February 13, 2002
There is a great travesty going on in America right now. Everyday, people are fighting to stop one of America's greatest freedoms, the freedom of speech. Even this way of exercising America's greatest amendment, freedom of speech, is not liked by all people it is still protected under our nation's law. The act of publicly burning an American flag is something that is deemed disgraceful by many Americans, but it should not be outlawed.
Many people are offended by the act of publicly burning an American flag and feel it should be outlawed based on the fact that it is offensive to the citizens of this country. Although this may be true, people still have the right to protest. This was upheld in a Supreme Court case Texas v. Johnson, where the defendant Mr. Johnson was arrested for publicly burning a flag outside the Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas. After being arrested Mr. Johnson was convicted of setting fire to a flag during a protest and chanting with other protesters; "America, the red, white, and blue, we spit on you"(Texas v. Johnson). He appealed his claim to the Texas Supreme Court of Appeals where they overturned the conviction based on the fact that he was exercising his first amendment right. One of the Supreme Court justices went on to say, "If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not
prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable"(Texas v. Johnson). The above Supreme Court decision allows protesters to burn flags as a type of symbolic political speech.
The flag is a symbol of the United States, and what happens to the flag does not directly affect the United States, therefore it should not be outlawed. The supporters who want to outlaw the act of publicly burning a flag feel that it is demeaning to the United States. Although...
Cited: Texas v. Johnson, online internet, Tx. Supreme Crt. 1989
Congressional Recording, online internet, July 2000
United States v. Eichman, online internet, United States Supreme Crt. 1990 http://www.multied.com/Documents/Eichman.html
Stenhammar, Marvin. "Voices of Veterans." http://www.idir.net/~high/flag/vetvoices.html
Apel, Warren. "The Flag Burning Page."
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