Hay Bright blasts Snowe's support for Flag-Desecration Amendment
June 27, 2006
Maine's Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate has criticized Senator
Olympia Snowe for her public support of a flag-desecration amendment to
the U.S. Constitution. Another vote on the perennial measure may be held
in the Senate this week, and news reports say that the vote will be
close. (On June 27, 2006, both Snowe and Collins voted in favor of
S.J.Res. 12, "a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the
Constitution of the United States authorizing Congress to prohibit the
physical desecration of the flag of the United States." It was rejected
on a 66-34 vote, one vote shy of the 2/3 super-majority needed.)
"Clearly the supporters of this amendment do not agree with the ideas embodied in the First Amendment, in all its ramifications," Jean Hay Bright of Dixmont wrote in her latest campaign update, which went out by email over the weekend.
Calling it a "stick-it-to-the-Constitution" amendment, Hay Bright pointed out that the flag-desecration amendment was not prompted by someone burning a flag. Instead, it is in response to a Supreme Court decision several decades ago that threw out a law under which Abbie Hoffman was arrested for wearing a shirt with a stars and stripes design.
"As that arrest illustrated, one man's dapper celebration of the Stars and Stripes is another man's desecration," Hay Bright said.
If this amendment were to pass, Hay Bright predicted the disappearance of festive clothing with a stars and stripes motif, often worn by people who march in 4th of July parades, or line the streets as parade spectators. "People obviously will not risk being arrested over something like that," she said.
But of greater concern than fashion, Hay Bright said, is the blatant "thought police" nature of this proposed amendment, particularly when it comes to such things as flag burning.
"Once we establish, through this Constitutional amendment, that the government has the right to determine how free you are, not by what you do, but by what your are THINKING while you are doing it, then we are on our way down the slippery slope toward full government repression."
Hay Bright has expressed her opposition to this often-introduced measure in several political columns going back more than a decade.
Jean Hay Bright's latest campaign update can be found Here.
Jean Hay Bright's policy position and political columns about the flag can be found Here.
Below is the text of her Flag-Burning statement in her latest campaign update:
I've marched in many Fourth of July parades, covered others as a reporter, and enjoyed several more as simply an enthusiastic United States citizen. And I've got to tell you, I'm going to miss all those festive teeshirts and hats and jackets sporting the stars and stripes that line the parade routes and show up on some of the marchers, should this ill-advised "flag desecration amendment" to the U.S. Constitution become the law of the land.
Remember, it was Abbie Hoffman's arrest for wearing a shirt with a stars-and-stripes design that brought him to trial several decades ago. And it was his appeal of that conviction that elicited the Supreme Court decision in his favor, throwing out the law he was charged under. And it is that court decision, declaring that law unconstitutional, that this flag-desecration amendment is designed to "correct."
It just goes to show you, one man's celebration is another man's desecration. Which is just the beginning of what is wrong with this amendment.
You understand that this is a stick-it-to-the-judges amendment. The "logic" goes like this -- if the judges declare something to be unconstitutional, lets make it Constitutional by making it an amendment to that Constitution, on par with the Bill of Rights, and see what those durned judges say about that!
The problem is that this is also a stick-it-to-the-Constitution issue. Clearly the supporters of this amendment do not agree with the ideas embodied in the First Amendment, in all its ramifications. In their efforts to become thought police (it's not the burning of the flag that is the issue, it's what you are THINKING while you are burning the flag that matters), they are willing to trash the wonderful founding legal document that our flag represents.
Another problem is one of unintended consequences. If we stick into our Constitution an amendment that is in conflict with another amendment, which one wins? Who knows? Do you trust the current Supreme Court to come down on what you consider your side?
And, once we establish, through this Constitutional amendment, that the government has the right to determine how free you are, not by what you do, but by what your are THINKING while you are doing it, then we are on our way down the slippery slope toward full government repression.
Better not wear that sweatshirt with the flag across the chest. Best take the flag off the car antennae. Don't want to go to prison over something stupid like that.
Olympia Snowe is on record favoring this amendment. The Senate will be voting shortly, and the head count reportedly is close. Your Senate and mine.
Is this the America you want to live in?