Thursday, June 23, 2005

Flag Burning

The House passed a Constitutional Amendment banning flag burning. That makes no sense to me whatsoever. For a very good explanation of why that's a bad idea, watch the movie An American President. Towards the end, Michael Douglas makes an excellent speech defending his positions, including being in favor of flag burning. Burning a flag is a very important right that needs to be preserved. It is the right of an oppressed group to send a clear cut signal that they are unhappy with their government. That is a right that must be preserved. Banning it is yet another step towards the totalitarian state.

I must admit, I have very little use for patriotism. I'm not going to be loyal to my country, my company, or any organization just because I'm a member. I think it everyone's responsibility and duty to question any organization, especially ones they belong to. Patriotism is a blind loyalty that is used when reason fails. Like most things, that in and of itself is not bad, but how it is used makes it a good or bad thing. When it's used to add emotion to an appropriate cause, it's a good thing. When it's used to accuse those who disagree with the majority, it is a very bad thing. Most of the time when someone is accused of being unpatriotic, the accuser is basically admitting they are wrong and they have no arguments left.

On a slightly related point - can we please replace the National Anthem? It's a silly little poem inspired by a battle set to the tune of a British drinking song. Doesn't sound like anything any country would want as a national anthem. It contains nothing to be proud of. Not to mention it is a just plain awful song, no matter who sings it. I vote for God Bless America. Now that's a song that stirs up loyalty and pride.


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