.. the Libertarians. And where does the American public stand? Various polls indicate that 70%-80% are in favor of the proposed amendment (Citizen’s Flag Alliance). However, when informed as to the first Amendment implications of such an amendment, poll show that American opinions are more swayed and split their opinions at nearly 50% (Fullwood). The main argument for the Flag Desecration Amendment is that the American flag is not just another piece of cloth (Citizen’s Flag Alliance). The flag is proclaimed by supporters to be a venerated object worthy of legal protection. Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Tommy Lasorda is one of the foremost activists in favor of the proposed Flag Desecration Amendment.
Lasorda testified that the Senate can protect an honored symbol that ties every American together, while preserving out 1st Amendment rights, and most supporters of the proposal, disagree with the liberal decision of the Supreme Court that protect flag burning as free speech (Lacy). Supporters of the proposed Flag Desecration Amendment are also a widespread majority in the every facet of the U.S. Forty-nine of the fifty states legislatures have officially urged congress to pass the proposed amendment. About three of every four U.S. representatives support the measure, and so do about two of every three U.S. Senators. Supporters of the proposal are also four of every five U.S. citizens.
Because they form a widespread majority, the supporters believe that the people ‘s voice should be heard and the proposed amendment should be ratified (Citizen’s Flag Alliance). Flag burning has never been a significant tool for political change in America (SmoIIa 1990). At its best, it has been an act used by a few radicals to gain attention. At its worst it could be a major threat to the fabric of America. As every flag is burned, so is the memory of every American who died in its service.
Supporters of the proposed amendment, who are the majority, don’ think that it’s much to ask of citizens not to bum a flag. After all, aren’t there a thousand other ways to express ones views? Both sides of the debate feel very strongly about their cause. That is just what makes America a free country. Everyone has been allowed to express his or her opinion under the First Amendment. Americans have always expressed their opinions, whether it’s by word or by mouth, on television or in newspapers, on T-shirts or bumper stickers, or even by burning the flag. My Conclusion What do countries like China, North Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, and Cuba all have in common? If one answered that all these countries are flagrant violators of human rights, that would be correct.
If one answered that all these countries have been models of oppressive and totalitarian governments, that too, would be correct. What is lesser known is that all these countries also have laws against flag burning (Cozic). If American politicians have their way, add the United States of America to that list Politicians don’t care that the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of flag burning, although it is nonverbal. The Supreme Court has clearly ruled that flag desecration is a form of communicative speech. Free speech has never ended with the spoken word.
Free speech is very clearly protected by the First Amendment (Rehnquist). The fact that the constitutionality issue had already been decided seemed to anger the power-hungry Washington bureaucrats. Shortly after the Supreme Court made it’s first ruling in favor of flag burning, Congress passed the Flag Protection Act into law. Much the same, the Flag Protection Act was almost immediately deemed unconstitutional. But even that hasn’t stopped Congress almost a decade later.
The Flag Desecration Amendment has been quietly creeping its way through the U.S. legislature unbeknownst to the majority of the American public. The amendment has been led by the right-wing conservative, Orrin Hatch of Utah (Fullwood). Hatch and other politicians are intent on stripping Americans of any rights they still have left. These politicians seem hell-bent on scrapping the values that have built the United States of America. They are intent of pulling a big, fat, asterisk next to the First Amendment (Cozic).
The clockwork of the Constitution should not be toyed with for such an insignificant cause. Americans should remember that governments do not have to take freedom away from citizens all at once. Nazi Germany started very slowly taking away people’s freedom in the thirties. Less than a decade later, political opposition was quashed with legislation, intimidation, and violence. The ultimate results and the speed at which rights are stripped may not be the same in America, but the trends may end up being very similar. American lawmakers sometimes are very ignorant and have a bad habit of imposing laws against actions that they personally dislike without considering the underlying implication.
Flag burning is undoubtedly a contemptuous act against the country. The majority of Americans is at least mildly patriotic and would probably be sickened to witness Old Glory so horribly violated. Because this is the case lawmakers feel it is their moral duty to intervene and criminalize the act. The logic behind the proposed Flag Desecration Amendment is childish at best. Very simply, politicians have decided that they don’t like a specific action, flag desecration, so it should be illegal.
Modern flag burnings are relatively rare in America (Cozic). The revolutionary energy that fueled the flag burning children of the Sixties has nearly disappeared. Modern flag burners are a dying breed. They are no longer associated with the politically acceptable message of peace that swept the nation during the Vietnam conflict. Many flag burners of the 1990’s represent radical political movements, revolutionary factions, or organizations that lie miles to the left or right of conventional bipartisan politics.
The simple fact is that many of these flag burners make no secret of the fact that they are anti-American. Americans can label them however they like, but should not overlook the truth. The truth is that flag burners are minority in America. Minorities are very easy to persecute. Persecution would be the immediate result of the proposed Flag Desecration Amendment. It is necessary to persecute flag burners because they possess unpopular ideas and notions? No matter how revolutionary, anti-American, or unpopular the message behind flag burning is that; Americans should accept, or at least tolerate the expression of minorities.
In the past, America has restricted the right of almost every group of minorities. Today, the minorities have different faces, but the underlying issues are the same. America is a country which prides itself on instilling equal respect for everyone, minorities included. There is not a need for a modernized form of legalized persecution called the Flag Desecration Amendment. Also, overlooked is the obvious reality that flag desecration is entirely a victimless crime. A piece of private property is burned. So what? Is it really necessary to lock these people away? Are they a threat to anyone’s safety? Does America require another burden on the prison system? Of course not! The proposed Flag Desecration Amendment is just a tool used to seek a patriot’s revenge against heretic.
There is absolutely no justifiable need. There are certain freedoms that a free society does not need to impose upon. Countries with as much love for liberty as America should wake up and place its ideals above a mere idol of a flag. Liberty, justice, and the true meaning of the First Amendment will all be lost if politicians have their way. The only things to be gained with the proposed Flag Desecration Amendment are levels of fear and fascism imposed by American lawmakers. Yes, that’s right.
Fascism. By definition, a fascist law is one that pushes patriotism to an extreme or violent extent. The proposed Flag Desecration Amendment doesn’t necessarily push patriotism to a violent extent, but is does force patriotism to an extreme. The Proposed Flag Desecration Amendment would use government as a tool to turn the American flag, a perennial symbol of patriotism, into an untouchable holy object. This is fascism. Ultimately a flag is a simple piece of cloth with many colors and designs imprinted on it; many Americans have clearly invested this fabric with highly emotionally charged values. Although, flag burning is hardly likely to threaten the flag’s symbolic value, forbidding flag burning will surely diminish the flag’s principles.