La Estrella Spangled La Bandera

Over the weekend, lots of folks got their pants all twisted up about the Spanish-language version of The Star Spangled Banner. I suspect these are pretty much the same people who keep wanting an amendment to band flag-burning. I don’t mean to demean their motives – I understand that symbols such as the national anthem and the national flag can have powerful connections to our personal and national psyche. But why is it so many of these people don’t seem to be bothered to threats to the real essence of our national being? Don’t burn the flag, don’t sing the anthem in another language, but as long as you’re not trying to limit guns it’s OK to tinker with the Bill of Rights? Such as:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. ”

or:

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. ”

or:

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. ”

Warrantless surveillance by the government; detaining suspects at Guantanamo (and who knows where else) indefinitely without charge; allowing the President to appear in public facilities before a carefully-screened crowd guaranteed to consist of only his most ardent supporters; the selling of Congressional favors – these seem to me to be far more dangerous to our national integrity than a piece of burning cloth, or a song sung in a language other than English. But the reaction to them seems far less intense than that we’ve seen this weekend. Americans have become a nation of people that seems to value form over function, and this looks like just another example of that. Would I be so cynical as to suggest that it, and the immigration debate that has suddenly become such a hot topic, have more to do with falling favorability rating for the President, and Republicans in general, than anything else?

May 1, 2006 В· Harry В· 2 Comments
Posted in: Politics

2 Responses

  1. chris s. - May 2, 2006

    Hey man, you’re scaring me. You seem to be on a roll lately with your posts. I read what you have to say and I can’t believe how well you are able to articulate my thoughts. I try to explain these things to people and I can’t seem to get it across the way you’ve put it. Well done.

  2. Dave - May 3, 2006

    Immigration became a hot topic because people got tired of beating up on gays. The bread and butter of the Republican Party in the past few years has been the demonization of various groups, designed to scare people into voting for them.