The Flag Burning Amendment
It's back in the news, because it's back in the Congress again, which shouldn't be any big surprise. After all, it's not like Congress has been dealing with anything important thus far--they've been too busy with trying to kill the filibuster, demonize Michael Schiavo, and cover for Tom DeLay to get any actual work done--so why not take up an amendment that would "protect" the flag from being burned?
The amendment is stupid--let's just get that out of the way up front. For starters, it's not like there's a rash of flag-burning going on here in the US where law enforcement agents would have jurisdiction--most flag burning is done in countries that already have a low opinion of us (and most times, rightfully so), and I hardly think the FBI will be dispatched to round those people up. Secondly, there's a real benefit to ensuring that flag burning, which many see as the ultimate symbol of dissent againt one's government, continue to be protected speech.
But there is one plus I can see coming out of the flag amendment, should it pass and be ratified. The flag code might actually be enforced. No more flag napkins. No more flag t-shirts with uber-patriotic slogans on them. No more flag toothpicks sticking out of holiday hot dogs, only to be tossed to the ground on their way to the trash can. All that is flag desecration, and would presumably be covered by the flag-burning amendment. The ironic result of this amendment could be that instead of protecting the flag, it could effectively remove the flag from public life.
And would that be such a bad thing?