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6/21/2006 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson


Boy is my face red. I got two brothers completely mixed up and reported that Loren Melaas had a duck in his chimney on his farm near Maddock. No! No! No!

It was David Melaas, who lives in Maddock, who had the duck in his chimney.

My apologies to the Melaas brothers.


The senate is scheduled to vote on the flag desecration amendment to the US Constitution later this month.

Two weeks ago the senate wasted time on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman. It was handily defeated.

Special interest groups are pressing for constitutional amendments relating to guns, balancing the budget, gay rights and lord knows what all.

These hot button issues come up to take our minds off the war in Iraq, massive federal debt which is growing every day, FEMA incompetence, cronyism, tax breaks for the wealthy, corporate welfare, financial problems with Medicare and Social Security, medical care costs and nursing home costs going through the roof, and on and on and on.

For political reasons the leaders of Congress push these items aside to concentrate on marriage and the flag.

Our Constitution has served us well for more than 200 years with only

26 amendments. But now suddenly, the way to solve the nation’s problems is to amend the Constitution. That’s extremely shallow thinking.

We don’t need ANY amendments to our Constitution. The special interests who demand these amendments will get nowhere with me.

Senators Conrad and Dorgan have stood up for common sense by opposing this flag desecration amendment in the past. I hope they continue to stand up to the special interests and vote for the people by voting against the amendment.

Among the special interests is the American Legion, which is flexing its political muscle by putting pressure on Conrad and Dorgan. I think the Legion is doing a great disservice to the nation by pressing for this amendment. I say that as a 37-year member of the Legion. The Legion does a lot of good, especially on veterans’

issues, so I’m supportive of the Legion, but not on the constitutional amendment issue.

In the first place, flag desecration is a rare occurrence in the US.

Why? Because it’s pretty dangerous. Anyone stupid enough to burn or trample on a US Flag is likely to get a punch in the schnozz from outraged bystanders. If it becomes illegal to burn or trample on a US Flag, the police will have to step in and protect the idiot(s).

They’ll be spared that poke in the schnozz. The law of unintended consequences will kick in. The goofs who perform this stupid maneuver will be taken away and they’ll get a courtroom in which to expound their views. The flag amendment plays into their hands.

The amendment simply states that congress will have the right to pass laws banning desecration of the flag. We don’t know what will come next. Maybe Congress will simply pass the torch to states and say that states will be able to pass laws banning desecration. Defining desecration by either Congress or the state legislatures will be quite a chore, spending more valuable time on an unnecessary issue.

It may become illegal in Tennessee, for instance, to wear a bikini with the Stars and Stripes as its theme, and it may be legal in Maine. It may become illegal to use a paper napkin with a flag motif in South Dakota. We could end up with all kinds of goofy laws.

Prominent veterans like former Senator and astronaut John Glenn, a Democrat; former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican; and former POW and domestic policy advisor to Republican President Ronald Reagan, James Warner, who asks why a piece of cloth should be more important than our Constitutional rights. "Why is it the flag that we want to protect? After all, it is a symblem (an emblem depicting a

symbol) of our country. Why don’t we try to protect the very bedrock, the meaning of the country, the Constitution?"


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