Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Flag Burning Amendment: Pure Foolishness

So, the flag burning amendment failed to pass the Senate. By one vote. Wow. When nearly two-thirds of the Senate thinks this is an issue of vital national importance, you know we are in the dark days of governance.

I could rant about the complete inanity of this amendment, but I did that already. Instead, I’ll be hubristic enough to propose some simple guidelines as to what should and should not qualify as a useful Constitutional amendment.

1) If it expands our freedoms or limits government power, then it’s Constitution worthy.

2) If it clarifies, fixes or amends an important government procedural issue, then it’s Constitution worthy.

That’s it. To expand liberty or change government procedures. Every existing Amendment easily fits into one of those two categories with the exception of the 18th, which created prohibition and was repealed by the 21st. And I suppose some might argue that the 16th (creation of the income tax) was a removal of our rights, but I think most of us can agree it was just a procedural issue regarding tax collection.

Giving Congress the power to ban flag burning is neither a procedural matter nor an expansion of our liberties. It’s not even addressing a real problem. Heck, it’s not even addressing an imagined problem (only four flag burnings have happened in the last year). It’s political pandering and showmanship of the most useless variety.

O.k., I’m done. But do read Shay’s take on the issue over at Booker Rising. She agrees the amendment is inane but looks into why it’s an issue that Republicans think they can make work for them.

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