YDATL Blog NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
A strange burning sensation
Just for the record, the oaths of office for a US Army officer and for his or her commander in chief (a.k.a. the President) both commit the swearer to "defend the Constitution of the United States." Ya hear that? The Constitution of the United States. Strangely enough, neither explicitly mentions anything about protecting and defending the territory of the United States, but presumably (1) following the orders of your constitutionally appointed superiors, if you have any, and (2) ensuring that the Constitution of the United States doesn't get burned up and stomped into the dustbin of history by hostile invaders takes care of that tiny oversight.
Still, to the Republican party it seems that "protecting" the Constitution involves duct taping a number of hysterical amendments to it so that it might not be misinterpreted by these so-called "activist judges" with their silly notions of civil liberties and crap. It's no surprise, really, considering the figurehead of their party has a tendency at times to misquote these oaths. Visiting the troops in Iraq, he said that together they had "taken an oath to defend our country" -- a subtle difference which if repeated enough might open in his mind the loophole that he is allowed to defend the country, geographically speaking, by sidestepping the Constitution they actually swore to defend. A more entertaining and recent gaffe had the President thanking the troops by saying, "You took an oath to defend our flag and our freedom, and you kept that oath underseas and under fire." Gurgle gurgle, sir. So it's also no surprise that after the anti-flag desecration amendment went down in flames yesterday (HAW!), Senate Majority Leader Fristypants got it wrong as well, claiming, "Countless men and women have died defending that flag."
No, sir, they died defending the ideals that flag represents. That flag is a three dollar piece of polyester you can buy at Wal*Mart. (Did I say Wal*Mart? Naturally I meant "your local union flag-making shop," duh, I mean I would never shop at Wal*Mart. Of course, I'll probably need more than $3 to buy a union flag, but that's beside the point right now.) It may be an ugly truth to some, but we send our soldiers out to fight and die to protect the right to burn the flag. It's just that simple. Shouting "Fire" in a crowded (and non-burning) theater aside, once you start saying, "Well, freedom of speech except...," then we might as well all live in Iran, 'cause then we wouldn't have an oil problem.
Just to put the icing on the Stupid Cake, President Bush offered an irony-laden statement in response to the failed measure: "By showing respect for our flag, we show reverence for the ideals that guide our Nation." Yes, we show reverence for our ideals by making one manifestation of our ideals illegal. "I commend the Senators from both parties who voted to allow the amendment ratification process to protect our flag to go forward and continue to believe that the American people deserve the opportunity to express their views on this important issue." Translation: The people deserve the opportunity to express their views, so long as they express the views I like, and then once we codify those views other parts of the people will no longer have the opportunity to express their views.