THE GOOD NEWS

Don’t fail to see the movie because you think it will be a downer. With a bit of luck, this story can all have a happy ending. Remember the disappearing ozone layer? In the interest of spraying our underarms to smell nice (and cooling our refrigerators with Freon), man-made chlorofluorocarbons were being released into the atmosphere, eating up the ozone layer. But the planet got together, changed its behavior, and – do you know what? – the ozone layer is okay again.

The current problem is worse, but it, too, can probably be solved – with a load of jobs and wealth created in the process – if we put our minds to it. Think, people – think! See this movie. Take your kids and your co-workers. Call the principal of your kids’ school and invite him or her to come with you.


If they made a movie about YOUR HOUSE, would you go see it? Well, they have.


THE FLAG

Wednesday, I wrote a blessedly short column on the proposed Constitutional Amendment to ban flag-burning. (‘Oh, for crying out loud,’ it began. ‘The whole point of America is that you can burn the flag.’)

Joe C: ‘As a former Marine Corps infantry officer (1995-1999), I was initially surprised to find out just how many servicemen and servicewomen – including me – feel just as you do. I must have read today’s column five times. Each time the lump in my throat only grew.’

Esteban: ‘The Republicans say that the activist judges changed the will of 48 states … they do not want to understand that we have three branches of Government, and that Congress focuses mostly on what the majority wants (so that politicians can get re-elected by that majority), while the Courts are there, in part, to protect the rights of the minority.’

Richard: ‘Any government agency that tries to prosecute a flag burning case could be wide open for huge law suits for the following reason. It will be very easy to manufacture flags specifically for burning that have red and white stripes with a blue field containing white stars. However, there might be more or fewer stripes or stars than the official flag making it not an American flag at all. Therefore, any prosecution for flag burning would be malicious prosecution, abuse of process, or whatever the proper legal term is. Anyone who wishes to protest could also punish the government by documenting what they are burning in advance. In fact, prosecution would become impossible after a few such cases if the burner is just careful to be sure the flag is completely consumed. That would leave no evidence that an actual American flag had been burned. Surely, prosecutors would not be willing to take on such cases after some big awards in countersuits, besides which they could not prove their case without evidence. Unless a prosecution witness had confirmed from close examination immediately prior to the fire that the flag burned was an official flag, surely the defense claim that it was not would have to prevail lacking any other constitutional changes made to alter rules of evidence or presumption of innocence.’

☞ Hmmm. Not sure juries or judges would find in Richard’s favor – or for the flag makers. (Might making a fake flag for purposes of desecration not itself count as desecration?) But why are we even talking about this? This is America. We want people to love and respect her flag not because we have a law requiring them to (at home), or because we can bomb their poverty-stricken country into oblivion, but because of our traditions of free expression, compassion, inclusion, ingenuity, opportunity, energy, and idealism.

Have a great July 4th weekend. At our house, Charles and I will have American flags flying everywhere.

 

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