Thursday, June 15, 2006


Ten days from tomorrow, on June 26th, the Senate is scheduled to vote on a proposed amendment to the Constitution that will criminalize desecration of the American flag. While the word "desecration" may indeed prove to be as subjective as the word "patriot," especially as applied in a relatively recent piece of legislation called the USA Patriot Act, there is little doubt that efforts to impose sanctions on anyone who appears to defile, rather than deify, that piece of cloth will intensify with a rage, and fury seldom seen in this country. History has shown us that those who hide behind flags, and nationalism, have posed the gravest danger not merely to their own countries, but to the world.

Isn't it time somebody introduced an amendment penalizing desecration of the Constitution, especially the First and Fourth Amendments which have been ravaged in the name of a holy crusade against "terror?" If we want to preserve the integrity of the flag as a symbol of a uniquely American brand of democracy, we can only do so by protecting, and honoring, the Bill of Rights, due process, a free press, diversity, and the ability to openly disagree with the actions, and policies, of our government. To do otherwise is tantamount to desecrating, and profaning what the framers of the Constitution had in mind which was not passive worship of an abstract symbol of freedom, but a living blueprint, and guarantee, of our our individual, and collective, rights.

A proposal to pass an amendment that honors a material object at a time when the values, and ethics, that have, for generations, distinguished this country increasingly come under attack only shows just how far from our roots, as a nation, we have really come.