North Texas Daily

The argument for flag burning

The argument for flag burning

The argument for flag burning
January 24
00:14 2017

Morgan Sullivan | Copy Editor

Flag burning has been a controversial topic since the Supreme Court declared the act as a form of free speech, and is therefore protected due to Texas v. Johnson in 1989. This form of political speech is protected just like an anti-Obama Facebook post is.

However, the act of flag burning has been brought to the forefront recently by newly elected President Trump. During his campaign, Trump claimed he would make the act illegal. A 2013 Illinois flag desecration act made headlines when a man was arrested for burning the flag on July 4. The man was not charged, as the sheriff’s department cited Texas v. Johnson, and its protection of his free speech.

Flag burning is currently legal – if done as an act of political speech. For some, the act of flag burning is like spitting in the face of veterans. Although this opinion is valid, it’s not exactly the case.

Veterans fought for your right to free speech, just like they fought for your right to continue voting, for your government to continue as a democracy and your right to bear arms.

The flag is not our country. The flag is not representative of all of the millions of soldiers who have fought to protect our freedoms. The flag is a flag. It is not our country, it is not our laws or constitution and it is not our president.

The flag is a symbol. It is, at its very essence, a piece of material. Although it has intense meaning and sentiment for some, it holds nearly no emotional attachment for others.

Although you may not like it when people burn the flag, as an American, you have to accept people’s use of free speech. Flag burning should stay legal because it’s the most intense way of protesting a government. Flag burning is the act of saying “this government does not represent me as a citizen.”

For some, writing an angry Facebook post about the government’s failures isn’t enough. Flag burning sends a message, one that portrays much more emotion and frustration than the clacking of keys. It’s a symbol of protest unlike any other.

If American flag shorts isn’t considered treason, neither should burning the flag. At least one is political speech, the other is just a tacky fashion choice. In fact, the Supreme Court ruled in 1972 that a man could wear an American flag on the seat of his pants. Surely sitting on our stars and stripes is just as bad as burning the flag.

As a matter of free speech, we must stand with people who choose to burn the flag, not against them. We are lucky to live in a country where this kind of rebellion against the government is allowed. This country didn’t gain its independence from England by respectfully declining to pay taxes. Our Founding Fathers raised hell, thus allowing us the option to do the same.

I don’t think I will ever burn the flag. Many of my friends, who argue for the right to do so, won’t burn it either. However, it gives me great solace to know that if I wanted to torch Old Glory someday, I could.

Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins

About Author

North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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2 Comments

  1. Dee
    Dee November 06, 20:03

    I think you should do a bit of researching on the American flag.. this is unbelievable.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Michael Vikson
    Michael Vikson November 25, 23:17

    I agree Dee. This is an insulting and ridiculous article.

    Reply to this comment

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