GOP Senators Know What Is Important Issue In 2021 America: Flag-Burning
A group of Republican senators led by Steve Daines (R-Montana) marked Flag Day Monday by introducing yet another constitutional amendment to ban the "physical desecration of the American flag." In a possible nod to the First Amendment, the mental or verbal desecration of the flag would presumably remain legal. This is the third time Daines has introduced such an amendment.
Daines's amendment was co-sponsored by fellow Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia), Kevin Cramer (North Dakota), and Mike Crapo (Idaho). It's unclear whether any senators farther along in the alphabet than Daines would be joining in.
It's also not clear whether there's really much support for another go at banning flag burning; as culture war issues go, it feels like its day has passed. When we hear about amending the Constitution to protect the stars and stripes, we think of Michael Dukakis riding around in a tank and President Dana Carvey saying "Nah gunnah duuit."
But then, we thought Donald Trump would fail at igniting a fight over how American history should be taught, so we may not be the best judges of what shiny object the Right will fixate on next.
In a statement, Daines said the sacred piece of fabric must be protected, because the troops and also liberty:
The American flag is a symbol of liberty and a beacon of hope. It represents the ideals that our nation was built upon and for decades, brave men and women have carried its colors into battle to defend the United States of America. The Stars and Stripes are a representation of freedom. We must always protect and respect the American flag.
That's actually a good bit longer than the actual text of the proposed amendment, which simply reads, ''The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.''
When Daines first introduced his pet constitutional amendment in 2018, he also included a list of 50 incidents of flag burning or desecration that occurred since 2014, so there's your crisis. It includes at least two flags burned during Black Lives Matter protests, a number of flag burnings in protest of Donald Trump, and quite a few incidents where flags were anonymously taken down and burned/vandalized during the night.
Also, since March of last year, 600,000 Americans died of COVID-19, so we really need to make sure their memory is honored by preventing the symbolic desecration of a symbol.
Also, let's not forget that the Right loves America's flag so much that they consider it the perfect thing to bludgeon police with while trying to overturn a democratic election.
No telling whether Daines's amendment will catch fire. Earlier this year, Matt Gaetz got nowhere when he tried stirring up patriotic fervor by demanding that each meeting of the House Judiciary Committee begin with the Pledge of Allegiance, particularly since everyone pointed out that the full House says the pledge every morning.
There are so many other objects of "patriotic" backlash these days, stoking paranoia about cancel culture, attempts to cancel the teaching of accurate American history, the burning need to cancel appropriate medical care for trans teens, and moves to cancel the wrong sort of Americans from voting. A lot will depend on whether the rightwing mediasphere decides to push it. If Tucker Carlson starts crying about the dangerous antifa and Black Lives Matter flag burners, then you'd better bet the amendment will become an issue in the 2022 midterm elections.
Or maybe by then the Right will have found some glorious new fuckery to lose its shit over.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.