Why America needs laws against flag burning.

An argument from someone who really doesn't care.

The American flag is the fabric of your nation. The cloth of the land, that simple 3 coloured polyester rectangle, has been fought for by millions of people. They weren't fighting for liberty and free speech in WWI, WWII, Vietnam - they were fighting for the flag that many of them were buried in. And yet, some people in your country enjoy burning it. The freedom to defend the flag from desecration by its enemies has been cruely removed - a final irony for the flag of freedom (for White Americans that is - when black people in the South talked of the `Old Flag of Freedom`, they were talking about the Union Jack).

Weak minded liberals might argue that burning the flag is a form of free speech, but this is so much nonsense. There have always been bounds on free speech. The best known example is that it is illegal to shout `fire` in a crowded theatre. It is also illegal to libel people with unproven allegations.

Those who burn the Stars & Stripes are guilty of the equivalent of both these acts. It is irresponsible to wantonly incinerate something that stands for freedom in a very real sense - and can give quite the wrong impression. This is the equivalent of shouting `fire` in a place you know fine well is safe from conflageration. Also, it is an act of heinous libel. How can one defend attacking the basis of our free speech, the flag, and accusing it of gross acts without proof? The flag stands for free speech and equality of men. It is a symbol, and as such can never be wrong. To burn it, then, is an act of libel - one is libelling universal truths, rights and principles with terrible actions. That flag can never commit these acts - it is impossible.

The flag is much more than this though. The flag is the nation incarnate. To burn the flag is to burn one's family, one's leaders, one's people. Anyone who can even contemplate such an act is surely barbarous and mad. When America was founded by Thomas Jefferson, he rightfull saw that Americans should have the freedom to defend their flag. The Supreme Court, whupping boys of the liberal elite, overuled this in 1989. Never such treachery has been commited on American soil.

Now, I am British, so I don't have a personal stake in this. If anyone suggested that flag burning laws be introduced in my Kingdom, I would rightfully damn their traitorous arses to Newcastle and back. Britain has no need of laws against flag burning. However, America most certainly does.

America has no Monarchy. With this terrible absence, there is no real symbolic head of your nation. Sure, the president may be said to fulfil this role, but he is partisan. It already seems rather primitive to British eyes that you treat him like royalty (it is always a `him`), put him on your coinage, grovel to him (yes SIR Mr President Sir!), shack him up in a palace (compared to the simple two-up two-down our PM has) and generally invest him with the mythical qualities which we British, in our wisdom, keep for someone with no power - the Monarch. Of course Americans have tried to get round this rather primitive situation by elevating the flag almost to position of Monarch.

Nary anywhere can you go in your country without the flag sticking up its ugly, starred (ugh) fabric. The schools, classrooms, police stations, town centres, hospitals, businesses - it is impossible to turn away from it, to spend a day without being forced to see it. In Britain the old Union Jack, whilst fondly regarded by a proud, fierce people, is not elevated to this obscene extent. We have no need.

America is a land of immigrants. As such, it was founded by people from all over Europe and the world who shared no common history or culture. America is not bound together by the love of fellow man, like Britain is. Britain has a strong identity, forged over thousands of years living through Empires, civil wars, three world wars, plagues and famines. It has done all this with remarkable stability and endurance - that Britain has never had a successful revolution upon its soil shows how stable a nation it is. It gets this stability from a love of the Monarch, and more importantly a love of one's fellow Britons (important in a small, cramped country). We have no need of a written constitution; the unwritten constitution arrived at through millennia of shared experience and tradition does the job far better. What is important in Britain is not symbols, but the shared body of our culture and traditions, the values that every Briton holds dear to his or her breast.

Only new nations need constitutions, nations like America. With its disparate, alienated populace, the wasp's in charge of America at its founding had to find some simple things that these grubby illiterates would understand and hold dear. Hence the rather obscene importance of the flag and constitution. Really very simple ideas, ones which the whole of America can easily grasp. The flag and constitution, a piece of cloth and a sheet of paper, are the binding that keeps America from falling apart.

To brook their being burned is to put the USA in extreme jeapordy. If these simple little icons are allowed to be treated any old way, truly nothing will be left holding your country together.

I urge you Americans to make burning the flag and disrespecting the constitution acts of treason. This may seem harsh, but really it is the only way you can keep your nation together.

You must write to your local Congressmen and Senators in support of the latest bill which is to appear before the house to amend the constitution.

Steamboat Springs Ski


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