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Flag Burning Crime Essay, Research Paper

Flag burning can be and usually is a very controversial issue with people. Many

people believe that the American flag stands for something important and

shouldn?t be destroyed in that manner. Others believe that flag burning is a

statement that one should be able to make without major repercussions. Both

sides have valid opinions and both sides state their case well. Although I am

neither nor or against the burning of the flag, I believe the right should not

be taken away. I believe that if a group of people have valid reasons and a

valid point to make by obliterating a flag in such a way, they should have the

right to do it. The people who are against flag burning seem to generally be

those who have served this country through war and through other such ways. They

are older people who believe that this country is quite wonderful if not almost

perfect. They have a strong sense of patriotism to this country and would die

for what it stands for: liberty and freedom. They could compare it to the

burning of crosses in front of a church or to the way the Nazis turned a very

beautiful symbol into a racial and religious hate badge for murderers.

Disrespect for tradition is what it boils down to. From a young age we are

conditioned to blindly respect that flag hanging from a pole and to pledge out

allegiance to it without even knowing what it truly is. It has been tradition

for at least three generations. People who have been prisoners of war or people

who fought for this country have a reason to respect it so much. The have fought

long and hard for what we have and respect it. Some of our generation doesn?t

realize how lucky we have it. A child of this generation could debate how good

and pure and wonderful this country is and could show you how we have had our

liberty and freedom taken away to the point that we really don?t have any.

True, we have had our freedom limited a bit, but that is only for the protection

of ourselves from one another and from the government. As far as flag burning

goes, people of this generation and other generations, have a right to show how

they feel about what?s going on in this country. They feel that this county is

doing something wrong and that is how they choose to express their grievance.

The first amendment to the Constitution states that "Congress should make

no law. . .abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the

people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of

grievances." So according to that document, we have the right to get

together peacefully and petition or rally or group together to try to get the

government to listen. Sometimes it takes as much as burning a flag to get the

attention of those in the White House and in Congress. As long as they aren?t

hurting anyone and it is a peaceful act, they are guaranteed the constitutional

right to do that. Here is where it gets tricky and where my opinion come into

it. I believe that as long as you aren?t hurting anyone else and as long as

you have valid reasons for doing such a thing, it isn?t disrespectful to our

nation. Granted, that could be what you are trying to do, but this nation is a

great one, although it needs a little work. No one is perfect. I believe that if

you are trying to get the government?s attention, you can find a better way to

do it. I prefer the inverted flag. It stands for a sign of distress, which is

what most of the flag burners seem to be trying to say. Furthermore, if you look

at the situation closely, it?s an oxymoron. The American flag is a symbol of

liberty and freedom. It is a symbol of everything that we, as a country, have

gone through to get where we are. If you remove the right for someone to show

how they feel about such a symbol, you are removing their freedom. Hence, it?s

an oxymoron. I don?t personally think that I would ever try or feel the need

to burn the flag, just because I think it is an irrational way to state

something. If I ever did feel the need to burn one, I would have a valid reason

beforehand that I would explain to everyone before I burned the flag. I

personally think that there are better ways to go about doing things, ways that

will attract less negative attention. Of course, I don?t think it is right for

us to rule over what other people believe and how other people show it. My stand

point on this whole thing is let people believe what they want. Let people show

what they believe however they want. We can?t take away that right. We can

take it away when it begins hurting other people and infringing on their right

to life, liberty and property. That?s where the line needs to be drawn. If, by

burning a flag, you intentionally hurt someone physically, or end up damaging

their property, that is when action should be taken against you. If we take away

this fundamental right to express ourselves and how we feel about our nation (in

ways such as flag burning), we can no longer say that we live in a true country

of liberty and freedom. The "land of the free and the home of the

brave" no longer exists when our right to free speech, press and petition

are taken away.

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