The Flag Burning Amendment

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The Flag Burning Amendment

Postby Nyufrost » Thu Jul 10, 2003 11:12 am

Each year since 1995, the Congress has attempted to pass an amendment to the US Constitution that would criminalize flag burning. Although the amendment passes in the House of Representatives, it has been consistently --tho barely-- voted down in the Senate. Last time, it lost by just four votes.

Opponents of the amendment, which include the ACLU, argue that to protect the flag weakens one of the core values for which the flag stands -- the freedom of speech. They contend that in order to protect these greater principles, it is necessary to allow flag-burning, no matter how offensive it may be.

Proponents point out that early Presidents James Madison and Thomas Jefferson denounced flag-burning. Jefferson inspired the Bill of Rights and Madison drafted it. They say "desecration is not free speech; it is a harmful act that insults all who gave their lives defending America" and that we should protect our flag from this disgraceful act.

What say you?
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Postby Neerowolf » Thu Jul 10, 2003 2:09 pm

ah ha! Nyu once pointed out to me the difference between freedom of speech, and freedom of expression. Burning the flag is freedom of expression, which there is none of. so basically, i think they shouldn't be burning the flag.
Opponents of the amendment, which include the ACLU, argue that to protect the flag weakens one of the core values for which the flag stands -- the freedom of speech. They contend that in order to protect these greater principles, it is necessary to allow flag-burning, no matter how offensive it may be.

One, they don't have freedom of expression. two, does that mean they're burning the flag that lets them burn it? Thats like burning freedom, as they said, so they should go to jail where they aren't free.
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Postby Evlfrost » Fri Jul 11, 2003 4:30 pm

I say that its a violation of freedom of speech. Besides the proper way to retire a flag is to burn it.

*Has seen several flag retirings*
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Postby Gigafrost » Fri Jul 11, 2003 4:40 pm

*Wonders if Evl noticed Neerowolf's post*

I'd say that Neerowolf is right...burning the flag isn't speech...it's expression. Freedom of Speech being violated? I'd say that not even capitol hill cares if there's a difference. Why would politicians not know the difference? Hmmm...
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Postby Neerowolf » Fri Jul 11, 2003 4:58 pm

Maybe it would be best only to illegalize burning the flag if its not authorized, making flag-retiring ceremonies still able to be done.
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Postby Evlfrost » Fri Jul 11, 2003 5:14 pm

I'd say that Neerowolf is right...burning the flag isn't speech...it's expression. Freedom of Speech being violated? I'd say that not even capitol hill cares if there's a difference. Why would politicians not know the difference? Hmmm...


Freedom of speech also includes freedom of expression. I saw if they want to burn flags let them. The government cant make people respect them-thats not freedom thats tyranny.
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Postby Dracofrost » Fri Jul 11, 2003 5:54 pm

And how is it that freedom of speech includes freedom of expression? I don't see where it says that. Could you point me in the direction of something that specifies it?
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Postby Nyufrost » Fri Jul 11, 2003 6:34 pm

I see "expression" as an act that conveys meaning of thoughts and ideas but in itself is not speech. For example, saying hello and waving are two seperate things even though both express a greeting. You can have one without the other. If waving was outlawed, you could still express a greeting by speaking, therefore your freedom of speech would not be compromised.

I think had our country's forefathers forseen that future generations would be as unpatriotic as they have proved to be, they would have included anti-flag burning as part of the original Constitution since they were opposed to the act.
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Postby shahmask » Mon Jul 14, 2003 1:01 am

So, you are saying deaf/mute people aren't given the freedom of speach protection that people that can talk are given? Also, do you mean writing is no longer protected by the freedom of speech amendment? What about body language?

And what is it with you and everyone not conforming to the republican ideals not being patriotic? In a historical context, it seems to me that you'd be one of the pro slavery ppl. afterall, a majority of the country(and "traditional" politicians) were for keeping slavery. So you also wouldn't be a pro black civil rights person either.

The united states is the greatest nation in the world because you don't have to blindly follow politicians. in fact, that's why political turnover and parties exist. A person that attacks someone that isn't completely 100% for the current president and his party does not belong in the united states. In fact, an alleged reason bush attacked iraq was to "liberate" the ppl., so that they aren't forced to follow what the dictator and his closest friends dictate to the ppl. afterall, in bush's ideas, supporting sadam housein wasn't patriotic. so why does being patriotic "have to mean" following what the leader of a country wants. afterall, that seems to me to be what your definition of patriotism is.
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Postby TerraFrost » Mon Jul 14, 2003 1:27 am

Why would politicians not know the difference?


maybe because there isn't one - or atleast not a significant difference ;)

also, it's hypocritlcal for us to disallow flag burning yet allowing the destruction / defacing of images of hussein. the us army did this in iraq, so that suggests that the us government in fact supports this. if us soldiers can attack saddam without attacking iraq, as a country (that we now pretty much control), why then can't we attack the president of the us, or whatever, without attacking the us itself?

