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Burning the American Flag

Burning the American Flag
I believe in freedom of expression.
but I do believe it should be illegal to burn the American Flag.

An Amendment forbidding the desecration of the
American Flag was rejected today by the Senate.

Whenever I see a foreigner burning our flag,
it makes me VERY ANGRY. Whenever I see an
American citizen burning our flag, it ENRAGES me.

Do you believe it should be legal or
illegal to burn the American Flag. Why?



( 43 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 28th, 2006 02:20 am (UTC)
It should be legal because it's a legitimate form of expression. It may make some people angry, but that doesn't make it illegitimate as a form of speech.
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 28th, 2006 02:35 am (UTC)
So those who do it lose their jobs, their friends, tenure, academic standing, etc. Basically become pariahs.

*rolls eyes*

(Deleted comment)
Jun. 28th, 2006 02:50 am (UTC)
It's freedom of speech, not freedom from reaction.

And are you calling for the news and blogs to expose everyone who engages in free speech that might offend someone somewhere? Or just flag burners?
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 28th, 2006 02:29 am (UTC)
Of course it should be legal. If someone owns something, and wishes to destroy it, it should be their prerogative to do so for whatever reason they wish, as long as they don't harm anyone else's person or property while doing so.

It's a property rights issue far more than a free expression issue.
Jun. 28th, 2006 02:38 am (UTC)
The whole point of burning the flag is to make people angry. Which is why it shouldn't be illegal. We have enough goddamn laws without prohibiting someone from doing something else to one of their possessions.
Jun. 28th, 2006 03:42 am (UTC)
Burning is a legitimate way, if not the only legitimate way to dispose of a flag no longer fit to serve as a symbol of the United States. The intended symbolism in the mind of many people who support flag burning is that it is a reflection that the actions of America's political leaders are so terrible that they violate the spirit of what it means to be an American and violates the symbolism of all of Americas symbols. For Americans who support flag burning as freedom of expression, this seems to be a lost or an unexpressed nuance.

I'd cry if things got to the point where I felt the only way I had left to show my displeasure with governance would be destroying the flag. It would be such a painful experience, it's not something to be taken lightly. With that said, for some reason it's strange to me that novelty items bearing the image of the flag can be allowed to be mistreated so easily. You cant burn the flag, but you can wear a fascimily of its design as boxers or a throw away decal or a condom or any other number of such products.

In Kent State prior to the shootings, one student group held a funeral for the constitution before burying a copy of it in a coffin. I think that such methods are better method of showing ones displeasure with the government, but I can see how a lot of people would find them ineffectual or tacky.
Jun. 28th, 2006 03:48 am (UTC)
I'm tired of this argument. Just because people can do something doesn't mean they should. Burning or desicrating the flag should be illegal. Yes it is just a piece of cloth that degrades over time. But it symbolizes something so much more than just a destructable item.
Jun. 28th, 2006 04:06 am (UTC)
Why don't they just burn one of their own bedspreads? Why the flag?
Jun. 28th, 2006 04:08 am (UTC)
the person who's post came in before mine made a good point there are better ways to Protest than by burning the flag. I have no problem with someone hanging it upside down. That is an indication of an american in distress.
Jun. 28th, 2006 03:51 am (UTC)
These posts seem to cause a lot of unnecessary drama.
Jun. 28th, 2006 03:56 am (UTC)
You drama bitch! :)
Jun. 28th, 2006 03:53 am (UTC)
Doesn't it sound difficult to enforce an anti-flagburning law... against foreigners burning the American flag in a country where that law doesn't apply?

I love my country, but a flag is just a piece of cloth. Seeing someone burning an American does not dishonor my love for my flag nor does it dishonor my flag. It shames the burner.
Jun. 28th, 2006 04:00 am (UTC)
I think burning a flag is a dispicable and imbecilic form of protest. I think most of the people who do it cannot possibly appreciate the blood and tears shed over defending what that flag stands for. No matter how angry or disgusted a person is with the government or who's running it at the time, there is no excuse for that kind of protest.

