TO: Patriots                                                   HOME
FROM: BillSwart
RE: Flag Burning

There are two reasons to make desecration of our flag a crime. One reason is emotion. Good emotion it is, reflecting devotion to the ideas and ideals underlying our country's political and social structure. Emotions incline us to punish anyone who doesn't share that devotion.

Base emotions move us to strike out at desecrations of things we revere. I often want to punish those who pollute the air with ear-shattering rock "music." I'd like to outlaw their raucous-racket. But then, if their ilk should take to voting, they might retaliate, and legislate my ilk into jail for playing Begin The Beguine with the car windows open.

The second reason to criminalize flag-burning is to protect The Republic For Which It Stands -- to protect it from those who would strike a match to show contempt for it. Contempt! Good Lord, do the anti-burners ever think about how contemptuous their position is of the heart, soul, and sinew that is the USA?

They are cut of the same cloth as those theists who have so little faith in the endurance and vitality of their religion that they burn, banish or bludgeon heretics.

The flag of the United States does not need protection from heretics. The swastika did. I don't know whether there were written laws against burning Hitler's banner. Probably not. It didn't symbolize a nation of laws. But my sense of the political reality is that when the swastika flew over Berlin, only a candidate for martyrdom, or an idiot would have burned it in front of the Reichstag. The swastika needed protection because it flew over a rotten, reprehensible institution.

The flag of the United States does not need protection from one who would show contempt for it by burning it or sewing it to the seat of his pants. When it does, the Republic For Which It Stands will have become fully deserving of that contempt. The Republic will be lost, and no inquisition will restore it.

The flag can hold its own, my friends. To hold that it can't is the ultimate desecration.

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