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senate Bill S. Joint Res. 21

Amending the Constitution to Ban Desecrating the American Flag

Argument in favor

The flag represents America and its values; burning or defiling it is incredibly unpatriotic.

07/03/2016
Anyone who references the American flag as a purely symbolic object, has never picked up a rifle and went into harm's way. While I fully support the Freedom of Speech having spent a year of my life fighting to defend it in Afghanistan, I feel as if any desecration or disrespect that comes to our flag is an absolute repudiation of everything that anyone who has ever fought for and sacrificed in service of our Country. Obviously, for this to even be a question lends credence to believe that some people just see the American flag as nothing more than colored cloth and stitching. However, for those of us who have shed blood on foreign soil to keep this flag flying freely, know all too well the price that men and women have to pay to do so. Not even taking into account my wounds and the Purple Heart pinned to my chest, I have watched my friends and my Soldiers, get blown apart by IED’s or get shot up by enemy gunfire. I have watched men die as they wore a patch of the American flag on their right shoulder as they fought to destroy the people that want nothing more than to take away our freedoms and our liberties. So for those that say the American flag is nothing more than a symbolic object, have no real idea or understanding of American values and everything that we hold sacred.
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BTSundra's Opinion
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07/03/2016
There's no real need to destroy the flag. Get your point across in a nonviolent manner.
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Betsy's Opinion
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07/03/2016
I have a hard time reconciling this: I tell my kids they have freedom of speech (so they burn the flag), but also tell them of the importance of our military protecting our flag (and for everything it symbolizes about our country). The two are diametrically opposed. It's more than just a flag. It's the symbol of who we are as a country. If you desecrate that, then maybe you'd be better in a different country with people more likeminded.
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Argument opposed

Protecting the right to Freedom of Speech is far more important than protecting a purely symbolic object.