Chief Juctice Rehnquist had this to say in his dissent in Texas v. Jones: "The flag is not simply another 'idea' or 'point of view' competing for recognition in the marketplace of ideas. Millions and millions of Americans regard it with an almost mystical reverence regardless of what sort of social, political, or philosophical befliefs they may have."

And Justice Stevens (whom I feel compelled to point out was Rehnquist's opposite in nearly every case) had this to say in his own dissent: "The Court is therefore quite wrong in blandly asserting that respondent 'was prosecuted for his expression of dissatisfaction with the policies of this country, expression situated at the core of our First Amendment values.' Respondent was prosecuted because of the method he chose to express his dissatisfaction with those policies. Had he chosen to spray paint--or perhaps convey with a motion picture projector--his dissatisfaction on the facade of the Lincoln Memorial, there would be no question about the power of the Gov't to prohibit his means of expression. The prohibition would be supported by the legitimate interest in preserving the quality of an important national asset. Though the asset at stake in this case is intangible, given its unique value, the same interest supports a prohibition on the desecration of the American flag."

Having said all that, I don't know that it necessarily should be ILLEGAL. I do think it should be discouraged and treated with the utmost contempt, for as I said, I think most of the people who engage in such protest are spoiled children with no appreciation of history or honor.
Jun. 28th, 2006 04:28 am (UTC)
While I would never burn our flag, I don't believe that it should be illegal to.

It is a form of expression, and all expression should be allowed - whether or not it offends someone else.

Burning of the flag is not burning of the feelings for our flag. The flag is just a symbol and truly can never be destroyed.

I'm glad it enrages you - because it shows that you truly care for something. And as long as the act of burning our flag enrages just one person, our flag and what it stands for will always be here.
Jun. 28th, 2006 04:42 am (UTC)
It should be legal. I'm not a big fan of limiting the first amendment and I think it sets a bad precident to limit freedom of speech and expression just because we find that speech offenseive.... this goes to the very heart of what the first amendment was meant to protect. Besides.. it makes it easier to know who the bozos are. When I see someone on TV burning a flag, I know that's a group without serious arguments, and know at that point not to bother paying attention to what they have to say.
Jun. 28th, 2006 04:45 am (UTC)
Thank you for opening my eyes.
Jun. 28th, 2006 05:10 am (UTC)
As a patriot, and something of a believer in ultimate liberty and freedom from government, I feel it is every american's right to burn any flag they should choose to. Like swearing, it is, at times, a piss poor way of arguing your case, but, as with swearing, if nothing else comes to mind, then by all means, express yourself, your rage with your country, your rage against your government.

But don't expect it to be something people just allow you to do. Every action has consequences.

I've defended my liberties... I only hope that anyone burning a flag also has done so, or else they really don't understand what they're doing. Oh, sure, a scholar can read a few books, maybe lose some money to taxes, and say they're oppressed, but how many poor americans, the impoverished, homeless, and such, actually go out burning flags?

None. It's typically silver-spoon rich kids crying out for attention in a way that is entirely unoriginal and usually not very well thought out. Kids who will never see war. Kids who will only ever face jailtime and 15 minutes of a martyr's fame for their pettiness and inability to fully express their rage in a way that produces results.

You don't like what the government does? Refuse to pay taxes. Why should you pay taxes to a government that does not represent you or your interests? Our country was founded on not only that very basic principal, but others, as well, such as the freedom of expression, the freedom to bear arms, freedom of press, etcetera.

You don't like what the congress or the white house do? Go to a press conference, or pay someone who's allowed in to ask questions of the president, or senators, or congressmen, that he or they won't answer. Show the cowardice, the deceit, and the betrayal of the country on a national stage.

Ask them why minimum wage, for the ninth year, was not voted to be raised, when I guarantee you 9 out of 10 people you talk to would want it to be raised. Ask them why they gave themselves another raise, when I guarantee you 9 of 10 people would not want them to have one.

This is not representation of you, or I. It is the representation of greed and corrupt government.

But don't burn the symbol of what allows you to do just those things, else you burn your very cause to the ground.
Jun. 28th, 2006 06:53 am (UTC)
The flag's a symbol. Granted, it's a powerful symbol, but it's a symbol nonetheless.

Where does the line get drawn? Do we then pass a constitutional amendment banning the burning of Bibles or the Koran just because it'll get people's shorts in a twist?

