For hippies, democrats and other malcontents, summer is traditionally the peak flag-burning season of the year. But a push by Republican Senators to pass the Flag Protection Amendment may pour cold water on solstice celebrations, veggie cookouts and other warm-weather gatherings that typically feature flag burning as a main event.
Dixie Chicks rethinking '06 "Burn This Flag" Tour
By Cole Walters
SEATTLE, WA—Eric "Banzan" Saxby describes himself as "one angry dude" these days. Mr. Saxby, who goes by the single name "Banzan," a Zen term meaning "indestructible mountain," recently got word that the US Senate is on the verge of passing an amendment giving Congress the authority to ban the burning of the American flag. The ban, says Banzan, represents a real bummer for individuals like himself, for whom the summer is typically the peak flag-burning season of the year.
"You got to do it, man," says Banzan, a former associate at a local bookstore who is currently between jobs. "We burn one every time we get together. It's just what you do."
Banzan and his friends, a loose-knit collective of vegetarians and vegans who describe themselves as deeply interested in the pursuit of alternatives, are far from the only disappointed flag-burners these days. Across the country, hippies, democrats and other critics of traditional values say that the flag-burning ban will leave a gaping hole in summer solstice celebrations, veggie picnics and other left-wing gatherings. Banzan and others have even convened a local spokescouncil to debate what else they might burn if flag desecration is in fact outlawed.
Dixie Chicks 'flame out'
It isn't just Seattle hippies that are burned up over Senate's move to protect the symbol that Americans hold dearest. Controversial country rockers, the Dixie Chicks, are also reportedly rethinking the concept for their 2006 tour, nicknamed the "Burn this Flag" tour. The Chicks, who will be touring the US and Europe this summer to promote their new album, "Taking the Long Way," had planned on burning a flag at each performance and were even offering discounted tickets to fans who brought in the ashes of a previously burned flag.
Wanted: an easier-to-burn flag
Not everyone is cancelling their plans to set the Stars and Stripes ablaze this holiday season. Seattle librarian and former John Kerry supporter Heloise Doucette says that she won't let a federal ban on burning douse her annual flag-burning fiesta. In fact, says Doucette, difficulty setting Old Glory alight last summer now has her in search of an easier-to-burn flag.
"When you see our flag going up in flames overseas it seems like all they have to do is just set a match to it and it's done," says Doucette. "But with the rainy climate out here you can go through a whole box of matches just to get a blaze." Ms. Doucette says she's currently scouring online auction sites for a 'pre-doused' flag and may even try to acquire one from overseas.
Dems: protect the Mexican flag
While the drive to protect the flag from enemies of American freedom at home and abroad is being led by Republican Senators, members of the Democratic Party have indicated that they're considering a flag protection act of their own: of the Mexican flag. Democratic Party leaders, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, were reportedly deeply disturbed by images of the Mexican flag being torched at rallies earlier this spring. The Democratic measure would make burning the Mexican bandera a federal crime punishable by imprisonment.
Should Americans who burn the flag lose their right to vote or be deported? Talk back to Cole Walters at [email protected].