Support Denmark, Defend Freedom

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Constitution 1, Morons 0

The Senate fell one vote short of passing a proposed Constitutional amendment allowing Congress to prevent physical desecration of the American flag.

To put it another way, the Senate fell one vote short of passing an amendment allowing Congress to physically desecrate the Constitution.

This week's highly coveted "I Drink a Lot What's Your Excuse?" Award goes to Republican Senator Craig Thomas of Wyoming:
"The flag represents our right and our freedom for free speech as well as all of our other freedoms," Sen. Craig Thomas, R-Wyo., said in Senate debate Tuesday. "It should receive special protection."
Assuming my English translation of his first sentence is correct, Senator Thomas thinks the best way to show how special the right of free speech is is to ban free speech. It takes a special kind of genius to manipulate logic like this, the kind that should easily qualify you for a seat on the "special" bus. Please join me in congratulating Senator Thomas on beating out some stiff competition to win this award.

Update: Great to see that at least Mitch McConnell still has some principles. [Note: If you think I threw in this update just so the Washington Post will link to me, maybe I did, and maybe I did.]

Anonymous FIAR said...

I like what radio host Michael Smerconish said this morning (not an exact quote)

"It seems like political grandstanding to me. 250 flags have been burned over the last 30 years. I'm more concerned with the 12 million illegal immigrants entering our country."

Right on the mark.

22:23  
Blogger The Cranky Insomniac said...

It's either grandstanding or a bizarre coincidence that flag burning and gay marriage come up every two years, right around summertime...

22:34  
Blogger Bukko_in_Australia said...

Cranky-man, I am so disappointed! I check these right-wing blogs linked to the WaPo just to take the piss (Aussie-speak for "razz") at them and here I find you taking a rational position. You must be wrong (to your cohorts) if you're agreeing with a lefty like me.

Case in point: Let me tell you a little story. At an art gallery in the town of Footscray, Vic., a working-class immigrant suburb west of Melbourne, an Aboriginal artist made a display of an Aussie flag that had been trampled, partly burnt and had a bullet hole shot in it. That was done to represent what had been done to his native people. No law against it (marring the flag, that is. Only recently have they passed laws against doing that to aboriginals.) But a local policeman climbed through the window of a neighbouring cafe, broke into the art gallery and took the tampered flag. No warrant or even an official complaint -- just a "lawman" breaking the law. There was a court case in March and a judge said the flag had to be returned to the gallery, which it was. Even PM John Howard, a tinpot fascist if I ever saw one, said the Federation would not be harmed by the defiling of a scrap of fabric. Australia stands for something more than a coloured bit of cloth.

And you know what, mate? Life goes on. There were no riots. People did not take to burning the Union Jack/Southern Cross mash-up they use here, even when the local Greek, Croat and Italian communities got fired up during the recent World Cup soccer action. You know why nothing bad happened? BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE GROWN-UPS HERE!

In the future, though, please return to ludicrous right-wing political positions. How else will I get a chortle?

07:58  
Blogger The Cranky Insomniac said...

Okay. I guess I'll go back to right wing positions like legalizing drugs...you know what? I was about to list all my positions that "right wingers" wouldn't agree with and then I realized it's not worth it! It was a pain in the ass having to explain what a libertarian is 20 years ago but there's no excuse for it inow.

Bukko, if you want enlightenment, feel free to read through the blog. If you want to stay in your nice safe cocoon where everybody you don't always agree with is a right wing nutter, be my guest.

To me, my cohorts! Tonight we ride!

13:37  
Anonymous Gary said...

Call me a nit-picker here. But proposing a Constitutional amendment doesn't physically desecrate the Constitution. It's the one method provided for in that document to make changes.

I'm not arguing the merits (or lack thereof) of this particular amendment. But beyond the Senate, it would have to be approved by a supermajority in the house and three-fifths of the state legislatures. Not an easy process and it shouldn't be.

But if for some reason it did - which would be due to the will of the voters - then it's legit. Put aside whether or not it warrants an amendment in your opinion for a second.

Don't forget that the guaranty of free speech itself came from an amendment to the Constitution - the very first one.

The thirteenth amendment that outlawed slavery didn't "desecrate" the Constitution. Nor did the ninteenth, which granted voting rights to women. Or the twentieth amendment that limited the Presidency to two terms.

You want to rip into the Senators who voted for it. Fine. You want to refer to them as morons. Super. I'll even agree with you that it amounts to no more than political posturing. But I think you're off the mark when you describe it as desecrating the Constition.

And I'm not trying to be smarmy here. Just something to consider.

13:41  
Blogger The Cranky Insomniac said...

Gary:

You're a nit-picker. But seriously, folks...

What you say is totally valid, and I of course agree with you that process-wise, everything that's being done is completely legit.

However, it's my opinion that attempts to amend the Constitution must pass an "extraordinary needs" test, and to me, those that don't (e.g., prohibiting flag burning, defining marriage, outlawing alcohol) amount to nothing less than a desecration of what is the heart and soul of the Republic. In particular, trying to use the Constitution to decrease the rights of citizens is disgraceful, and I believe that with the exception of Prohibition, unprecedented. (I could be wrong on this. I also could easily fact check it, but then I'd leave nothing for my readers to do, which seems selfish of me.)

Sometimes I wish there were an amendment that simply stated, "Congress shall make no law giving itself more power," or maybe just "Congress shall make no more laws."

Strictly my opinions, of course. But I should add that I'm right, so keep that in mind.

(By the way, please don't take my sometimes joking tone as a dismissal of your comment, which was greatly appreciated. It's just my (lack of?) style.)

14:49  
Anonymous Gary said...

Crank -

I think the founders were pretty on the ball when they set up the requirements for amendments. This process - in my opinion - essentially has a built in "extraordinary needs" requirement thanks to their foresight.

That's not going to stop politicians from trying, though. But as you say, success in these matters has been fleeting except for the prohibition thing - and I'm still scratching my head over that one. It wasn't until they figured out what a windfall in tax revenues and regulation they were missing out on that they decided to reverse it.

15:09  
Anonymous chow-stl said...

the purpose of the constitution is to rein in goverment. Not have the goverment dictate to the people what the people can and cannot do. The one time the goverment used the constitution to dictate what others could do (prohibition) ended in disaster. Always be weary of any proposed amendment which attempts to dictate what the people can and cannot do.
Best Regards.

05:59  

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