Marco Cáceres di Iorio

The Patriotism Bill

On Tuesday, the National Congress of Honduras approved legislation stating the following:

“It is the obligation of all Honduran citizens to acknowledge the National Anthem of Honduras by placing the right hand, extended over the chest, with the palm over the heart, whenever they hear the sound of its sacred notes being played, be it at public or private ceremonies or during any other acts that merits it, with the exception of the Armed Forces and National Police, who are guided by their own appropriate norms.”

“Disobedience to that stipulated in the previous paragraph will be considered as a grave lack of respect, a moral sanction, and as a clear affront against the values of the country, as well as a disrespect of patriotic symbols such as the Flag, the Coat of Arms, and the National Anthem of Honduras.”

The bill was reported out of the Committee on Defense and Sovereignty headed by Nationalist Congressman David Chávez of the department of Francisco Morazán. It was introduced into the full Congress by Nationalist Congressman Miguel Edgardo Martínez of the department of Comayagua. There was one round of debate in the legislative chamber before the measure’s final approval, and apparently all those who participated in the exchanges were pleased and satisfied with the final language.

Hmm, not so fast. I’d like a shot at amending the bill.

First, in place of “acknowledge the National Anthem,” I propose inserting “help defend the laws and integrity.” Second, immediately following “over the heart,” insert “and then proceed swiftly to report to the appropriate authorities.” Third, in place of “hear the sound of its sacred notes being played,” insert “observe an act of corruption or abuse or neglect of a person being committed.” Fourth, in place of “at public or private ceremonies or during any other acts,” insert “in public or private, or during any situation.”

Fifth, in place of “with the exception of,” insert “especially including.” Sixth, in place of “are guided by their own appropriate norms,” insert “will then proceed swiftly to do their duty.” Seventh, immediately following “as well as a disrespect, delete “of” and insert “for what really matters in Honduras, not just.”

The amended version of the bill would read:

“It is the obligation of all Honduran citizens to help defend the laws and integrity of Honduras by placing the right hand, extended over the chest, with the palm over the heart, and then proceed swiftly to report to the appropriate authorities whenever they observe an act of corruption or abuse or neglect of a person being committed, be it in public or private, or during any situation that merits it, especially including the Armed Forces and National Police, who will then proceed swiftly to do their duty.”

“Disobedience to that stipulated in the previous paragraph will be considered as a grave lack of respect, a moral sanction, and as a clear affront to the values of the country, as well as a disrespect for what really matters in Honduras, not just patriotic symbols such as the Flag, the Coat of Arms, and the National Anthem of Honduras.”

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