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is also confirmed by current Constitutional experts, 70% of the Congress, the legislatures of all 50 states and three out of 4 Americans.
Fiction: The flag amendment would amend the Bill of Rights for the first time.
Fact: The Supreme Court amended the Bill of Rights In 1989 when they erroneously called flag burning protected "speech" and took away our freedom to protect our flag. And they did so without the consent of we the people, an act forbidden by the Constitution. The flag amendment is an exercise of the true ownership of we the people over our Constitution. The flag amendment restores the Bill of Rights to its intended meaning, the meaning of the founders. The flag amendment takes ownership over our flag back from the Court and returns it to the people where it belongs and where it resided since our birth as a nation. Our question to those who pose this fiction: If the Supreme Court in 1989 had voted to protect the flag, would they then have amended the Bill of Rights? Every previous Supreme Court had supported that right. As an aside, the First Amendment has clearly been amended or Blacks would still be property and neither they or women or 18 year olds would be allowed to vote.
Fiction: The flag can be protected by statute without the amendment.
Fact: The Supreme Court has made it clear that it will strike down any effort to protect the flag by statute, and did so in 1990. Lawmakers know this and have also struck down efforts by their colleagues to hide behind flag protection statutes. The fact is that the only way to protect the flag is by statute but it must come after the passage of the flag amendment. The flag amendment by itself changes nothing but requires follow on legislation to protect the flag.
Fiction: The Supreme Court is the final word on the Constitution.
Fact: The people are the final word on the Constitution. The Supreme Court has boasted that they speak before all others and has actually contended that it is important to accept their unconstitutional decisions rather than undermine their legitimacy. The ACLU has claimed that they are the enforcement arm of the Constitution. The Founders in their wisdom put Article 4 in the Constitution to protect us from such arrogance and the constitutional and cultural pirates who seek to amend the people's Constitution in the dim light of the courts, out of the bright democratic light of the public square and without the consent of the people. Article 5 is designed to ensure that the people rule. It protects us from a tyranny of a minority on the courts, or anywhere else, who attack our Constitution.
Fiction: Flag burnings are rare and not important enough to justify changing the Constitution to punish a few miscreants.
Fact: There have been hundreds of flag desecration since the Supreme Court decision and the flag amendment does not change the constitution, it restores it. In America the frequency of an evil has nothing to do with our laws against that evil. Shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre or speaking of weapons in a crowded airport are rare occurrences but we have laws against them, and we should. It is important to understand that those who would restore the right of the people to protect the flag are not concerned with punishing miscreants who desecrate the
flag, they are not the problem, the problem is to protect our Constitution from those miscreants who desecrate it by calling flag burning "speech." We are not amending the Constitution only to protect the flag; we are doing it primarily to protect the Constitution.
Fiction: If the flag is my property, I can do with it as I wish, as with any of my property.
Fact: There are so many governmental restrictions on private property that, according to the Supreme Court, one can't even formulate a general rule about private property. For instance, you can own your automobile, but how you use it is strictly regulated. Most states even require that you have periodic safety inspections, pay property taxes on it, and wear a seatbelt when operating it. The same is true for privately owned firearms and controlled drugs. You can own the lot that your home sits on, but you can't use the property for any purpose you want that doesn't comply with zoning ordinances. The same is true for U.S. currency, your own mailbox, and military uniforms and decorations. You can own a billboard, but what you can display on it is regulated. And the same is true with the flag. Justice Byron White said each flag is the property of all the people. Our society has always believed that a citizen could purchase a flag, but ownership remained with we the people. And possession of a flag carried with it a responsibility or duty to treat it with dignity and respect.
Fiction: It is impossible to enforce flag protection, as it is impossible to legally define desecration or the flag.
Fact: For most of our history we have had laws defining flag desecration and our courts had no problem until the Supreme Court mis-defined flag desecration as “speech.” Any 5th grade child knows the difference between an American flag and a flag embroidered bikini or toilet paper marked with a flag. For those who have trouble defining the American flag and feign concern about prosecuting those who burn bikinis embroidered with the flag or toilet paper marked with the flag, we ask if they would put toilet paper or a bikini on the coffin of a veteran, or their own coffin, or raise them from a flag pole during retreat. This is not only a non-issue it is nonsense.
