Monday, June 27, 2005

Hank Hill and Flag Burning

If you have not seen it yet read Matt Bai's piece about Hank Hill. (ht: Ann Althouse) A "How to talk to Red Staters" article, it looks at Mike Judge's show King of the Hill because a southern governor uses uses Hank Hill as a sounding board for how to talk to his consituency.

There is a kind of nuttiness about this. First, I am glad that Mike Easly (the governor) cares enough to frame his views so that they are accessable to the average joe. It is a little bit pathetic that his average joe is a cartoon character. Does Mr. Easly so out of touch that he doesn't know any regular joes? Is there no one in his circle of friends and aquaintances whom he could pitch to who could tell him if he is off base?

I know my politics lean towards the right. (ahem) Among my friends and family though (not even touching co-workers, church members, and book club correspondents) there is plenty of political divide. I find myself uneasy at the thought that a governor does not have diversity of thought and opinion among his circle of aquaintance. (No, I will not even touch on Washington's governor and the Locke legacy in Olympia.)

I am not in King of the Hill's basic demographic. I don't own a truck and I am not a guy, but Hank Hill's charm is his common sense, something you wish to see in all demographics. If Hank Hill is the average guy, let's apply the Easly test to the flag burning amendment.

Hank is a patriot, his father is a veteran, and one of his good friends is a marine (albeit a barber in the marines). I think we can safely say flag burning would not be condoned, but I don't think that Hank would say that there ought to be a law. Hank is a live at let live kind of a guy. He might be disgusted at the idocity of a flag burner, but would conclude there are better ways for police to be directing thier energy. I imagine he would have a few chioce words to say to the burners though.

Mark Steyn, not a cartoon character, also has some common sense things to say about flag burning. The boys over at The Corner are debating the arguments over flag burning also. Ramesh Ponnuru is less convinced by Steyn. Andrew Suttaford says it's a free speech issue. I think that it comes down to government intrusiveness. American flag burners would do well to experience life without the privileges of US citizenship and residency, before decrying the country as evil, but the flag after all is cloth and what burners hate and hoisters revere are the ideas embodied by the cloth and no governement should regulate what you should think.

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