The flag! We’ve got to act quick if we’re going to save it. Please, please, read this. A constitutional amendment? Does anybody realize how long it takes to get an amendment through? Our forefathers, those guys in the powdered wigs and funny hats, what did they know about urgency? An amendment? First the House. Then the Senate. Then the states. It takes three quarters of just about everybody, maybe even the governors. I don’t know. I don’t care. It could take years, time enough to burn every flag in America. We can’t wait. Here, listen to me, I have the solution. I, a modest but patriotic citizen, a lover of all things red white and blue. And it’s such a simple solution. Tomorrow morning, Congress could put it into action. Tomorrow, not seven years from now, we can save the flag.

OK, here goes. I ask only that you remember you heard it here first. A man deserves a little credit for serving his country. A line or two in the history book. Give me that, and I give you this:

The flag, by my new federal law, must be made of flame-resistant materials. Wait, change that. Flameproof material. Asbestos. Let ’em try and burn that.

But wait. I know what you’re thinking. What about all those flags we see waving above us right now, in filling stations, over supermarkets, wrapped around politicians–what is to stop some commie symp from torching one of them?

Easy. My bill declares that any flag not made of flameproof material shall not be an official flag. Get it? If it burns it ain’t a flag!

Flag factories will have to work night and day to supply the new flameproof flags. This is good. This will greatly help the economy of Taiwan, if not mainland China. Industrious people, these Orientals, they will probably fill our needs by Labor Day. The old, no-longer-official flags need not go to waste, nor need they, even if they are no longer official flags, be treated with disrespect. They can be donated to political candidates and their parties, in particular the Republican Party, which can use them to decorate its next convention.

Although I confess that I sometimes vote Democrat, it seems to me that Republicans, more than anyone–excepting, of course, the Taiwanese flag makers–will benefit from this proposal. Among other things, it buys time. With the flag safe for the moment, a new amendment can be delayed until the next presidential election and made into a campaign issue–indeed the major issue. And if by 1992 enemies of democracy have found ways to torch even a solid asbestos flag, so much the better. It can be blamed on the liberals, if not the Democrats themselves. There will be no need for candidates to mention the national debt, the tragedy of the homeless, the needs of education, the struggle for racial justice, or the problem of ethics in the executive branch of the government. Moreover, the new amendment, with the added time to adequately prepare it, can cover more than the mere burning of the flag. What about the Bible? Isn’t it possible that depraved persons, frustrated by asbestos flags, might take to burning the Bible? Let us prohibit this too before it even starts. What about penalties? Prison? Beheading? Does anyone have a moral problem? What about…

Enough. Others are better qualified than I for this work. I merely donate an idea. Copies of this proposal are being sent to Senator Dudycz, Vice President Quayle, and Chairman Deng and his pals in China. I understand they’ve been having problems with students too.