We at the DCeiver hope that all of you had a splendid Independence Day, whether you braved the heat and torturous squalor of the National Mall or, like us, celebrated indoors. Because we have lately, and with good cause, declared a pox on rainfall of all sorts, we retired to the lovely Elissa Ewalt's new apartment for grilling and fireworks viewing in high-definition. We got to watch the pyrotechnics in DC, New York City, and Boston in this way, and, happily, we can report that Washington's were the superior of the three, this, despite the presence of an actor from the movie Boat Trip. 1812 Overture is still superbestevers, and it was nice to have a Stevie Wonder on hand to dispense some Songs in the Key of Life. Previous DC entrees included the abysmal Gloria Estefan, who, owing to a broken up spine is contractually forbidden from doing the Conga on pain of waiving her future health care coverage, and The Pointer Sisters, who turned out not to be the Pointer Sisters at all.New York City's affair was hosted, I think, by Campbell Brown, which is de facto lame, and got by mainly on quantity over quality. Kudos, though, to the city's coordinated skyline blackout. That was cool. Boston's was easily the worst, despite the efforts of the Boston Pops, who are now apparently conducted by Mark Cuban, because it also featured a piss-poor performance by Aerosmith and suffered the slings and arrows of being hosted by Dr. Phil and his idiot wife, Ms. Dr. Phil. Also, the musical montage that accompanied the Boston pyros was tres perplexing. "Dirty Water", which naturally, should have concluded the affair, was infelicitously followed by That James Blunt Song. One hopes that anyone caught listening to James Blunt in Southie is given the killer whales treatment by the residents thereof, and when I say "killer whale", I mean they whale on them until they are killed.
The festive celebration of our nation got me thinking about the recently defeated "Flag Burning Amendment"--which this time out failed by one single vote. You know, I like the flag and all. She's a grand old flag and shit. But the Flag Burning Amendment has to be the worst application of Congressional power and the stupidest law ever proposed. Seriously. I have greater objections to people who drape the flag vertically and forget that the union is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS to be on the flag's right (the viewer's left). My thought is, if you have such a fragile ego state that you just can't survive the sight of a flag being burned, then you need to stay indoors and out of public life indefinitely. You are, in point of fact, a pussy. I have heard that in Japan, the ONLY flag it is legal to burn is the Japanese flag. I have problems with that on free speech grounds, but, if that's true, I have to hand it to the Japanese--that's a law with balls.
If you really need to have reasons why the Flag Burning Amendment is wholly asinine, pussified, and stupid, well, I got some.
- In the first place, not to get all West Wing on you, but is there some epidemic of flag-burning occurring here in the United States that I'm not aware of? Seems to me that everytime I see someone burning a US flag, it's always overseas and the conflagree is someone who'd likely burn something worse given the chance.
- Isn't it fair to say that 99.9% of the flags burned in the United States were the result of, uhm...fires?
- Isn't it fair to say that more flags are rent apart by rampaging coyotes than are burned as part of some political protest?
- One of the great things about free speech, to my mind, is that the blanket freedom also provides a blanket encouragement, which means dyed in the wool idiots are always out there, making themselves known to us, standing up proudly in order to be utterly discounted. Flag-burners are the classic "best to keep quiet and be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt" types. If anything, we should encourage flag burning.
- And isn't passing a law against flag burning likely to have the unintended consequence of doing exactly that? I remember when I was a wee lad, walking into a Circuit City and seeing signs by all the televisions that said "Do not touch the television screens." Why on earth would anyone, ever, touch a television screen? Prior to seeing that sign, it had never occurred to me that some amount of pleasure could be had by touching a television screen. Sure enough, all the televisions in Circuit City were smeared with fingerprints.
- Think about it: in 1871, the city of Chicago basically burned to the ground. The scope of the tragedy and damage was and is exponentially greater that what can be done to a flag, and yet nobody felt it necessary to draft a Constitutional amendment that read: "Hey. Don't burn Chicago."
- Can you imagine going back in time, participating in the drafting of the Constitution, and being the douchebag who piped up: "Hey. Let's throw an amendment in there forbidding flag burning!" It's obvious that the suggestion would have been met with withering glances, and Thomas Jefferson would have undoubtedly snarked: "Uhm...maybe you aren't clear on the concept, here...we are building a new nation."
- Is it that we cannot make new flags?
- I say we make flags of asbestos. In the first place, they won't burn. In the second place, since most of our elected officials suffer the deep-seated need to be constantly wrapped in the flag, it would have the added benefit of a lot more politicians dying of painful cancers.
- Finally, our flag, having been consecrated in fire, can certainly not be desecrated with fire.