Recently, the Senate fell one vote short of passing a Constitutional amendment banning flag burning. Personally, I abhor seeing anyone burn the American flag, but I am also very hesitant to amend the Constitution, especially to limit free speech. Having considered this dilemma for a few days, I feel I have come up with a Solomon-like decision which draws inspiration from another Old Testament story.
In the only book of the Bible that never mentions God by name, Esther became queen and risked her life to save the Jewish people. Haman, an evil advisor to the king, was jealous of the Jews and wanted to kill them (where have I heard that before?). He convinces the king to sign a decree that authorizes soldiers and others to attack and murder all the Jews in the land.
Esther’s cousin tells her she became queen “for such a time as this.” She devises a plan that expouses Haman’s evil desires. But the king could not simply tear up his former decree. It had been stamped with the king’s seal and no one not even the king himself could reverse that decision. So, instead the king sent word to all the Jews in the land warning them of the attack and telling them to defend themselves as needed. With the forewarning, the Jews, of course, routed those that tried to kill them.
Now, how does this apply to the flag burning issue? Not wanting to hinder someone’s free speech rights, leave the law as it is. Allow those who want to show their disgust with this country to burn the flag freely in public. However, pass a law that pardons anyone who may happen to show their disagreement with the flag burners. (Of course, this only goes to a point. We don’t want anyone being killed.)
If some leftover, hippie peaceniks and spoiled, Ivy league brats want to gather in the city park and burn the flag. That will be entirely legal. Burn the flag and all the paper mache puppets you want. But it will also be legal for large veterans and burly patriotic men to demonstrate their love and respect of the flag to the leftover, hippie peaceniks and spoiled, Ivy league brats.
So everyone has the right to express themselves in a way they deem acceptable. Free speech for everyone, but consequences may follow certain choices.