Essay On Burning The Flag

2389 Words 10 Pages
Ever since the first incident of flag burning occurred in the United States, it has been heavily debated whether or not one has the right to desecrate the country’s stars and stripes. Today, it is within the law to burn the flag as a form of expression. It has not always been that way. Once the Vietnam War started, many people protesting the war demonstrated their hatred for the country’s actions by burning the national flag. This led to the action becoming a federal offense, anyone committing such crimes subject to penalty (Whitman). This law changed, however, as late in the 1900 's, a man named Gregory Lee Johnson was convicted for burning the flag during a Republican Convention. Although he was initially convicted, the Supreme Court later …show more content…
In the American government is built off of providing freedom for all citizens. This freedom will reach its demise if a leader makes exceptions to the First Amendment solely due to his opposition of the speech or expression (ACLU). The way to preserve the flag 's special role in our society is not to condemn those who feel differently, but to convince them to think otherwise (Texas v. Johnson). In these peoples’ opinions, outlawing the act of desecrating the flag may not even do what it was meant to do. It has been learned through experience with prohibition of alcohol, that prohibiting may actually provoke instead of diminish the acts it wished to prevent (ACLU). This could be true in the effect that if people know they are not allowed to burn the flag, and they are really trying to get their point across that they are unsatisfied with the government, they may illegally burn the flag to further demonstrate their frustration with the system. The proposed amendment states that “the Congress and the States shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States” (Committee on the Judiciary). The term "desecration" within the amendment is rather unconstitutionally vague being that it has such subjective meaning such as profanity or …show more content…
Although many people believe an amendment should be passed, including a majority of the public, military veterans, and state governments, it cannot be passed for multiple significant reasons. It limits the freedom of expression, which is a vital part of the United States Constitution which puts emphasis behind freedom and the right to voice one’s opinion. It gives the legislative branch far too much power, which can be used very unwisely if it not checked on by the other branches. And finally, it takes away the power of the judicial branch, removing from them the ability to interpret certain laws. If an amendment were ratified, it would lessen the significance of the flag that is attempted to protect. Since the flag represents the United States and its freedoms, this amendment would harm one of the freedoms that the flag represents: free speech. However, not only would the significance of the flag be harmed through this amendment, but the role of the Constitution would be even further lessened. This amendment would trump the Bill of Rights, a vital part of the Constitution that provides citizens with specific freedoms. Unprecedented, it could turn out disastrous for the government and eventually cause individuals to lose their freedoms and liberties. In order to maintain the freedom of the people and to keep the

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