I was surprised to see that the American Legion is only interested in my views on a flag desecration amendment to the Constitution. With so many of our good military men and women coming back from the Middle East in flag-draped coffins or badly injured, I would have thought that your organization would have concerns about my stands on veterans benefits, including survivor benefits, adequate funding for health care, rehabilitation services, retraining and schooling.

In case you missed it, the Congressional House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 260-167 to forbid U.S. courts from hearing challenges to the "under God" provision in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Maine's Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate has criticized Senator Olympia Snowe for her public support of a flag-desecration amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Another vote on the perennial measure may be held in the Senate this week, and news reports say that the vote will be close. (On June 27, 2006, both Snowe and Collins voted in favor of S.J.Res. 12, "a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States authorizing Congress to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States." It was rejected on a 66-34 vote, one vote shy of the 2/3 super-majority needed.)

Fall 2005

I personally love the Flag of the United States of America. But in this day and age, with what we have experienced as a country in the past four years, any attempt to amend our wonderful Constitution to prohibit the desecration of an American flag should be an issue that is dead in the water.

If someone has a gripe against the United States of America, and wants to express that intense anger in a public, provocative way, I would not stand in the way of that person burning an American flag. Better the flag than the Federal Building, or the World Trade Center. Our flag can take it.

Furthermore, to anyone who wants to jail such protesters, at a cost to taxpayers of about $40,000 a year, I would ask -- would you feel any differently if you knew the flag had been Made in China?

Let's fix both problems with the Pledge of Allegiance, and then move on.

If the flag-burning amendment to the Constitution passes, I'm going to miss all those red, white and blue ties, shirts, hats, beach towels and bikinis that now liven up parades, political rallies, backyards and beaches.

Better the flag than the [Oklahoma City] federal building.