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Salute It or Burn It: That's Called Freedom

June 26, 2005

Re "House Again Backs Amendment to Ban Desecrating Flag," June 23: OK, once again for all the Republicans who didn't get it the first time: Freedom of speech is not free unless it applies to everyone and everything. Got it?

Tom Martin

Los Angeles

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Salute the flag or burn it. Make a bikini of it. Sling it over a shoulder for a victory lap. Hang it until it is faded and tattered. Wear it in a lapel. Drape a coffin. Stomp it in the dust. It's my choice and yours, and some of our choices will always seem more reprehensible than others. But when the choice is removed, the flag will no longer be the symbol of our freedoms.

Jack Fenn

Montecito Heights

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In 1775, Samuel Johnson famously observed, "Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels." Sure looked like it last week. On Wednesday, the House resurrected the Flag Desecration Amendment. Tellingly, its principal sponsor was Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-San Diego), the same congressman who is under fire because a lobbyist bought his house for $700,000 over prevailing market prices -- a scandal that even fellow Republicans admit is likely to doom his career ("Congressman Sold Home -- and Could Pay Dearly," June 23). What a coincidence. Brings to mind another quotation: "Wag the dog."

Richard Murphy

Whittier

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