Wedge-issue June starts today

When you watch George W. Bush on a daily basis, seeing him reveal yet another hypocritical stance is about as newsworthy as a new criminal indictment on a Congressional Republican. Same old, same old.

But watch in the next few days when -- barring Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist being struck down by a bolt of lightening from an angry God -- the U.S. Senate turns its attention to S.J.RES.12, a joint resolution (with the House of Representatives) that would amend the Constitution "…to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."

"After September 11, citizens proudly flew the flag, defying the terrorist challenge to our core values of liberty and equality, and confirming its unique status as a symbol of our nation's strength and purpose," said the measure's author, Orrin Hatch (R-UT), of course not missing the chance to invoke 9/11 in introducing his bill. "In the struggle that has followed, our flag stands as a reminder of the many personal sacrifices made to protect and strengthen our nation. And so, to protect this symbol, I am today introducing this amendment."

Given the GOP penchant for hypocrisy, it probably won’t seem odd that Republican standard bearer Bush thinks nothing of desecrating the flag himself, as you can see in the accompanying photo from 2003, showing the president affixing his autograph to an American flag. I'm sure Republican operatives will have an answer for how using the flag for an autograph in lieu of a cocktail napkin isn’t as bad as burning the flag in protest. But Bush should be happy that the Hatch amendment, which he strongly supports, was not yet on the books when he committed his own act of "physical desecration."

I can't claim to speak for every Veteran but, for myself, I did my duty not for the flag itself, but for what it represents -- freedom and the right of each of our citizens to exercise that freedom by burning the flag in protest if that's how they choose to express their outrage. People who burn the flag don't disrespect anyone who fought for our country's creed. Cynical individuals like Hatch, who try to restrict the freedoms that many of our people have died for, most certainly do.

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