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Think Forward, not Backward June 30, 2006

Posted by gordonwatts in politics.

On my bike ride home this evening I figured part of the reason why things like congress wasting its time with the flag burning amendment bug me. We are being defensive. We are, in effect, saying that the ideals the flag stands for are not enough to protect it. We need something more.

Bear with me while I equate this to office space wars. As you might well imagine, in a small building groups will end up clashing over office space. The best way to argue for office space is to have a clear need. You have more students than your offices will fit. You are starting a new project. I’d call this good argument. You are arguing from a positive position. On the other hand, you could do something like, look, I currently bring in the biggest grant in the building, and if you don’t want me to leave the department then you have to guarantee me 20 offices at all times (no matter how big my group is). I’d call that a defensive argument. I am trying to protect my office space.

The flag amendment is the same way. We aren’t pushing forward – we are looking back. The flag as been the symbol that has represented many great things this country has done. We need to make sure that symbol, and by extension, none of those past acts are ever insulted. Much better way to look at this is – let’s do great things and make the symbol stand for even more.

There are, obviously, lots of other reasons not to pass this amendment (freedom of speech, it is a global world (someone will always be burning a US flag), etc.). But, ironically, congress shrinking into a defensive position rather than out there pushing forward is the thing that got me.



1. David - July 1, 2006

You made the assumption that Congress was serious about this issue. I don’t think that’s true. In my view, this is just an election year try for some votes. Clearly there are much more pressing issues that would never show up in an election year, e.g. stem cell research. If Congress was serious, I agree with you.

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