After watching the “Inside North Korea” documentary on the National Geographic website this weekend I started to think about how many patriotic Americans would talk about how disgusting it is that North Korean citizens have to praise their leader. These same people would also likely express outrage about the torture that occurs in the prison camps there. They are justified of course in expressing these outrages.
My question is why do some of these American patriots want a constitutional amendment forbidding flag desecration? Something that separates the United States from totalitarian regimes such as North Korea is the fact that you do not have to embrace your leader in America or worship the United States. According to our Constitution at least we can even criticize our president and country. One of the most unpatriotic things one can do is to make America more similar to North Korea. Making a law against flag burning is, therefore, a de facto form of flag desecration, because it is banning a way of criticizing the United States.
Do we want to become even more similar to North Korea by allowing our government to torture?
It becomes harder for the United States to persuade other countries to respect human rights and tolerate dissent when we start carrying out more of the same policies that North Korea and other totalitarian regimes perform.