One of the most puzzling issues that confront those of us who care about civil liberties is the debate surrounding flag burning. Burning the American flag is offensive to many but done by almost no one. And yet every few years it is brought up as a wedge issue to separate those who love freedom from those who hate America, puppies and apple pies cooling on the windowsill of Grandma’s house. See the latest Civil Discourse comic on the issue.
If politicians were as passionate about ending torture and wiretapping as they are about fantasy fabric burners, I think this nation would be doing alright.
Flag burning isn’t on the front burner today (sorry, I like cheesy puns) but rest assured it will be back. As long as there are politicians that need to gin up votes and nationalistic fervor, there will be a fight to ban the rarely-performed act. I guess it’s a lot easier for them to talk about protecting the flag than to actually protect the freedoms it represents.