When it comes to the act burning a flag, there are opposing views on the issue. While some consider it to be a crime, others think that it is unconstitutional to prohibit it as it questions the very essence of democracy.
Arguments That Support Flag Burning to be a Crime
Respect for the Flag
People who want to prohibit flag burning site the reason that this act is highly disrespectful. The flag is not just a piece of cloth. It is a symbol of everything that is good and just about the country. It is the epitome of freedom and independence. It is what the Founding Fathers fought and died for. The national flag deserves the respect and honor of every citizen. If we protect the rights of every American, why cannot we give Old Glory, the same treatment? By making flag burning a crime, the Stars and Stripes will get the respect that it truly deserves. Its proponents lament how the flag is being used for trivial purposes. There is actually a Federal law stating that the American flag should not be used in commercial or trivial matters. Needless to say, this rule has been violated openly.
Respect for Oneself and the Country
Giving legal protection for the flag will instill in the citizens, a sense of pride for their country. Instead of looking at the flag as just another symbol, it will be seen in a different light. By giving it protection under the law, people will learn to respect it and the country, a little more. It is argued that by making flag burning a crime, it will encourage citizens to show more patriotism.
Arguments That Support Flag Burning is Not a Crime
Against the Constitution
People who do not think of flag burning to be a crime say that it violates the very spirit of the Constitution. After all, the Constitution says that everyone has the right to freedom of speech and expression.
This freedom includes the right to burn any piece of clothing, including the flag. Imposing a law prohibiting it would go against the meaning of the flag itself. Does not the Old Glory stand for freedom from tyranny and oppression? The fact that you can set it aflame proves this point.
The Essence of Democracy
Some people opine that by making flag burning a crime, the spirit of democracy is killed. The very essence of democracy is to agree to disagree. They also strongly believe that even if an individual feels that this is an act of violation, no one has the right to curb another person’s freedom of expression. This is because in a free society, we respect each others views and learn to accept that they could very well be radically different. People in favor of allowing this act sat that being the bastion of freedom, such a law must not be passed in America.
What the Future Holds
Although there have been numerous attempts in the House, there is still no law against setting the flag aflame. The debates still continue. Among those supporting it, the law is needed to put an end to the sheer disrespect towards the flag of the nation. Desecrating the flag is like desecrating the country itself.
Those against the passing of this law, continue to stand firm in their belief that it is part of their rights. The matter of making flag burning a crime will not go away. It will continue to be discussed both in the halls of Congress and in the streets. Until a law is passed however, setting Old Glory aflame is still not punishable by law.