Fiction: The flag symbolizes my freedom to burn it.
Fact: On the one hand they are saying the flag is a rag to be burned with impunity. And on the other hand they are saying it represents our freedoms. Can't have it both ways. The truth is our flag embodies the values embedded in our Constitution. The word symbol is from the Greek word meaning a half token which when united with its other half identified the owner. It is meant to recognize something far more elaborate than itself. The other half of the token is the Constitution owned by the people. There is nothing in the Constitution that authorizes flag burning and the people are fighting to defeat this fiction. More Medals of Honor have been awarded for flag protection than any other act. Some actually died just to keep the flag from touching the ground. Are those who propose this fiction saying that our soldiers who died on America's battlefields to keep dictators and tyrants from defiling our flag did so in order that it could be burned on the streets of America? Who would say this to our warriors? Supreme Court
justice, Felix Frankfurter said: "We live by symbols." Symbols are vital in a Democracy. How can one separate ideals from the symbols that house them? It is like separating a person from their soul. Symbols are precious in our lives and our country and all our precious symbols are protected except our most precious symbol - Old Glory.
Fiction: Dictators protect their flag; protecting our flag aligns us with dictators.
Fact: What American could ever compare Old Glory, designed by the father of our country and protected according to the will of a free people, to a Hammer and Sickle, or Swastika, protected according to the will of a despot? Madison and Jefferson believed our flag should be protected, does that align them with Hitler and Stalin. Some one said, "Under majority rule, heads are counted, under minority rule, heads are cracked." It is vital that the will of the majority rule. In a Democracy it is the wisdom of the majority that protects us from the tyranny of the minority whether the minority be dictators or those who compare the will of the majority to the will of dictators. How would one say a pledge to a dictator's flag: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the communist party and to the totalitarian government for which it stands, one dictatorship, without a God, with oppression and injustice for all.
Fiction: Patriotism cannot be forced.
Fact: The leftist elite in America are fond of finding good in conduct the majority find evil or offensive. For example, the ACLU's defense of flag desecration and pedophilic solicitation of our children on the Internet as free speech." Not surprisingly, these elite also find evil in good -- patriotism for example.
A patriot is one who loves, supports and defends ones country. Support and defend are the operative words. Love is difficult to pin down, best known by its fruits. To understand the love of a patriot it is important to understand that sacrifice is best defined as love in action. Those who willingly sacrifice, i.e. support and defend, do so out of love. But the love of a patriot is not blind. Just as it is impossible to care for anyone and not correct them, one cannot care for America and not seek to correct its errors. We must guarantee that dissent and debate are robust but never damage or are directed against our Constitution -- the foundation of our freedoms. It is the wisdom of the people, ultimately the majority of an informed active people, which is our protection from tyranny. The will of the majority should define patriotism, not the will of an elite minority.
Country is easily defined as the people, our neighbors, the land, and our leaders. One need not love his neighbors but he may not harm them. That is against the law. One may not love the land but he may not pollute it. Is protecting our people and our land forcing patriotism? Yes it is. Is it forcing patriotism to draft citizens to give their life in war to protect and defend their country? It certainly is. Is it forcing patriotism to force our citizens to ration in time of war to support the effort? You bet it is. We may not love our leaders but we are obliged to obey their laws. Is it forcing patriotism to force obedience to the law? What are laws for if not to force the unpatriotic to act patriotic? Patriots, good citizens, don't need laws. Any person who accepts the protection and prosperity of a nation ought to be obedient to the laws of that nation and willing to support and defend it in peace and at war.
No one has a right to control what anyone thinks, believes or loves, but we have every right, indeed an obligation, to control how our citizens act. It is insane to say that a free people cannot control conduct, and that it is not patriotic to do so. It should be obvious that demanding, indeed, forcing patriotism is the bedrock of our freedom. It should also be clear that patriotism is the lifeblood of any nation. No Nation can survive if its people refuse to support and defend it.