The fact that the GOP, the supposed "freedom party", feels the need to pass all these constitutional amendments banning this and banning that shows them up for the ugly controlling hypocrites so many of them are. The last I heard, it's called the Bill of Rights.

As for the argument that our soldiers died for our flag, I disagree. They died- or at least should have died- in the defense of our freedom to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Again, we get the Right corrupting this because they fail to make this distinction. Freedom- true freedom- doesn't mean walking in lockstep with your neighbor but we have too many people in this country willing to deny others their freedoms just because they disagree with them or in their eyes view something as immoral or wrong.

In my view, that's what the whole flag burning things comes down to- is someone truly for freedom and liberty or do they only pay lip service to it?
Jun. 28th, 2006 07:17 am (UTC)
you know Savana I think that we as americans should have a right to burn our flag
but I do not think that any one that is not american should have that
right, but I do not think that it is in good taste to do so!

so is this the wrong time to flirt with my favorite gal
hugs and kisses any way ;)
Jun. 28th, 2006 08:03 am (UTC)
A very complex issue.
I have to speak of this as an outsider, not being an American, yet I understand the principles. In Australia there is a very strong republican lobby trying to remove Queen Elizabeth from being Sovereign of Australia, and part of their arguments involve changing the Australian flag so that the Union Jack isn’t on it. I am against changing the Australian flag because of the same argument I would have over the burning of any flag. I am proud to be an Australian, and proud of my flag and what it represents.

Fundamentally, the flag represents the ideals, history, freedoms and future of a country. It is an emblem encapsulating all of these factors. Yet at its heart it is only a symbol, a part of those things it represents. So the Democratic rights of a country, be it the United States of America or the Commonwealth of Australia are represented in the banner. Yet those rights call for certain freedoms to be protected and that includes the right to disagree with the policies of the elected governments of those nations. It can be argued that the burning of the flag of the country is a valid statement of that disagreement with government policies, and while I would support that freedom, I would actually argue against that course of action for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the banner is a symbol of something that is higher than the policies of any given group of politicians, any foreign policy. It is a symbol of the spirit of a nation. The banner is not in itself sacred; it is made sacred by the ideals and constitution it represents. These things are greater than governments and so I would argue that the burning of the flag in protest is a wrong course of action. It is much the same as one shows respect for the Office of the President of the USA, even if you disagree with the incumbent. One is greater than the other, and raises the other to its level. It’s the same for the act of saluting in the military. The salute is for the uniform, the commission of the officer, not for the person himself. The one is greater than the other.

Therefore the banner is made great by the ideals behind it, and one of those ideals is the freedom of political expression. These ideals are greater than the cloth that represents them. The cloth is expendable, the ideals aren’t.

Secondly, though a citizen may have the right to burn the flag, I don’t believe that it should be acted on, simply because as I said, the flag doesn’t represent the policies of the government, it represents the ideals and constitution of the country. The two commodities, policy and constitution, are not interchangeable, and so I feel the burning of the symbol of the one as a protest against the other isn’t appropriate. You have the right to do it and that right shouldn’t be legislated against, but having the right isn’t approval for the act.
Jun. 28th, 2006 10:26 am (UTC)
You don't salute the flag with a zippo. Terrorists do.
people seem to regard it only as a piece of colored cloth. They divorce it from all the meaning, all the love and life that went into making it and letting it be the symbol of our country. The freedoms we have partly come from that flag. They say burning it is an expression. I say it's a crime aimed at abusing your freedom. Never confuse freedom with rampant and destructive behavior. The "true freedom" they wish to display would mean nothing is a crime... nothing is forbidden and all be permissible.

The american flag should be protected. It's a punishable crime to destroy our currency. You AREN'T free to yell "fire!" in a crowded theatre. Most other countries have laws against desicrating their flags. For those who cry of incremental erosion well, it goes both ways. For all who sacrificed just to earn you the right to bear the flag... it's not too much to ask.
Jun. 28th, 2006 11:05 am (UTC)
Everytime I have seen an American who has burned the flag, it's been some radical who only does it to get some attention to their cause, and that attention is usually the negative kind. I don't support the burning amendment, though, because so few people actually ever burn the flag, and I feel like that the sybolism of the flag will endure despite any physical destruction that someone wrecks on a particular flag.
Jun. 28th, 2006 11:36 am (UTC)
The reason the flag gets burned is because it's a play for attention. Yes, it should be allowed. I think we turn the corner on democracy the instant we start illegalizing things like burning the flag.

