Congress just rolled out the most recent version of its failed software, Flag Preservation 17.0 to mixed reviews. I disagree with the effort, though I agree with the core motivation.
First and foremost, I disagree with using the Constitution to micromanage the country. We've got 25 net amendments already out of 27, with the 20th century experiment on alcohol prohibition via constitutional fiat serving as an object lesson against legislating morality.
Secondly - and this seems to be beyond the grasp of many - it'll do more harm than good. Why? I'll tell you why.
The buttflakes who burn the flag as free speech are not just trying to make a statement, they're provoking for a predictable response to fuel their argument and call attention to themselves. The Flag is a convenient prop for their theatrics. If the Flag becomes off-limits, two things are quite certain: 1) they'll burn it anyway; and 2) they'll find something else to burn instead - like maybe the Bible, the Presidential Seal, or the Constitution itself.
Besides, what's the penalty going to be, thirty days in the hole? Electro-shock therapy? A number of those who protest that way have going to jail as part of the overall mix, so if disturbing the peace, trespassing or inciting a riot are on their "A" list, why would they shy away from Flag-burning?
If anything, placing the Flag off-limits to protesters will only enhance the shock value when they do desecrate it. Even if it's a felony with all the resulting loss of rights and privileges, it's playing into their hands.
What I find rather amusing, in a tired, cynical sort of way, is the howling on the Left about restricting freedom of speech and over-wrought patriotic Flag-love on the Right. These are the same idiotic nutbags who tell us that picking up Al Kayda's K0ran with your ungloved left hand is the Mother of all Insults - which is, in fact, an act forbidden to members of our Armed Forces.
To paraphrase my friend Murphy, burning the Flag doesn't prove you're unAmerican, but it does prove you're a jerk. A better solution to jerkism might be to find a way to diminish the force of a protester's argument when they resort to it.
Using the "N-Word" is free speech, but there are consequences. Not only is the utterer at personal risk of physical violence (punishable by law), they are also at risk of social sanction directly proportionate to their social position. To those who say the Flag is just a piece of cloth, I ask if the "N-Word" is just phonics?
No legal prohibitions on burning or otherwise desecrating Holy Books (so long as they are the desecrator's property). Tell you what, go out and burn the Bible in your protest and you'll probably get a knot on your head from somebody who lands in jail on assault and battery. Go burn a K0ran (or drop it to the ground from your left hand) and you'll stand a good chance on your way to the Pearly Gates of seeing Al Kayda pullin' his clothes off in anticipation of getting jiggy with 72 of paradise's finest.
If we're gonna spend time amending the Constitution, let's spend it wisely by giving the President the line-item veto and putting limits on the terms of Federal Judges (12-15 years ought to be plenty), or maybe even modifying the current doctrine of eminent domain to return the full rights to private property owners that the Supreme Court just gave to the State in Kelo v. City of New London.