Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Burning Emotions: The Real Threats to the Flag

As the U.S. Senate contributed mightily to global warming while debating a constitutional amendment to ban flag-desecration last week, the Citizens Flag Alliance (“representing 147 organizations and over 20 million members”) made this startling announcement: Flag-desecration incidents are up 33 percent this year. That is, there’s been four incidents reported so far this year, compared with three by June last year.

And those four incidents? Early the morning of June 22 on a residential Brooklyn street, louts thought to be teens just out of school set on fire a few flags in people’s yards. Two weeks earlier, a drunken man in West Haven, Conn., desecrated a flag while chugging beer and taunting passers-by on a bike path. On May 30, vandals stole a flag from a VFW Post in Mineville, N.Y., and burned it. And on May 13 in a small New Hampshire town, 13 flags hanging from a VFW building were sliced into ribbons. Each of these, except the drunker man’s desecration (he could be prosecuted for drinking beer in public, but not messing with a flag) are misdemeanors punishable by perfectly acceptable laws: You can’t go around destroying other people’s yard property, whether it’s a flag or a pink flamingo. But are three instances of stupid vandalism and one drunken hic-up a crisis warranting the mobilization of the U.S. Senate and the push for the first constitutional amendment in 14 years? Read the rest...