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The Reflection

People have the right to burn the American flag

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If anything has come from the 2016 Presidential Election, it’s been controversy. There have been countless accusations against each candidate and mounds amongst mounds of muck being raked between them. But one of the more serious, yet underdeveloped, controversies that has only come under debate recently has been whether or not Americans should be able to burn the flag.

This is not the first year in which the issue of flag burning has been an item of controversy. In 1989, the Supreme Court case of Texas v. Johnson brought up the issue of whether or not burning the flag could be protected as a First Amendment right. In the end, it was decided that flag burning was protected as symbolic speech, and the case went in the favor of Johnson, the man who burned the flag.

Although even now politicians are still arguing about whether or not this decision should be overturned. Many view the desecration of the flag an insult to not only the American government, but the American people as a whole. They feel that it is a direct disrespect to those in the military and the American working force that risk their lives and safety serving the country.

While these are legitimate concerns, it is still hard to argue that they are reasons to limit the free speech of Americans. Yes, the burning of the flag can be seen as disrespectful to those who serve for the United States military. But just because it offends some who wish not to be offended, it doesn’t mean that it is infringing on on their rights, and therefore does not deserve to be limited. Those who burn the flag are still falling in line with the laws detailed in the outcome of the Texas. Johnson case and cannot be prosecuted against, as long as they are following these laws.

In the end, yes, the right to burn the flag is Constitutionally protected. Whether or not it is ethically correct is not the issue. It does not infringe on any personal liberties of anyone, and therefore is, and should be protected.


Tyler Grosser
About

My name is Tyler Grosser, a junior at Gull Lake High School and the Feature and Entertainment editor for the Gull Lake Reflection. Most of the articles I do for the site are reviews and the occasional feature story but I'm always willing to take whatever I can to help get the word out for what's happening in our district. I plan to take my interest in journalism into college and possibly even longer as a career.

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