Saturday, July 01, 2006




If your house was on fire, would you allow your child to perish in order to save his Birth Certificate? Of course not—only a fool would do that. But that’s exactly what a majority of our foolish congress was advocating in their proposed “Flag Burning” amendment to the Constitution. If they would have gotten their way, they would have corrupted our Constitution by taking away our right to free expression. They wanted to strip us of yet another right, in order to protect a piece of cloth whose only value is as a symbol of the very right that they wanted to take away. In other words, they wanted to sacrifice the child in order to protect its Birth Certificate—a mere affirmation, of the very life that they would have allowed to perish.

At best, that represents convoluted thinking, but it’s the kind of thinking that this conservative administration, and its rubber-stamp congress, must get the American people to embrace in order to advance its malevolent agenda. They specialize in appealing to our emotions. That’s the way that conservative Republicans circumvent our common sense, and get Americans to vote against their own best interest. It’s a tried and true marketing ploy: Never mind that that shiny new Escalade costs as much as a house, and only gets 2 miles to the gallon, just show the owner driving down the street, with his neighbors looking on in envy, and America will beat a path to your door. So, the very success of these people is dependant on America’s ignorance.

That’s the source of most of our problems here in America—politicians that appeal to the worse in our nature, and an electorate that has become so blind that we don’t even recognize when we’re being manipulated like fools. It’s gotten so bad that every time I see a politician looking solemnly into the camera, and spewing his disingenuous nonsense, it makes me want to throw up.

We currently have elderly people in this country who have to choose between eating and buying the drugs that they have to have to sustain they’re lives. We have people who have to pay a day and a half’s wages just to buy enough gas to get them to work for a week. We’re involved in a senseless war with no end in the foreseeable future, that’s draining our economy and killing both American and Iraqi children. We’re sustaining a budget deficit, and the exhaustion of our military, that threatens our ability to defend our shores. And most frightening all, we have a president who seems to have absolutely no understanding of limits, or an appreciation of the United States Constitution, and yet, our congress is hard at work, wasting time, debating the burning of a piece of cloth.

Senate Majority Leader Frist, again, looking solemnly into the camera, indicated that one of the reasons that the flag burning amendment should be passed was that it was unconscionable that people would be burning the very symbol that our troops are dying for in Iraq. That is pure, unadulterated, nonsense. First, our troops are not dying in Iraq for the flag--our troops are dying because they entered the military in the hope of finding a better life, then an irresponsible president saw fit to send them to a place that they never should have gone, to fight in a war that never should have taken place. That’s why they're dying. And even those who did go into the military to fight for the “American cause”, they’re not fighting for the flag, they’re fighting for what the flag represents—American ideals—those very same ideals that this administration is corrupting.

For once, let us look at this moment with clarity. The Republican majority in congress doesn’t give a damn about the burning of the American flag—what they wanted was to ignite a constitutional debate across this country that would have been in full gear and raging just in time for the November elections. That way, the debate would have stirred the emotions of their mindless, conservative base, and also served as a distraction that would prevent the American people from thinking about the Republican corruption in congress, and their corporate giveaways that has ravaged our treasury, and the lies that they told that’s causing our children to die in Iraq so that Bush, Cheney, and their cronies can add zeros to their bank accounts. That, is what the flag burning amendment is truly about.

No, they don’t care about the burning of the American flag, and neither do they care about the ideals that our flag represents—if they did, you wouldn’t have to wonder whether they’re listening to your conversations, with your ailing, and medication deprived mother.

Eric L. Wattree, Sr.

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