Protection Vs. Denial
“A country’s flag is a symbol of more than a nationhood and national unity. It also signifies the ideas that characterize the society that has chosen that emblem as well as the special history that has animated the growth and power of those ideas.” –Justice Stevens, Texas vs. Johnson
Alright, I’ll buy that. So how does amending the Bill of Rights preserve our “special history” and stifle the “growth and power of ideas” at the same time? The flag, as I see it, is a symbol of personal liberties. Am I not at liberty to own a flag and do with it what I will?
This country was built on, and still maintains a pride in, a history of free expression, or should I say, rebellion. Was rebellion acceptable then and not now? Let’s face it, not everyone is ecstatic about the way this country is being run. The reason there is a “free” United States is because people had the balls to incite a little productive rebellion.
Some people think, myself included, that this country is again heading toward authoritarian expression and government by a moral minority, much like the rule of Great Britain in the early eighteenth century. I’m sure that King George was not happy with the Boston Tea Party then, just as King George is not happy with flag burning now. And after all, a protest without expression is a protest ignored.
As a symbol of the basic rights of every human being, the flag becomes a prime source of expression. Personally, I’ve never burned a flag, nor do I plan to. But if the occasion arose where flag burning would further a necessary change, the right to do so should be mine.
“I believe the failure to persist in enacting a constitutional amendment to protect the flag would express a startling lack of confidence in our freedoms.” –Orrin G. Hatch, House of Reps. Utah
Get your thumb out of your ass, Orrin, and listen to what you just said! Our freedoms do not exist within the flag, they exist within the right to maintain them. Are you trying to tell us that without a “constitutional amendment to protect the flag,” we will have no confidence in our freedoms? We can have no confidence in our freedoms unless they exist in the first place.
And get this: There is no difference between burning a flag and writing about burning a flag. The intent and attitude behind the expression is the same.
Where do you draw the line between what is appropriate and what is not? It should all be appropriate in a so-called “freedom based” society.
Here are some more articles mentioning the importance of a flag:
Project Rainbow: Bringing Unity to Utah
Vigil for the Cultural Murals at Taqueria Azteca de Oro