Saturday, August 05, 2006

Senator Feinstein Disagrees

About a month ago, I wrote Senator Dianne Feinstein (from California) an email expressing my displeasure at her "yes" vote on the flag-burning amendment. Yesterday, I received an email from her. I picture her getting ready to go to bed and saying to her husband, "I'll be right there, but first I need to get back to Steve Everett on his email, it's been over a month since he wrote".

It's not that I'm for burning the flag, of course, I'm not. The main points of my email were first, how many flags are being burned in the U.S., is this really a problem? Second, even there was a flag here and there being burned, there must be at least 50 issues that are more important for the Senate to be spending its time on. Unfortunately, I didn't save my email since I typed it into a web form. Too bad, I'm sure it's a classic! :)

In any case, here's Senator Feinstein's response:

August 4, 2006

Dear Mr. Everett:
Thank you for writing to express your opposition to a constitutional amendment prohibiting the physical desecration of the American flag. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me and welcome the opportunity to respond.

Unfortunately, we will have to disagree about this issue. I strongly believe that the American flag holds a unique position in our society as the most important and universally recognized symbol that unites us as a nation. The flag -- as a symbol of our nationhood -- can and should be respected and protected from attack. Beyond my personal convictions, many Californians have told me of their desire for such protection for our flag. Indeed, California had a flag protection statute from 1929 until 1989, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down State flag protection statutes.

The authority for a nation to protect its central symbol of unity was considered constitutional for two centuries. It was only a decade ago that a narrow majority of the U.S. Supreme Court said otherwise. At this point, it seems clear that the only way to protect the American flag is to amend the Constitution to authorize Congress to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag. I believe that outlawing this specific conduct does not limit American's freedom of speech. Recently, the Senate failed, by a one vote margin (66-34), to pass Senate Joint Resolution 12 (S.J. Res. 12), which would have returned to Congress the power to protect the flag. While this vote was disappointing, I will continue to pursue this topic in the Senate.

Please know that I value your opinion, but on this issue I am afraid we will remain in disagreement. However, I greatly appreciate your input and hope that you will continue to share your views with me. Further, I have included with this letter the statement that I gave on the Senate floor on this topic so that you may better understand my position. If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to call my Washington, DC office at (202) 224-3841.

NOTE FROM STEVE: Here was the text of Senator Feinstein's Senate floor speech. I've included the link if you're interested

Sincerely yours,
Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

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