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June 20, 1990, page S8296: Our American flag is best protected by
preserving the freedom that is symbolized. I cannot support a
constitutional amendment that would limit that freedom.
Our Founding Fathers believed that fundamental to our democratic process was the unfettered expression of ideas. That is why the amendment that protects your right to express yourself freely is the first amendment, and politicians should never put that at risk.
Now if this constitutional amendment passes, we will have done something no Americans have ever done - amend the Bill of Rights to limit personal freedom.
I took an oath to support and to defend the Constitution of the United States. Each Senator has to decide in her own mind and in his own heart what he feels he must do, to fulfill the promise he made to preserve and to stand by the Constitution. Different Senators will arrive at different answers. For me, this amendment does not preserve the Constitution. To the contrary, it constricts, nattoes, limits - makes it less than it was before. To preserve means to keep intact, to avoid decay, but this amendment will leave freedom of expression less intact, less robust, more in a state of decay. To support an amendment which would, for the first time in 200 years, reduce the personal freedom that all Americans have been guaranteed by the Constitution would be, for me, inconsistent with my oath. I will never break my oath.
Even if you agree with the flag amendment, how can you know that the next amendment will be one you will like? You cannot. So let us not start. Once you begin chipping away, where does it stop? Do not risk long-term protection of personal freedom for a short-term political gain.