FLAG DESECRATION AMENDMENT--Continued -- (Senate - June 27, 2006)
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Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, we are in the midst of a debate that, frankly, I think we ought to have, and I am proud to be a cosponsor of this resolution. I share the view of the majority of Georgians that the American flag symbolizes the strong values that our country stands for--freedom, liberty and representative democracy. And most importantly, our American flag represents the generations of men and women who have fought and died defending those values. I have the privilege of representing a proud military state, and nothing makes me more proud when traveling around Georgia than to stand with the folks I represent, face our flag--place my hand over my heart--and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
The flag represents our way of life. It hangs in our classrooms, over our police stations, fire stations, and courthouses. It flies above this historic Capitol. It was borne by troops in battle to protect our liberties and has covered the caskets of fallen soldiers, airmen, and marines who made the ultimate sacrifice for us. It is an emotional symbol to so many of us.
I have had the opportunity to travel around the world to represent my state and my country--and the one symbol that everybody in and particularly outside of America looks to when they think about America is that great flag that we have lived under for all these many years. And for anybody to think that they ought to be able to stomp on that flag, or trample that flag or burn that flag or destroy that flag in any way other than a professional way is simply wrong.
There are those who say we ought not ``change'' the Constitution. Yet, for 200 years the legislative branch of our governmental had the power under our Constitution to prohibit the desecration of the flag. Only in 1989 and 1990 did a divided Supreme Court, for the first time in our history, ``change'' the Constitution to say that Congress no longer had that power. I believe the amendment process, provided for by the Constitution itself, is the lawful means by which the American people may restore common sense when the Supreme Court abandons it.
Let me take a moment to say that I understand that a substitute has been filed and that the substitute has in it language to prohibit protests at military funerals. The language is basically the same language as the bill that Senator Bayh and I introduced months ago.
I hope we can work together to get this bill passed as a stand-alone bill. We need to ensure that families can bury their servicemembers in the peace and dignity and respect they have earned.
I ask that a vote be made against the substitute and for the underlying resolution.