Senate#039;s failure to protect flag saddening

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 29, 2006

I was saddened to read last week that the US Senate failed to pass a constitutional amendment that would prohibit desecrating the American Flag. Sponsored by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the measure failed 66-34, only one vote shy of the two-thirds needed to send the measure back to the states for ratification. Both Alabama senators voted in favor of the amendment and for those that have an interest, Wisconsin's Russ Feingold, who bashed the Camellia City last year while here on a golf outing, voted against the measure.

Hatch's proposed amendment was simple: &#8220The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.”

It seems logical to me that such an amendment would be a given, but in a country where &#8220political correctness” has gone badly awry, opponents of the measure, including Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, felt that anyone should be able to desecrate the flag based on prior Supreme Court rulings in 1989 and 1990 that held burning or other desecration of the flag are protected as free speech by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

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Inouye, who lost an arm in WWII said &#8220While I take offense at disrespect to the flag, I nonetheless believe it is my continued duty as a veteran, as an American citizen, and as a United States senator to defend the constitutional right of protesters to use the flag in non-violent speech.”

Correct me if I'm wrong, but most people I've seen burning American Flags don't look very &#8220non-violent” to me.

While I'm sure there will probably be hundreds of newspapers across the country hailing the defeat of the measure based on the First Amendment, this won't be one of them.

To me the reason is simple. The American Flag is woven by the fabric of a country whose people died to defend it; whose people are dying today to defend the civil liberties we have as a nation and that's something the liberals in Congress can't seem to understand. Their response is that Republicans are exploiting people's patriotism for political advantage. Hogwash. The only ones being exploited by the defeat of the amendment are the real Americans who fought and died protecting what the flag represents.

It's time for the citizens of this country to stand up and say enough is enough, that being a patriot and protecting the American Flag and what it represents is important to future of this country. Some things truly are sacred and should be held in high accord. Even the terrorists understand that as exemplified by the uproar over the supposed burning of the Koran, which later turned out to be false.

In a country that should be the model for all to follow, it's discouraging that we allow, within our own borders, desecration of a symbol and the ideals it represents, to be treated with such disrespect.

Dennis Palmer is publisher of The Greenville Advocate. He can be reached at 383-9302, ext. 125, or by email: