I forgot to mention this yesterday, but one of the commentators at Unclaimed Territory reminded me of something l learned as a tot.
Every year on Independence Day and Memorial Day and Thanksgiving and President’s Day and at least a handful of other appropriate occasions my dad, a veteran, would hang our flag outside the house. Sometimes, if I promised to be really careful, he’d let me help. Eventually, I even graduated to being allowed to do it all by myself, always being careful never to let the flag touch the ground.
Because we all know that an American flag should never touch the ground. And we all know what happens to a flag that touches the ground.
It has to be discarded.
And what is the officially-sanctioned, proper way to dispose of a flag?
You burn it.
That’s right. In case any of you didn’t know that, if a flag touches the ground, or becomes tattered and torn through years of respectful display, it must be discarded. And burning is the official, sanctioned manner of disposal.
So, you’re probably thinking, they’re proposing an amendment which makes it illegal to legally dispose of a symbol of our great nation? But…but..but that makes no sense!
Welcome to the new world order.
Worry not, because the utterly insane new proposed amendment covers that base. Sort of.
You see, if I’m reading it right, it seems to specificially mention "desecration" of the flag. So burning a flag isn’t a problem, per se. Only burning it in protest. Burning it because it’s tattered or has merely touched the ground is just ducky.
Get that? Same action, different point-of-view. One’s honorable, one’s a crime punishable by a year in jail and a $100,000 fine.
And how is a bystander—such as, say, a cop?—to know which is which? There’s the rub, you see. It’s the exact same action, so the only thing to differentiate them is the actor’s intent. (And, of course, the very act destroys the evidence, so there’s no way to prove it one way or the other.)
And again I say: get that? In other words, this new flag burning amendment is a proposed hate crime bill.
That’s right. A hate crime, that bugaboo of the right, who rails against the notion of, as they’ve been known to call it, thought crimes, are now proposing legislation to outlaw what can only be a thought crime.
Because, you see, if you kill a black man or a gay man simply because he’s gay or black, there should be no additional penalty.
Ah, but if you burn a flag simply to send a message, well, then you’re really screwed.
Jesus wept. He was joined by Ben Franklin. Together they wondered what happened to that city on the hill.