You know the gag I’m talking about, right?
Sure you do. It never works. I mean, maybe on a five year old kid for the first time, but otherwise, never. Nobody is stupid enough to fall for it.
Or so you’d think.
See, the Republicans have been doing just that to us since the 2nd tower was reduced to dust, rubble, and bits of FDNY guys. At every possible turn, when anyone dared ask, “Hey, what’s going on?” the Republicans, led by their mighty leader,
The thing is, it isn’t just phantom wilde-eyed Islamic boogeymen that Republicans use to try and distract us (although those “terror alert” warnings every week during the 2004 campaign did make it seem so). They’ve been equally effective at using some non-existent moral high ground (“Oh my god! Look, they’re killing Teri Schiavo even though via videotape we can see she is completely lucid despite the diagnosis of doctors who have seen her in real life!”), or protecting us from the savages of eroding social convention (“Oh my god! Look, two people of the same sex want to proclaim their partnership in a marriage which will somehow mean that not only will bestiality become public school curriculum but that heterosexuals who are married will suddenly all turn into rabid immoral beasts bringing down the destruction of our nation so the wild-eyed Islamic boogeymen can kill us!”).
It’s sad, really. Even sadder that it continues to work. There are others too, most recently the “Oh my god! Look, there are millions of illegal immigrants storming over the border stealing our jobs and sucking the treasury dry even though they help construct our roads/homes/buildings and put the food on our tables, and pay taxes that helps offset the cost of our unjustified and unnecessary war in Iraq to prevent the phantom wild-eyed Islamic boogeymen from killing us!”
Well, they didn’t stop there. You wouldn’t expect them too, would you? Nope. Their last bit was the “Oh my god! Look, those wild leftyloons are lining up to burn the flag which will somehow through a series of Rube Goldberg-esque steps mean the utter destruction of our ability to remain free thus leaving us helpless against the hoards of illegal immigrants who want nothing more than to kill innocent brain-dead women who really are lucid anyway so homosexuals can get married and force our children to have sex with animals which will only result in wild-eyed Islamic boogeymen killing us!”
Thankfully, that last one proved too hard for the Senate to believe … but just by one vote. The oft-attempted amendment to the constitution that would outlaw burning the American flag failed. Again. By the slimmest margin.
The flag is not some sacred symbol, despite what those who wrap themselves tightest with it might want you to believe. In fact, in a truly free society, there can be no sacred symbols. The freedom to desecrate, through word or action, a belief or symbol, no matter how strongly held, must be un-questioned. It’s very easy to be for speech when it’s something with which you agree, but unless this freedom provides complete protection for the other side, it means nothing. And before you start chiming in with the famous exception to the first amendment about not being allowed to shout “fire!” in a crowded theater, it doesn’t apply. That exception singled out speech which would incite to violence or injury. Burning a flag only injures the pieces of cloth which were stitched together in
Besides, as Sen. Kerry pretty concisely summed it up this way (and I am paraphrasing): “Burning the flag is an act of stupidity, but in this country you have the right to be stupid.” This is most evidently the case, otherwise we wouldn’t keep falling for the Republican tricks of pointing behind us with the intent of distraction.Ook ook