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THE FLAG DEBATE:

Political dissent is basic to freedom

I was appalled but not surprised to see the number of letters in favor of the constitutional amendment to ban the burning of the American flag. It never ceases to amaze me how easily people can ignore the logical consequences of this position.

Ask anyone in the world what comes to mind when they think of America and most would respond with one word, "freedom."

All of the freedoms that we possess ultimately depend on our political freedom, which unfortunately, is most emphatically expressed in the political dissent symbolized by the act of burning an American flag. I can understand how offensive this might be, but I simply cannot grasp how, after any period of reflection, one could consent to, let alone advocate, the giving up of a freedom which is so basic to the entire concept of our way of life.

DAVID PITRELLI
West Seneca

Court lays an egg with flag decision

The Supreme Court in its infinite wisdom declares burning the Stars and Stripes is not a crime but an expression of free speech. The flag that means freedom, peace and humanity; the flag that drapes the coffins of our dead; the flag that has been carried into battle from Gettysburg to the Battle of the Bulge; the flag that has protected you and your relatives in wartime. Think again, Supreme Court, you have laid one heck of a stinking egg.

LEE S. SIDEL
Buffalo

Politicians wrap themselves in flag

Again this country is heated up over a "non-issue" -- a constitutional amendment to prevent desecration of the flag. Do people really believe that when protesters burn a red, white and blue piece of cloth that they burn the ideals that it stands for? These ideals should be in our hearts and minds.

There should be a law to prevent hypocritical politicians from wrapping themselves in the flag. Case in point -- President Bush wants to protect the flag because it stands for freedom and democracy but he's "going to be a little careful there" when asked if he would support self-determination and majority rule in South Africa.

A. RAYNETTE ROBINSON
Buffalo

Flag is a symbol of all our freedoms

The American flag represents all our heroes who died so that our country can live -- it is the symbol of freedom, the symbol of all our hopes and aspirations for a better and kinder tomorrow.

If flag burning is allowed because it is an expression of an opinion, then painting a swastika on the sidewalk in front of a Jewish synagogue should be allowable as an opinion -- or painting racial epithets in front of a black person's house, or defiling the cross. Such actions are all abhorrent to the vast majority and should not have to be tolerated.

MARY E. MUCK
Akron

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