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Thoughts on the Flag Protection Amendment
1 September 1995

Joey Johnson (defendant/appellee, Texas v. Johnson; national spokesperson, Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade):

"The time to stop this amendment is now! This Amendment comes ass part of the whole cruel Contract On America. A corpulent Congress wants to revive and renew a sick and dying empire by forcing a program of cuts, punishment, and racism against the poor, Black and Latino people, women, and immigrants, while at the same time demanding we respect the government, the system, its institutions and symbols. I want to encourage everyone protesting against the cutting of affirmative action, the closings of clinics and hospitalss, the cutting of educational benefits, the racism and brutality of the police, the discrimination against immigrants. Go ahead, burn the American flag in protest, for all the injustice, for all the betrayal, for all the lies and hypocrisy. And if you aren't readdy to do that, find different ways to that commands us to respect the flag."
Edward Hasbrouck (former spokesperson, Emergency Committee on the Supreme Court Flag-Burning Case; member, National Lawyers Guild):
"I'm worried that a lot of people aren't doing anything about the Flag Amendment because they don't take it seriously. But the critical vote will be the next one, in the Senate, probably sometime in the fall of 1995. The Amendment has already been approved by the House of Representives. It does not require Presidential approval and would not be subject to Presidential veto. It was only a few votes short the last time it was voted on in the Senate, in 1990, and it has more Senate support now.

Once the Amendment is approved by the House and Senate it will be almost impossible to stop. Those who remember the campaign for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment will remember how difficult it is to mobilize national public opinion to influence votes on ratification that are taken state legislature by state legislature, at unpredictable times over a period of many years.

Most state legislatures have already called on Congress to propose this Amendment. Don't kid yourselves: if Congress approves this Amendment, it WILL be ratified and it WILL become the law of the land. As a later amendment, it will supercede the First Amendment wherever they conflict. The Supreme Court will be bound to, and will, uphold it. Flagburners will be locked up: not all of them, of course, but some as examples.

Too many people will wake up the day after the Senate votes to approve the Flag Amendment, or maybe not until the day the 38th state legislature ratifies it and it takes effect, and wish that they could do something about it. Some will even go out and burn flags solely to assert their right to do so. But it will be too late, and they will have that right no more. I fully eexpect that some of my time, years from now, will be spent writing letters and campaigning on behalf of prisoners of conscience imprisoned for burning flags in defience of the Flag Amendment.

If you are going to exercise your rights, do it now. If you are willing to burn a flag, if that's what it takes to preserve your freedom, now and not later is the time.

Your First Amendment: use it or lose it."

The preceding information was submitted to The Flag Burning Page by Edward Hasbrouck, whom I would like to thank very much.
Warren S. Apel