Thomas's Opinion
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07/03/2016
To amend the constitution to take the rights of the minority would set a precedent that could move us towards an oppressive, and tyrannical government. If we decide that one of the amendments in the Bill of Rights should be changed to appease others, who's to say that the 2nd shouldn't be changed to appease those who would like to see the right to bear arms disappear. The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to protect the fundamental rights of the minority, from being legislated away from the majority. Even though you may not support someone else's rights, your fragile emotions do not constitute a right for you to infringe on the basic rights of other human beings. If you disagree, then use your 1st amendment right to voice your opinions, but do not infringe on other people's rights because they don't agree with everything you say.
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Jacob's Opinion
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07/03/2016
The flag is a symbol of our nation, but in the end it's a piece of fabric. It's also important to preserve free expression, even if you disagree with it
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jnedland's Opinion
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07/03/2016
There are no victims and no actual detriment to society caused by symbolically burning/desecrating a flag. It is a form of political speech and protest that should be protected, rather than prosecuted.
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    Anyone who references the American flag as a purely symbolic object, has never picked up a rifle and went into harm's way. While I fully support the Freedom of Speech having spent a year of my life fighting to defend it in Afghanistan, I feel as if any desecration or disrespect that comes to our flag is an absolute repudiation of everything that anyone who has ever fought for and sacrificed in service of our Country. Obviously, for this to even be a question lends credence to believe that some people just see the American flag as nothing more than colored cloth and stitching. However, for those of us who have shed blood on foreign soil to keep this flag flying freely, know all too well the price that men and women have to pay to do so. Not even taking into account my wounds and the Purple Heart pinned to my chest, I have watched my friends and my Soldiers, get blown apart by IED’s or get shot up by enemy gunfire. I have watched men die as they wore a patch of the American flag on their right shoulder as they fought to destroy the people that want nothing more than to take away our freedoms and our liberties. So for those that say the American flag is nothing more than a symbolic object, have no real idea or understanding of American values and everything that we hold sacred.
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    To amend the constitution to take the rights of the minority would set a precedent that could move us towards an oppressive, and tyrannical government. If we decide that one of the amendments in the Bill of Rights should be changed to appease others, who's to say that the 2nd shouldn't be changed to appease those who would like to see the right to bear arms disappear. The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to protect the fundamental rights of the minority, from being legislated away from the majority. Even though you may not support someone else's rights, your fragile emotions do not constitute a right for you to infringe on the basic rights of other human beings. If you disagree, then use your 1st amendment right to voice your opinions, but do not infringe on other people's rights because they don't agree with everything you say.
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    The flag is a symbol of our nation, but in the end it's a piece of fabric. It's also important to preserve free expression, even if you disagree with it
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    There are no victims and no actual detriment to society caused by symbolically burning/desecrating a flag. It is a form of political speech and protest that should be protected, rather than prosecuted.
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    Although I am offended by the act, the freedom to to desecrate the flag is the exclamation mark on our freedom of speech and expression.
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    There's no real need to destroy the flag. Get your point across in a nonviolent manner.
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    No. Of course not. Flag desecration is an expression of peaceful protest and therefore falls under the 1st amendment. Also it would be an abhorrent overreach to punish people for destroying something that is probably their own property.
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    Our first amendment rights are more important than a cloth symbol.
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    I have a hard time reconciling this: I tell my kids they have freedom of speech (so they burn the flag), but also tell them of the importance of our military protecting our flag (and for everything it symbolizes about our country). The two are diametrically opposed. It's more than just a flag. It's the symbol of who we are as a country. If you desecrate that, then maybe you'd be better in a different country with people more likeminded.
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    Political speech is protected by the first amendment as determined by the Supreme Court, and unless you want to insert a contradiction to the first amendment in the document itself and create judicial headache for decades, vote nay. Most choose to honor the American flag, but we should allow those who choose otherwise to express themselves freely, and should not bow to authoritarian pressures to ban speech we don't like.
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    It's a form of protest. Plain and simple. And that is the height of patriotism. Though it's something I can't imagine doing it effectively conveys dismay toward policy. And used in the right context could be a good way to stir Americans into action towards corrupt politics and policy.
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    Abhorrent as it may be, desecration of the flag is protected speech. As long as it doesn't involve destruction of others' property, there is and should be nothing unlawful about it. We are not Turkey.
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    Congress, please do something useful with our time.
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    I have served this country honorably to protect the rights of every citizen. However, to desecrate the symbol of our nation is a sign of disrespect and if someone does it, they can go live in Iran, N. Korea or somewhere else similar. I don't see this as taking away a freedom of speech. How could one justify loving their country, yet burn what so many served and died protecting?!
