Context is everything
We had a hot evening, but a nice time staying overnight in the holler with Sassafras. She came home exhausted and covered with little burrs. It's going to take a while to get her fur clear.
Boy Scout that I am, I built a fire and lit it with only one match yesterday -- no paper, no accelerants (I've still got it). Then we grilled steaks. After supper, I stoked up the fire good and hot. Then I went and fetched two old, faded, ratty, full-sized US flags I'd been meaning to dispose of and burnt them.
The US Flag Code says that worn-out flags should be disposed of in a dignified manner, preferably by burning. The proposed amendment to the Consitution that the US House of Representatives keeps passing would outlaw any desecration of the flag -- and they have burning it as a form of protest in mind.
I'm as conservative as you like, but I think that amendment is a colossal waste of energy, as well as a bad idea on the merits. For it is only the context of the act which determines which burning is a proper, dignifed disposal of the symbol and which is an outrageous affront to the nation. Context
in this case means both social
context and the context of my personal intent
. The government has no business regulating social contexts short of a riot (that's freedom of assembly for you), and sure as all get out has ZERO business mucking about inside my head.
I have spent my entire life showing honor to the flag, displaying it properly, caring for it conscientiously, and teaching new generations so to do -- and I think heavy-handed prohibitions from on high are stupid
, as well as impugning the majesty of our Constitution by cluttering up its concise, clearly-written text.