concerned with our property rights or our right to be free of government interference? 

I think Senator Daniel Inouye understood the importance of our freedom.  Concerning flag burning in general, he said “This objectionable expression is obscene, it is painful, it is unpatriotic.”  The  Democrat from Hawaii and winner of the Medal of Honor for his service in World War II went on to say, "But I believe Americans gave their lives in many wars to make certain all Americans have a right to express themselves, even those who harbor hateful thoughts."

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Tom Madison
Freelance Writer

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