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    While I personally think that anyone caught desecrating our flag ought to be horsewhipped or tarred and feathered, you simply cannot force people to be patriotic. Patriotism has to be taught by parents, in our schools, and by example, like all virtues. Unfortunately, we have many people in America these days whose goal it is to destroy this nation, and they encourage all kinds of unpatriotic behaviors. Just take a look at this article: Ashamed to be an American? Towns crack down on American pride • In Lexington, South Carolina Marine veteran Bob Michaelis was told to remove a patriotic display from his mattress company. Mr. Michaelis lined the front of his store with American flags – to honor our troops. He was informed that the flags violated an ordinance. • Meanwhile, residents in Newport Beach, California are battling City Hall over their Independence Day decorations. The locals there stretched red, white and blue triangular flags from home to home to express their American pride. Code enforcement officers disagreed and warned that residents had one day to remove the decorations or “further enforcement actions may be taken.” The Star-Spangled Banner survived the rocket’s red glare and bombs bursting in air – only to face a modern-day threat – silly town ordinances and petty bureaucrats. I’m not sure if it’s an epidemic of anti-American nincompoopery sweeping across the fruited plain or if it’s a general lack of common sense. Maybe it’s both. I’ll let you be the judge of that. In Lexington, South Carolina Marine veteran Bob Michaelis was told to remove a patriotic display from his mattress company. Mr. Michaelis lined the front of his store with American flags – to honor our troops. “We got 10 flags up,” he told television station WIS. “I thought maybe it was about time we return the #patriotism in America. There’s not enough of it. It seems to be lost.” http://www.wistv.com/story/32345705/midlands-business-owner-told-american-flag-display-violates-ordinance But instead of congratulating Bob’s patriotism, the town fathers dispatched the law. He was informed that the flags violated an ordinance. “The town of Lexington says they got to come down because there’s an ordinance in place,” he said. The town administrator told WIS they did not issue Bob a citation nor did they tell him to take down the flags. So why did they dispatch the chief of police to visit Bob’s store? Did they need new bedding for the local jail? Town Administrator Britt Poole told WIS they just wanted to have a “conversation.” Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougall posted a message on Facebook defending their actions. He said the ordinance had been on the books since 1999 and was enacted over a “negative situation involving the Confederate flag.” “It is never our intent to interfere with a business but we have a duty to protect our community and we do that with great pride. We have members of our community that have fought, and died for our freedom to display this great symbol of our United States of America,” the mayor wrote. Regardless, Old Glory remains unfurled outside Bob’s mattress store. Meanwhile, residents in Newport Beach, California are battling City Hall over their Independence Day decorations. The locals there stretched red, white and blue triangular flags from home to home to express their American pride. “It adds a festive touch to the island,” resident Sharon Lambert told the LA Times. http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/tn-dpt-me-4th-july-banners-20160628-story.html Code enforcement officers disagreed and fired off letters explaining the decorations violated a city ordinance. The letter warned that residents had one day to remove the decorations or “further enforcement actions may be taken,” the LA reported. So far residents have decided to ignore the warnings – even if it means getting a fine. The most egregious example of this anti-patriotic sentiment can be found in the pages of The New York Daily News. Columnist Gersh Kuntzman penned an ugly diatribe titled, “Major League Baseball must permanently retire ‘God Bless America,’ a song that offends everyone.” http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/major-league-baseball-permanently-retire-god-bless-america-article-1.2693228 Yes, good readers. The New York Daily News wants us to stop asking the Almighty to bless our great nation during the seventh inning stretch. “The song still embodies great things about America, but also our worst things: self-righteousness, forced piety, earnest self-reverence, foam,” he wrote. Mr. Kuntzman probably takes umbrage with Mother’s Day and apple pie, too. “Part of my outrage stems from ponderous Mussolini-esque introduction of the song, when fans are asked to rise, remove their caps and place them over their hearts,” he scribbled. So not only does this guy find “God Bless America” offensive, he also seems to think it’s a symbol of fascism. “So this July 4, join me at the Church of Baseball by not rising and not doffing your cap for a song that is not the national anthem of a nation that is not uniquely blessed by some deity that doesn’t exist anyway,” he wrote. [Leave it to the The New York Daily News to publish such a blatantly blasphemous article! Gersh Kuntzman is offended by "God Bless America" and doesn't mind at all offending patriotic people who believe in God. We are expected to tolerate atheism, but atheists think they shouldn't have to tolerate Christianity!] So he despises God and Country? .... It’s really no surprise the Daily News employs liberal loons like Mr. Kuntzman. They detest all of us gun-toting, Bible-clingers. But that’s what makes our country great. We have the freedom to say or write whatever we want – thanks to founding documents that were flavored by the Judeo-Christian beliefs of our Founding Fathers. So on Independence Day, you’ll find the Starnes family at a Southern ball park, waving Old Glory and belting out Irving Berlin’s finest tune. May God bless America -- in spite of petty bureaucrats and the New York Daily News. Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is "God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values." Follow Todd on Twitter@ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/07/01/ashamed-to-be-american-towns-crack-down-on-american-pride.html?cmpid=NL_tadspth
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    The US Code already bans desecration of the American Flag. If we start Amending, the libs will see it as an open door to remove the 1st and 2nd. Leave the Constitution alone and enforce the laws we already have.
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    While I'm a supporter of the 1st amendment, I believe that we ought to hold the Flag as Sacred and above politics.
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    As much as I would love for this to be amended in the constitution, I have to vote Nay. I feel as though if we make this illegal, we have to make everything offensive illegal, and it would be an ongoing battle. But if I see someone do this I will make sure they know how I feel about their actions.
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    Yea we fought in many wars for the freedom of speech but we also fought for our flag and burning it is not free speech talking about it is and a person should be held accountable if they burn the flag that many died for
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    I think it is silly to pass this. Burning the flag does not physically hurt anyone else. Those that do it are sad and look foolish. But to pass a law banning such foolish behavior would be an over reach of the government's powers.
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