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Burning the Flag: Constitutional or Unconstitutional?


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Recently, Donald Trump posted on Twitter his support for Republican Montana Senator, Sen. Steve Daines. What Daines suggested is to overturn the section in the 1st Amendment that protects flag burning. According to President Trump, this is a "no brainer." Other conservatives have agreed with the President, including Candace Owens. Many other conservative (e.g. Matt Walsh, Ben Shapiro), including myself, are against this idea. While I support the President on numerous topics (i.e. illegal immigration, abortion, free speech on college campuses, etc.), I find myself disagreeing on this particular topic. For this discussion, I will discuss why burning the American flag IS constitutional, and where I stand on this issue.

Why many conservatives, and possibly liberals, have a problem with this is simple: it goes against our 1st Amendment rights. Under the 1st Amendment, symbolic speech is promised, which includes flag burning. To give a brief history lesson, Texas v. Johnson (1989) is the landmark decision that allowed flag burning under the first amendment. Gregory Lee Johnson burned an American flag in protest to Ronald Reagan’s policies, which got him arrested by the Texan government. In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court decided that Gregory Lee Johnson was correct: flag burning could be used as symbolic speech. That’s how this whole ordeal began. Jumping back to the present, however, this seems to be an issue of immense importance.

Nobody wants to be told how they can express themselves, symbolically or verbally. Moreover, the flag represents freedom, and especially free speech. Taking away that right, or threatening to seize assets, jail time, etc., is not the America I know and love. That is tyranny. Don’t believe me? Remember Otto Warmbier? The student who stole a steal a propaganda poster to bring back to the U.S. That’s a perfect example of somewhere that does not allow free speech, symbolically or verbally. Many other countries commit such actions, but the United States of America IS NOT ONE OF THESE COUNTRIES. This is the land of free speech, opportunity, and equality. Taking this sliver of free speech away makes us no better than these countries that have “barriers” on free speech. I should mention, only because I believe in the truth, that some people on Twitter had been sharing this tweet from President Trump in 2011 that he supported flag burning. THIS IS A LIE. Snopes shared that this tweet was fake, and that is why it didn’t get such a high friction.

I will defend President Trump in this way: I think I understand why he has such a problem with flag burning. Where it has lead is disrespect to this country and those who have died defending it, or for those who are still defending our freedoms. Other countries have seen what America is doing, and with the little respect they have for America, they thought "if their own citizens are doing it, we can too!" You can see hundreds of pictures and videos of third world countries and developed countries that burn American flags and wish the death upon it's citizens, unlike those snowflakes who do it here. I find it ironic how other countries burn our flag and wish death upon it's citizens, yet the Left is so quick to defend them, as well as flag burning as a whole. Trump, however, is seeing this issue as Americans need to stop disrespecting our country and one of its national symbols. We are the most free and one of the most prosperous nations, and America needs to stop taking what we have for granted. Just saying.

Image result for flag burning under the first amendment quotes jordan petersonHere is my opinion on flag burning: I don’t believe in it. If you can burn the American flag, you don’t belong here. Flag burning (in the U.S.) today is to somehow represent oppression, which doesn’t happen (unless you listen to the Left). Burning the American flag is an act of cowardice, disrespect, and ungratefulness. Flag burning is spitting on the graves of our servicemen and servicewomen, who paid the ultimate price to keep us free. Like I said earlier, if it wasn’t for America being a free nation, these people who LOVE flag burning would NOT be able to complete these actions without serious repercussions. It’s only in the United States you WOULDN’T get harsh treatment for doing so. What I do support, however, is free speech. In America, you are free to express yourself, no matter how ridiculous it seems. So, to come down to what I mentioned in the beginning, flag burning IS constitutional. And while I do not support flag burning, you should have the freedom to express yourself. Everyone is guaranteed that under the 1st Amendment. Without the 1st Amendment, you wouldn’t be able to do so. You can’t have one without the other.

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P.S. Who watched President Trump’s rally in Orlando? I listened when I was driving back from my Business Law test at UF. So many truths and facts about the country and what the Left is trying to do. WHAT AN AMAZING SPEECH!! Not to mention, Trump raised more money for his campaign than ALL the Democrats running combined ($24.8 million)! Yet, fake news like CNN and MSNBC say Trump is losing. Biden can barely 200 people in a room, yet Donald Trump managed to fit 100,000+ people in a place that only holds 20,000! Let’s Keep America Great!!!

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