I also think that the wind gets knocked out of the sails of idiot protesters who burn the flag the less attention we pay them. If it didn't actually bother us, it wouldn't be a psychologically effective form of protest, now would it?

Yes, keep it legal. And stop paying attention to those who would like to infuriate whomever by burning it.
Jun. 28th, 2006 12:27 pm (UTC)
I think it was said best in the movie The American President:
America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've got to want it bad, because it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil who is standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the 'land of the free'? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the 'land of the free.'"
Jun. 28th, 2006 12:38 pm (UTC)
i think it should be legal to burn the american flag because it goes back to freedom of speech.

and let's be honest, this country has committed some great atrocities and people should have the right to express their anger and disappointment.

slavery, women's rights, native americans, civil rights, throughout the 200 plus years, great atrocities have been committed to this group of people as well as other minorities and they should be able to express their anger and frustration at a government that has oppressed them time and time again.

if people are outraged by the war or the dictator whose in office, they should have the right to express it by burning the flag.

not everyone feels the way that i feel and if they believe that the american flag is a sacred item, then that's their perogative. they certainly shouldn't burn the flag. but not everyone shares the same beliefs and everyone's rights should be protected.

to not be allowed to burn the american flag would impeded on freedom of speech which would once again illustrate the hypocrisy in this country.
Jun. 28th, 2006 05:01 pm (UTC)
You touch on a helluva good point.

A lot of people turn a blind eye toward the many downright evil things the US has done over its history. My stepfather was part Native American and he had a number of books on things like the Trail of Tears and Wounded Knee and as a kid I read them, learning about these shameful parts of our history. Yet at school we were taught essentially that Native Americans were savages and it was the righteous and benevolent United States that civilized them and turned them into Good Americans. Which is laughable when you read how the US hornswoggled them out of their lands and herded them onto isolated reservations far from their native lands.

And you don't have to look too far to see modern equivalents of these things. I am extremely uncomfortable by the self-righteousnous and blindness of many in our country, believing the US is always right and never has and never will do no wrong.
Jun. 28th, 2006 07:14 pm (UTC)
I am extremely uncomfortable by the self-righteousnous and blindness of many in our country, believing the US is always right and never has and never will do no wrong.

exactly. thank you!!!
Jun. 28th, 2006 03:02 pm (UTC)
My personal view is that Americans shouldn't burn it but I don't think it should be illegal. The flag is a symbol of freedom. An American burning the flag is hypocritical. Living in this country and taking advantage of all our freedoms and then burning our symbol of freedom doens't make sense. But by outlawing burning the flag, I can see how that limits freedom of expression and don't think it should be illegal.
Jun. 28th, 2006 03:05 pm (UTC)
sorry left this part out of the above.

The flag to me is more than a government.....it's people.
Jun. 28th, 2006 03:51 pm (UTC)
It should be legal to burn the flag as a form of protest, but then again, it should be legal to turn around and kick the ass of the person who burnt it for a protest...

My favorite photo of flag burning came from the middle east. It showed a series of pics where this moron started our flag on fire (using gas, I'm sure), but then it burned so quick, it ended up dropping down on this idiot, burning him.

Talk about a good revenge.
Jun. 28th, 2006 04:44 pm (UTC)
I am just curious how far this would go. Would anyone be free to assault another person who does something to enrage them- burn a flag, express an opinion, dress differently? Where's the line and what happens to the right of dissent if you have to fear for life and limb for exercising your freedom of expression?
Jun. 28th, 2006 04:57 pm (UTC)
Part of my statement was, more or less, a joke. I am a firm believer in freedom of expression.

I am also fed up with the whole political correctness that has enveloped this country. Everyone is too afraid to say what they want/need to because they are afraid of getting sued or otherwise in trouble. You can't call people black or crippled or dumb... it's "african american", disabled/challenged or mentally deficient.

