This is what you get for pandering to the jingoistic American Legion. I wanted to like Wesley Clark, I really did. But I cannot support a candidate who believes in meddling with the first amendment. We have never passed a repeal of our First Amendment rights, and we never should. Freedom of expression is perhaps our most important liberty. It is supremely American and it is an insult to all that our flag stands for to suggest we roll-back those rights. This is a liberty our founders took very seriously, and it is something every American should be proud of.
I got to sit through a day long American Legion propaganda session when I did Boy's State in high school trying to pressure us to support their effort to re-write freedom of expression. Their lack of a coherant point was breath-taking. It was pure jingoism meant to indoctronate 16 and 17 year olds. Indeed, the whole flap over flag burning is a much-ado-about-nothing scenario. It's a fake issue. Flag burnings happen so infrequently as to further make a mockery of the supposed justification of re-writing the constitution. This just doesn't deserve such attention. Its an issue being exploited by people. This is no reason to undermine the Constitution.
America is more than a symbol. It is more than 13 bars, 50 stars, and a field of blue. What makes our nation is justice, liberty, freedom. That is what our soldiers fight for when the fight under our flag. This is what my father and my grandfather fought for. Not for the flag itself, but for what it means. Frankly, I think it represents a massive failure in teaching civics that this is not just understood. That people don't understand that the flag is nothing compared to what this nations really stands for. We, as a nation, clearly have not adequately informed our citizenry of what it means to be an America. Our Constitution ought to be much more sacred than our flag. Even if you don't think people ought to be burning flags, how can you think it merits meddling in such a genuinely sacred symbol of America.
I don't like it that people burn the flag to make a point. I think it is callous and unproductive. But that is their right. If it is okay for someone to promote horrible racism, how can we say that burning some fabric is the more heinous crime? Both are bad, but also are proof of the resiliency of the American nation and the American spirit. Someone burning our flag is no threat to our nation. How dare we repeal the first amendment to outlay such an unimportant issue. We should not embarass the generations to come with the specticle of a crossed out amendment. We made a mistake once in our history, and it remains a national shame that we abused our Constitution over such a trivial issue as alcohol. There are important reasons to ammend the Constitution. Flag burning is most decidedly NOT it.
Some say that this amendment is intended to be for our veterens. Rather than tamper with a liberty those veterens served in defense of, why not provide more health care for those have performed duty for the armed forces? Why not shore up the benefits our injured soldiers can recieve. A former POW who was shot twice in the line of duty was offered a paltry 30% disability. That is respect for our veterens? Effort that could be spent protecting those who risk life and limb for all that that this nation stands for is instead spent pursuing a silly perversion of our Constitution.
So, I have lost a great deal of respect for Wesley Clark. He was pandering to an American Legion audience. He should know better. As should Dick Gephardt and Dennis Kucinich who have also consistantly supported repealing a freedom of expression. Howard Dean has gone the route of attacking the first ammendment but not clearly stating that HE wants to attack the first ammendment. I don't get it, either, but thus far he hasn't had the power to actually make this issue a problem. And much credit must be given to John Kerry, John Edwards, and Joe Lieberman who have defended the sanctity of our Constitution in the US Senate, as did Carol Moseley-Braun when she served as Senator. I can't find what Al Sharpton thinks, but I guess he doesn't support amending the Constitution. I still single out the Senators who have made a real contribution to defending our Constitution and am especially ashamed of the Representatives who made a contribution to meddling with it.