*insert shahmask's point about sign language here*

I think had our country's forefathers forseen that future generations would be as unpatriotic as they have proved to be, they would have included anti-flag burning as part of the original Constitution since they were opposed to the act.


can you post a link verifying this? i'm not 100% sure the country had a flag at the time of the constitution - that would be like saying that thomas jefferson supports the "blue ribbon campaign"...

I think had our country's forefathers forseen that future generations would be as unpatriotic


unpatriotic? the us people don't support war in iraq, and they're unpatriotic? *redirects to shahmasks post*
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Postby Gigafrost » Mon Jul 14, 2003 2:27 am

Well if there's no difference between freedom of expression and freedom of speech on paper then arresting people for walking in the nude is a violation of their freedom of speech.
It's not that walking in the nude is supposed to be offensive. It's that the law doesn't consider arresting naked people to be a violation of the freedom of speech. If they're not removing the freedom of speech in these cases, what are they removing then?

When I talked to Evl on the phone, he didn't seem to think there was a major difference between speech and expression, so I tried to use this as an example. Or maybe as an example why there should be a difference.

I suppose Nyu's example is too literal, perhaps? Or being taken too literal? Communicating in sign-language is communicating with a "spoken language" sort of. Granted, it's not spoken from the mouth and it's not audible, but I'd argue that sign-language is still non-the-less spoken, and thus speech.
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Postby shahmask » Mon Jul 14, 2003 3:40 am

Do remember however, that there are limits to the freedom of speech as well. Yelling fire in a theatre is illegal. So is yelling fuck in the street. So is other forms of verbal abuse such as sexual harasment. Generally, if the speech can hurt someone, either physically or is harrasing, it is not protected by freedom of speech.
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Postby TerraFrost » Mon Jul 14, 2003 3:45 am

i agree with shahmask... we *don't* have *true* freedom of speech. we don't have *true* freedom at all. we're *not* free to kill someone - that would be freedom. the problem the freedom is that in order to be truely free, you must be able to take away others freedom. thus, an entire people can't be 100% free. it is *not* possible. maybe one person can, but not a society. we don't have freedom. we don't have freedom of speech, or freedom of anything. the united states' purpose with the "freedom of" stuff isn't to give everyone freedom, persay, but to maximize the freedom people do enjoy.
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Postby Gigafrost » Mon Jul 14, 2003 5:48 am

So, if it physically abuses somebody or harrasses people then there's not really a problem with it being banned, yes? And flag burning is incredibly insulting to people. If we're going to ban the word "fuck" from the streets then I don't see why banning flag burning should just be ignored.

Also, about a previously mentioned point...
also, it's hypocritlcal for us to disallow flag burning yet allowing the destruction / defacing of images of hussein.

Except the defacing of Saddam is very different. To begin with, it happened when Saddan was forced out of power, so it's really people expressing distaste with an individual. It's not a symbol representing their country anymore. It wasn't a demonstration to show the destruction of an entire country. It's really something about their country.

Also, it's defacing of Iraqi material. If Iraq wanted justice, I don't see why it should be the US's concern in the first place. Heck, they could even ignore flag burning here in the US...except that it's supposed to be an attack against the US. Why can't it defend itself, then? Or should it really try and defend the whole world in the first place? It really isn't the place of the US to defend the entire world.


So, if the flag is supposed to be a symbol of the United States. Burning the flag symbolizes destruction of the United States. Just like somebody joking about bombs on a plane, or somebody breaking their glasses and yelling "fuck" on the street...they really haven't hurt anybody, but their language is dangerous. It could even be thought of as treason, in a certain sense. I think that's the main idea behind the flag-burning banning. Why they have to go and make it an amendment, I'm not entirely sure.
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Postby TerraFrost » Mon Jul 14, 2003 6:24 am

i'm not really saying that people *should* be allowed to burn flags - i actually don't have an opinion on that, either way. actually, heh - to be honest, i really have never heard of anyone in the us doing it, heh. i'm just saying that i don't think the "it's not protected by freedom of speech" argument should be used, here. if it is used here, people may begin to use it in other threads, and... i just don't think it's a good argument in the first place - it's sorta a preemptive counter against that argument, hehe :)

and that said... although most of your post relies on an incorrect assumption (that i'm for flag-burning), you do make a good case against flag burning :)
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