Fiction: The flag amendment would start a slippery slope toward other amendments and restrictions on desecration of other things such as copies of the Constitution.
Fact: Laws protecting the flag existed since our birth as a nation and promoted no other amendments. Each amendment must stand on its own merit. In fact there have been over 10000 attempts to amend the Constitution and the people have allowed it only 27 times. They take this responsibility very seriously. It is important to remember the difference between a copy of the Constitution and our flag. While many would object to the burning of a copy of the Constitution, few would want a law against it. But no one would say it is OK to burn the original Constitution, which is heavily protected. The difference in burning a copy of the Constitution and a flag is that each flag is an original, there are no copies. The slippery slope that the elite really fear is that the flag amendment will be the first step by the people to rescue their Constitution from the elite in the courtrooms, the classrooms, the cloakrooms and the newsrooms and return it to the living rooms where it belongs.
Prominent Americans Speak Out on Flag Protection
"It passes my belief that anything in the Federal Constitution bars ... making the deliberate burning of the America flag an offense." -Associate Justice Hugo Black, Street v. New York, 1969
"I believe that the States and the Federal Government do have power to protect the flag from acts of desecration and disgrace." -Chief Justice Earl Warren, Street v. New York, 1969
"Burning a flag is not speech and should not fall under First Amendment protection. Judge Robert Bork
"The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, not expression, and, whereas all speech may be expression of a sort, not all expression is speech, and there is good reason why the framers of the First Amendment protected the one and not the other." -Walter Berns, Making Patriots, p. 139
"Surely one of the high purposes of a democratic society is to legislate against conduct that is regarded as evil and profoundly offensive to the majority of people - whether it be murder, embezzlement, pollution, or flag burning..." -Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, Texas v. Johnson, 1989
"The American flag, then, throughout more than 200 years of our history, has come to be the visible symbol embodying our Nation. It does not represent the views of any particular political party, and it does not represent any particular political philosophy. The flag is not simply another idea'or 'point of view' competing for recognition in the marketplace of ideas. Millions and millions of Americans regard it with an almost mystical reverence regardless of what sort of social, political, or philosophical beliefs they may have. -Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, Texas v. Johnson, 1989
"The First Amendment affords no shield to Goguen's conduct.” (Goguen desecrated a flag.) -Justice Harry A. Backmun joined by Chief Justice Warren Earl Berger, Smith v. Goguen, 1974
"Our Constitution was not written in the sands to be washed away by each successive wave of new judges blown in by each successive political wind." -Associate Justice Hugo Black, Street v. New York, 1969
"In my considered judgment, sanctioning the public desecration of the
flag will tarnish its value - both for those who cherish the ideals for which it waves and for those who desire to don the robes of martyrdom by burning it. That tarnish is not justified by the trivial burden on free expression occasioned by requiring that an available, alternative mode of expression - including uttering words critical of the flag... be employed. -Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, Texas v. Johnson, 1989
"Love both of the common country and the State will diminish in proportion as respect for the flag is weakened. Therefore a State will be wanting in care for the well being of its people if it ignores the fact that they regard the flag as a symbol of their country's power and prestige, and will be impatient if any disrespect is shown towards it". -Supreme Court Justice John Harlan, Halter v. Nebraska, 1907
"Burning and destruction of the flag is not speech. It is an act. An act that inflicts insult - insult that strikes at the very core of who we are as Americans and why so many of us fought, and many died, for this country. No, this is not a debate about free speech. Our flag stands for free speech and always will." -US Rep. John Murtha (D-PA)
*Flag burning is not free speech. It is an act of hatred and nihilism. It is not a call for reform. It is a disgrace. The right to dissent does not include the right to desecrate. To desecrate the flag crosses a line of ugliness.” -US Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)
"The Supreme Court made a mistake, is not absolute and we should never kow-tow to any other branch of government regardless of their decision" -US Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)