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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 )
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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.
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(no subject) - darkphoenixrisn - Jun. 28th, 2006 02:35 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - darkphoenixrisn - Jun. 28th, 2006 02:50 am (UTC) - Expand
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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?
(no subject) - asifallforever - Jun. 28th, 2006 04:08 am (UTC) - Expand
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.
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