U.S. Rep. Steve Womack of Rogers announced in a news release yesterday that he would try again to get the U.S. Constitution amended to ban U.S. flag desecration. Make it a crime, in other words.
The ACLU and others who believe in the 1st Amendment protection of free speech will resist. Even Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has spoken in the past against efforts to ban flag desecration.
The announcement of a proposal to add a constitutional limitation on a certain form of speech struck me as ill-timed.
If we decide to punish one form of speech, why not another? Should U.S. citizens be allowed to burn the Bible, for example? Or draw cartoons making fun of Jesus or Steve Womack?
Speech is powerful. Efforts to limit speech by legal or illegal means serve only to illustrate the weakness of those who’d suppress it.
A flag is a scrap of cloth. No burning of it diminishes what it stands for. Womack’s amendment does.
Womack is no friend of free speech, of course.
Remember when he called down a man who attended one of his appearances for wearing a T-shirt bearing an image of the Mexican flag? The young man had asked about immigration reform. Womack thought it a bad idea to do so wearing such a shirt. (See video above.)
And how can we forget his intolerance of criticism of his policing action against immigrants when he was mayor of Rogers.