Central Texas College| Political Review One| Flag Desecration Amendment| Dr. Karen Waugh| Jamorion Stanford| 9/17/2012| Flag Desecration The American flag is one of the most recognizable symbols this country has today. As children, we learn in school to cross our heart with our right hand and recite the pledge of allegiance to the United States of America, while facing the flag, a beloved symbol. As a soldier in the United States Army, I proudly wear a flag as a part of my Army Combat Uniform (ACU). It is worn by soldiers like me to show the love of country, honor and commitment to this great nation.
It is cherished by veterans who have fought for this country, and families of the fallen soldiers cherish it because it is a symbol that their loved one lost their life for this country. With all the great things the American flag stands for in this country, where does the right to desecrate it stand? Is it indeed a form for a person or persons to express their right of freedom of speech by the First Amendment, or an outright disrespect of a national treasure that should be protected at all costs? If so, what are those costs? Flag desecration doesn’t come as an easy choice.
One would think that this would be the case, but in reality the decision is just not a simple. The decision by Congress on whether to protect the flag from desecration is not that cut and dry. Many views must be taken into consideration when delving into this issue. On one side you have the supporters whose arguments include, that burning the flag dishonors American who fought and died for this country, the 49 states that have called for Congress to pass the Amendment, and the power taken form Congress to protect the flag by the Supreme Court in 1989, was wrong and needs correcting.
The opponents arguments suggest that passing such an Amendment would alter our nation’s history for the first time, that there is not enough to justify making such a change to a big part of the First Amendment, and that flag burning is rare. The next thing to do is consider all the different point of views. When an image of the flag being desecrated is shown, many of us whether you served in the military or not, can’t help but feel disrespected. This holds true for supporters of the Flag Desecration Amendments.
For Americans who fought and still fight for this country, an act of desecrating the flag is a slap in the face to the service they provide and the sacrifices they have made while serving. The flag is a national treasure not just a cloth with colors and stripes. It is symbol that stands for freedom and unites this country. Supports for the Flag Desecration Amendment strongly believe that such a national treasure should be upheld and backed by congress, so much so that 49 states have called to Congress asking that the Flag Desecration Amendment be passed.
The Flag Desecration Amendment reads; Congress shall have the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States. (How a Member Decides to Vote) The power to protect the flag is believed by supporters to have been wrongfully taken from Congress by the Supreme Court in 1989. Passing the Flag Desecration Amendment would reverse that action, and protect the sacred symbol. This amendment is about restoring a freedom to the people. The people’s freedom to protect their flag, a freedom they enjoyed and exercised for 100 years. Flag Burning Debate and Poll) Supporter’s reasons of the proposed Amendment are convincing, like those of Brooke Brown, a nine year old, who wrote about the flag being a national treasure and that it should be protected, support even from a child are convincing, but there are always two sides to a story. Opponents of the Flag Desecration Amendment, propose reasons that make sense in not passing such an amendment and in doing so would lead to an ultimate betrayal of the freedoms granted to us by the First Amendment.
In passing the Flag Desecration Amendment, it would mean that if a person wanted to express political freedom of speech by desecrating the flag they could not. A proposed Amendment would undermine the First Amendment. As Americans we are granted many freedoms and the freedom of speech is a major one, so if congress were to say that a person could not express themselves and to have it in writing then what else would change. Opponents also make a point that flag burning is rare.
They say that is doesn’t happen every year, but when it has that it was to express political speech as the Supreme Court held in 1989. Opponents also say that once freedoms such as this be taken away then what’s to say what else congress will regulate and subject to violations. Anna Ross, form the “How a Member Decides to Vote” module mentions, that while it might make us mad to see our flag being desecrated, it is not good enough reason to weaken one of the most important principals of democracy.
The module simulation was very informative; the how a member decides to vote module shows the steps that are taken by a person in congress on voting for such a change. The process is difficult, it takes a bit of personal beliefs and also being able to be objective and have the rights of the people in mind. One must be open-minded and not be subjected by a single side. The good of all should be considered when taking a vote on a matter such as the Flag Desecration Amendment.
Considering the thoughts and feeling of those for the amendment such as what it means to Americans who serve for the symbol of the flag, the 49 states that have called for a change, and for those that think a decision needs to be corrected, while not forgetting that with a passage comes a history altering change, considering that a desecration action is not a common everyday occurrence, and that there is not enough to justify undermining the freedoms given to Americans through the First Amendment.
No one likes to see the symbol of our nation, the one that unites us being hurt; it is not just a piece of fabric with colors on it, but a symbol that stands for freedom. The module shows how difficult a task this can be to undertake and personal beliefs and public interest can conflict, so it goes without saying, can we protect our symbol while upholding the First Amendment? I learned that initially I was for the Flag Desecration Amendment, it must be protected, but as I considered all the views presented surprisingly, I found that I voted NAY.
I thought, although I proudly wear a flag on my ACUs, the flag was not the freedom itself but a symbol. The first amendment grants freedoms and to vote for the Flag Desecration Amendment, would take a specific freedom away. Although I fight for this country, this country is not the flag itself, it is a symbol, but what it stands for is the many freedoms granted in which I believe are the bigger picture.
The combination of these points as a whole need to be considered by congressmen and women when casting a vote on this difficult subject, one must take into account all points and try not let his or her own views be the only means on which to vote. Works Cited Flag Burning Debate, Political Debates and Polls Forum, September 17, 2012, http://www. youdebate. com/DEBATES/FLAG_BURNING. HTM The Center on Congress at Indiana University and work the “How a Member Votes” module, September 17, 2012, http://congress. indiana. edu/interactive-learning-modules, Central Texas College Blackboard
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