The camel's nose under the tent of the First Amendment. Flag burning. Who can be for that? Certainly not me.
My parents, survivors of Dachau, always reminded us kids as we grew up, "this is how it starts." You only give up this one liberty. You only stop Communists, Jews, or homosexuals.
There's a famous experiment. Throw a frog into boiling water and it reflexively leaps out. But put a frog into water whose temperature is slowly raised and it remains there calmly as it cooks to death.
Freedoms are never surrendered over nothing. It is ALWAYS for a "good reason," don't you know. We tighten security. We hold people without a writ of habeas corpus, we torture prisoners, we prevent people from burning the flag. The frog hardly feels the heat.
Many who burn the cross want to keep others from burning the flag. Why?
What if I burned the stars-and-bars? What if I burn the flag of the Lone Star State? What if I burn the flag of France? What if I burn the flag of the State of California? The PTA? What if I burn a t-shirt with a flag image on it?
What if I burn a copy of the United States Constitution? - Far more important than the flag!
What is the act of burning? What if I spit on the flag? What if I fail to stand at the assembly when it is paraded by? What if I fail to sing the national anthem? What if I make up silly words while singing the anthem.
What if I dissent?
If I yell, "set the flag on fire!" in a crowded theater, am I endangering those there?
Can I spit but not burn? Can I trample, but not burn? Can I fly the flag in bad weather or without lighting at night - like so many wingnuts do - yet escape punishment?
When will cross burning be banned by a constitutional amendment?
When will lynching be banned by constitutional amendment?
To parody "W," "ya see, our enemies hate the freedoms we have in America. They hate the idea that we are free to express ourselves. Our boys are dying over there for the freedoms we have. Ya see...."
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the signs said, The words of the prophets
are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.
And whisper'd in the sounds of silence.
The burning question is - Why is it the people who start out against burning flags end up burning people? The daughter of Dachau survivors wonders.