Flag Burning Brings Controversy

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Flag burning has become more controversial over the years.

Rachel Dearing, Staff Writer

Burning the American flag has become more frequent throughout the years. A well-known and significant flag burning was in 1984, when Gregory Lee Johnson was seen burning the flag outside the Republican National Convention. He was protesting against both political candidates in the 1984 election; Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale. He was then arrested for breaking state law, and his case was brought to the supreme court.

The Supreme Court ruled that the first amendment protected flag burning. The Supreme Court would then state, “ Freedom of speech protects actions that society may find very offensive, but society’s outrage alone is not justification for suppressing free speech.” 

However, the American flag stands for freedom and has stood for America’s freedom for 225 years. When one burns the flag, you symbolically burn the freedom that is associated with the flag. You are burning your right to freedom of speech. The flag is a symbol of what makes America unique, our rights, and liberties. A few other countries do not have those rights and liberties that America has today. The flag represents us as a free country and our citizens as free people. However, when you burn those rights, you destroy the meaning of your liberties. All of your rights are stripped from you because the flag no longer stands. You decided to burn it, thus burning your right to freedom.  

The price of freedom did not come without sacrifice. The American revolution was an eight-year war fought for this privilege. America’s thirteen colonies went to war with Great Britain to earn their independence and become a free nation. Without the men and women who sacrificed their lives to gain our independence, one wouldn’t have the rights we have today. In fact, we wouldn’t even be a free nation. We need to learn to respect and appreciate our military, and the people who have died for this country. Their sacrifice? Their life for your freedom. Burning the flag disrespects all the effort they put into fighting for us. You’re burning the freedom that they sacrificed their lives for. 

Even people who protest by burning the flag are burning their freedom, and disrespecting the people who fought for their rights and liberties. If the flag means something so significant, why burn it? The flag is your freedom, and you shouldn’t take it for granted. A few other countries don’t even have the option to protest, and some don’t even have freedom. Protesting against the government can be done without burning the flag. Public speeches, boycotts, walkouts, and/or public statements are ways to protest without burning the flag. Burning the flag is a spit in the face to those who fought, those who have died, and those who have worked their lives to gain freedom for the people in this country.