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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Standing on Principle: Why I’m Opposed to the “Flag Burning Amendment”

Almost 18 years ago as a young naval officer, I took the following oath: “Í do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same …”

It was an oath I took very seriously then, and it is one I feel even more strongly about today. And it is for that reason that I am fundamentally opposed to the “Flag burning” amendment that just passed the House of Representatives.

Over the past 200 years, the Constitution has been amended only 27 times and -- with the exception of one amendment that has since been repealed – every amendment has reaffirmed and expanded freedoms. The flag burning amendment is the first to go in the opposite direction and restrict freedoms! This is un-American.

I love America because it is one of the few countries in the world that not only allows minority, dissenting and unpopular voices to be heard, it actually goes out of its way to protect them! And when I swore to uphold the Constitution, it was this principle that I was swearing to protect. I was not swearing to simply protect a symbol.

The pride and honor I feel when I see the U.S. flag is not with the flag per se, it is the principle for which it stands -- freedom. And one of those freedoms – as offensive as I or others may personally find it -- is the right to burn the flag.

America is so much better than this cheap amendment, and as a United States Senator I will never support it and will actively work against it.

Jack Uldrich