To me, this is another reason why this country is in trouble. We're so afraid of what everyone else will say or do, so we end up doing nothing or overthinking it and then worrying about everything else and then do ineffectual responses.

Just my opinion.
Jun. 28th, 2006 05:07 pm (UTC)
I agree about the political correctness movement. Freedom of expression cuts both ways and many on the Left are guilty of intolerance as well.

Jun. 28th, 2006 05:43 pm (UTC)

I despise flag burners. They're usually obnoxious vermin to begin with, and when they burn the flag they're even worse. But if it's illegal to "desecrate" the flag, then we could very well see the end of Stars and Stripes paper plates and napkins, lapel pins, and so on. Leaving one's flags out in a drizzle is desecration, as well. If a flag touches the ground... well, you get the point, I think.

Plus, if it's illegal to burn the flag, it's also illegal for me to extinguish them, accidentally dousing the arsonist prick in the process.
Jun. 28th, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC)
This is a tough call. I truly believe in freedom of expression and I do not like to see our flag damaged or disrespected in any manner. But if I have to make a decision concerning either, I will stay with the freedom of expression and HOPE people will respect our flag and what it symbolizes.

I feel our freedom of expression is key to all of our freedoms and any compromising of that freedom will allow the door to open on losing more freedoms. So I think the freedom of expression is more important to our country than any individual flag is.
Jun. 28th, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC)
I remember as a child that the flag was considered quite a sacred thing. We saluted the flag. We carried it in parades. We displayed it in assemblies. We took good care of it.

Now, as I am much older. We still display the flag on the front of our house.

I also see cars driving around with small flags attached to windows and bumpers. Some of them are like new and some are dirty and even torn.

What is the flag? To me, it is a symbol of our country. I display it to show my love for my country. I display it because I am an American and I like to see our flag displayed.

I am not always proud of my country. I think we make mistakes. I think we throw our (perceived) weight around. I think we have leaders representing us of whom I am appalled, ashamed.

I still love my country. I am patriotic. I will criticize things about our country and it's leaders that I think are wrong. And, of course, I support our troops. How can anyone Americna do anything but care about these men and women who fight for us. I feel the same about most policemen and firemen and certain other officials.

And that brings me to our flag. I love it and display it because I am part of the country it represents.

But I am not bothered if a few wish to burn our flag as a way of showing their distaste or worst about our actions or ways. That doesn't take away from what our flag means to me. I find the meaning of the flag, the symbol of our country, is a personal thing with me.
Jul. 1st, 2006 03:42 am (UTC)
Fantastic! very well put
Jun. 30th, 2006 12:59 am (UTC)
its a freaking symbol, but burning it doesn't mean jack squat.

so what if someone burns the flag? does this country suffer for it? No...our country suffers from our civil rights being eroded by a group of people who can't seem to get anything done but put up b.s bills because they are too busy making money and helping out their friends, destroying the environment, getting rid of our civil liberties, etc.

if it was made illegal, i'd put on my coast guard uniform, go to D.C and burn it on the white house lawn to make a point.

freedom of speech is worth dying for.
Jul. 1st, 2006 03:33 am (UTC)
Newtons third law says, With every action there is an equal and oppisite reaction.


You burna my flag I breaka you face...

but seriously, This is how I wanna feel but a teacher of mine in High School made a statement to a studenmt that was arguing about the ileagle war in Vietnam and how the administration was corrupt. By the way it was LBJ in the Whitehouse at the time. My teacher who was a retired CHief Petty Officer smiled at the student and said,

"I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

That has stuck with me ever since and he was right he like my father fought in WWII and Korea to guarantee those rights my brother and I fought in Vietnam to do the same. For over 200 years other common people who did uncommon deeds to ensure the right of all people in our country, and others around this world to make a statement.

For over 200 years the English, French, Spanish, the Barbary Pirates, the Germans, Italians, Japanese, and other various Arabic countries have tried to destroy what that flag represents. Freedom! ...and to the Republic for which it stands.

Does it piss me off to see some crud desicrate our flag? Yes it does, but it is their right to make total fools of themselves.

( 43 comments — Leave a comment )

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