On June 5, 2006 I wrote to CTs reps:
Message sent to the following recipients:
Message text follows:
P.O. Box 7245
Prospect, CT 06712-0245
June 14, 2006
[recipient address was inserted here]
[recipient name was inserted here],
What is the next part of freedom that will be taken away from American
citizens? Oppose this bill. It is yet another freedom that should not be
taken away. I may disagree with the act of burning, shredding, tearing the
flag but that does not mean it should be illegal.
Joe L wrote back to me. Rosa mailed, old school style!, me her position, and Chris… Well, I’m still waiting to hear back from him.
The good news, simply put, is that he agrees that states should have the right to decide. Gov T should not dictate what is free speech. I guess that kind of goes against the whole “free” thing when the limits are dictated.
Now go out there and burn baby burn. It’s your right.
June 20, 2006
Mr. Gary Ploski
PO BOX 7245
Prospect, CT 06712
Dear Mr. Ploski:
Thank you for contacting me to express your opinion regarding the flag desecration resolution (H.J.Res. 5), which was introduced by Representative Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), to protect the American flag. I appreciate your views on this serious matter.
Our flag is the symbol of the freedom that hundreds of thousands of Americans have sacrificed their lives to protect. But that freedom is not ensured by the flag — it is ensured by the First Amendment and its guarantee of free political expression. I deplore all abuses of our flag; but, as a Senator, I have sworn to uphold the Constitution and the rights and freedoms it guarantees. This is my most solemn duty.
Since the tragic September 11 attacks, I have been encouraged to see so many people flying the American flag proudly across our great nation. While I abhor desecration of any flag and have consistently voted to make it a crime, it would be a mistake to amend the Constitution in order to ban flag desecration. Additionally, to change one of our most cherished liberties in the First Amendment in light of the terrorist attacks would be to give a victory to those who perpetrated these acts.
While flag desecration disgusts and infuriates me, our Constitution, and particularly the Bill of Rights, the foundation of our democracy, seek to limit the power of government and at the same time expand individual liberty. To adopt this amendment would serve to expand the power of government, but that expansion would come at the expense of individual liberty. In addition, I fear that passage of an amendment might actually increase acts of desecration for the sake of notoriety or spite.
The question of whether to amend our Constitution to prohibit flag burning is an extraordinarily difficult one for me. I find the act of burning an American flag to be despicable. The flag is a symbol of what is great about our country. It is the standard we rally around in war and in peace, in mourning and in celebration, and, ultimately, in life and death. It unites us in our past and in our future. When someone desecrates the flag, he or she, in a sense, strikes at all of those things.
In the end, flag desecration is hateful and worthy of condemnation, but I just cannot conclude that it threatens our nation. Although I stand ready to support any statutory means possible to curtail desecration of the flag, I just cannot support amending our nation’s foundational document to address it. For that reason, I have voted against similar attempts to ban flag burning through a constitutional amendment in the past. Pease be assured that I will keep your concerns in mind should this serious matter be addressed by the Senate during the 109th Congress or beyond.
My official Senate web site is designed to be an on-line office that provides access to constituent services, Connecticut-specific information, and an abundance of information about what I am working on in the Senate on behalf of Connecticut and the nation. I am also pleased to let you know that I have launched an email news update service through my web site. You can sign up for that service by visiting http://lieberman.senate.gov and clicking on the “Subscribe Email News Updates” button at the bottom of the home page. I hope these are informative and useful.
Thank you again for letting me know your views and concerns. Please contact me if you have any additional questions or comments about our work in Congress.