Essay: A Few Symbol-Minded Questions

Lawmakers looking for a way to protect the flag have a lot of searching to do if they hope to cover all possibilities. An amendment or statute simply outlawing desecration of the U.S. flag is not going to do the job. Potential loopholes and tricky questions abound. For instance:

If there is only one official U.S. flag, would it be permissible to burn an unofficial one -- say, an obsolete model with 48 stars? Since a flag is, by usual definition, made of fabric, should a wooden representation of it be protected? What about little lapel pins or cuff links with...

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