Don’t count on rights, nothing is ‘inalienable’

By Dave Kirkpatrick

Confusion seems the word of the day lately, with all of this talk and controversy over flag burning, abortion and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. I don’t know about you, but all of this attention seems to be more trouble than it is worth.

Take the burning of the Old Stars and Stripes, for example. This fool in Texas decided through some warped sense of logic that he should burn the flag to show his discontent with the ideals of the U.S. government. Freedom of speech, right? You bet.

We can disagree with his motives, his actions and his responsibility, but if we consider the First Amendment in its purest form, we can hardly send the guy to jail. After all, it was his flag.

After all was said and done, the Supreme Court decided the guy had the right to do what he did. Case closed, right? Wrong.

Now the matter has become political with President Bush pushing for an amendment.

I read one headline in a college newspaper that read, “Bush, Republicans agree on flag amendment,” and my real fear was spelled out before me.

I have no problem with the people choosing whether the flag should be protected by an amendment, but I have real problems when the mechanisms used by politicians are of a political nature. Bush, the epitome of a campaigner, has brought the phrase “wrapping yourself in the flag” to a new level.

I see the Bush maneuver of enforcing protected status on the flag as purely a political move to help him achieve status as George Bush, Patriot, president and Protector of our land’s symbols. Get serious George. There have to be more important issues with which to occupy your time.

While on his campaign tour, Bush literally wrapped himself in the flag as he visited a flag-producing plant, and just recently he proposed his partisan amendment before a crowd at the Iwo Jima Memorial. Great strategy George—sound bites, flags, little children, patriotism, war heroes.

Does no one think Bush’s antics can be described as the very desecration he says he is trying to prevent?

On a different note, but none the less scary, is the recent decision by the Supreme Court to allow states to restrict a woman’s right to an abortion.

I am not going to get into abortion statistics and possible horror stories because I feel the real area for concern lies with the ability of the high court to decide such a personal issue.

This highly sensitive social issue cannot be deicided in a court of law. The repercussions are too confusing and too personal for a court to decide. The arena for deciding which side is right, if anyone can define the word, and which is wrong, is not among conservative judges of the Supreme Court or any other court for that matter.

History has proven that courts cannot decide every issue. Heated debate among the public, provided there exists some knowledge of the subject in the public consciousness, should prevail. Judges are not medical, social and psychological experts. Those who are directly influenced by the aborting of a fetus should make the choice.

Now, the abortion issue is becoming political. With gubernatorial elections approaching in some states, candidates are being asked to publicize their stance on abortion so we as voters can use the abortion issue to help in making voting decisions.

Who am I to tell you not to burn the flag? Who am I to regulate if women have abortions or not? Who am I to get so damn offended with you expressing yourself, that I need to change the constitution?

Well, you’ll probably say, “You are not a justice of the Supreme Court. You are not President Bush and you are not my father.”

You’re right. But, my point is who are these people to decide personal issues that might affect others in ways that are completely different from how they might affect them.