The Instigator
gahbage
Pro (for)
Winning
17 Points
The Contender
Sweatingjojo
Con (against)
Losing
15 Points

Contender's choice.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/6/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,069 times Debate No: 4599
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (14)
Votes (8)

 

gahbage

Pro

As you can see, this debate is 5 rounds. In the contender's round 1, he/she will propose 3 different topics of debate that COVER VARIOUS FIELDS. (I don't want 3 debates about abortion but worded differently, for example.

Then in my round 2, I will choose one of the debates to well...debate on.

In the contender's round 2, he/she will choose a stance on the choice (PRO or CON) and choose whether to go first or second. If he/she goes first, to keep the number of arguments per person equal, he/she must include the opening argument in the response, and cannot post an argument in the final round. (Either forfeit or spam, or something.) However, if I am forced to go first, the debate will proceed as normal.

So if all goes as planned, we will each get a normal 3 rounds to debate.
Sweatingjojo

Con

Hmm okay, gahbage.

1. Flag burning should be tolerated by the US./ Anything that we "Disagree on" According to our User Profiles, your choice.

2. It is a better idea to buy a PS3 than a Wii.

3. The meatballs are the better part of the dish "Spaghetti and Meatballs."
Debate Round No. 1
gahbage

Pro

Resolution 1 please.

I was thinking about that spaghetti one, but that could go downhill for me very quickly since you choose Pro or Con.
Sweatingjojo

Con

Sweatingjojo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
gahbage

Pro

OK, so I am Con for "Flag burning should be tolerated by the U.S."

U.S. = The government of the United States of America
Flag burning = setting fire to the American flag

Flag burning should not be allowed under the government. The American flag is a symbol of America and what it represents, so it should be treated as such. Whatever you do to the flag, you are doing that to your country, so to speak. So to burn the flag would be saying, "I want to burn/do bad things to my country". If you really feel that negatively about your home, you should find a new home. Regardless, let me use an example: a man stands on the street corner and screams "I'M GOING TO SHOOT VARIOUS GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS!" Obviously he would be arrested, fined, etc. for an act of treason. What is different about burning the flag to imply, "I want to do this to America!"?
Sweatingjojo

Con

And I am pro, for "Flag burning should be tolerated by the U.S."

"Flag burning should not be allowed under the government. The American flag is a symbol of America and what it represents, so it should be treated as such."

The question that first needs to be answered is, what does America represent?
I think a good place to look would be our Constitution, which was set as the frame-work for this country.
The first amendment to our constitution, is, in my opinion, the biggest amendment to grant civil liberties in the Document. One section of it states "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech."
Freedom of Speech, as interpreted by The Supreme Court time and time again, includes more than just the spoken word, but also the printed word, and the symbolic word. Burning the US flag falls under the latter.

If the Flag represents America, and America is founded on our Constitution, and our Constitution says that people have the right to express themselves politically, wouldn't the whole thing fall apart if the (arguably) strongest non-verbal, non-violent political statement was made illegal?

"Whatever you do to the flag, you are doing that to your country, so to speak."
Not at all, a flag is a symbol of a country, a country is well, a country.

"So to burn the flag would be saying, "I want to burn/do bad things to my country". If you really feel that negatively about your home, you should find a new home."
To burn a flag would indicate that you are angry, yes, but it is a way to demonstrate anger peacefully (although in a distasteful manner.)

Try using that line on the people who decided that Americans would be better off if they didn't have a ruler who lived an Ocean away. Try that line on anyone who fought for the civil rights of African Americans.
When there is a cause that is worth fighting for, it is worth fighting for, no matter how many good mannered people it may offend at first. The good folks who wrote the Constitution realized this, and so they knew that political speech must be tolerated.

""I'M GOING TO SHOOT VARIOUS GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS!" Obviously he would be arrested, fined, etc. for an act of treason. What is different about burning the flag to imply, "I want to do this to America!"?"

Saying that you're going to shoot various government officials on the street corner, while probably not making you too popular with folks like the FBI and Secret Service, is perfectly legal, because, at least at that stage, you show no actual means to commit such an act. In this country, its okay to say unpopular things, because this country believes in freedom.

Burning the flag, while most always done in anger or extreme dis-satisfaction, isn't indicative of a desire to injure or kill anyone or anything. Burning a flag is a symbolic act, and while not at all a popular one, one that must be protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

In essence, I would like you to provide a rebuttal that explains to me why the First Amendment should be ignored.
Debate Round No. 3
gahbage

Pro

"The question . . . falls under the latter"

I'll answer this with the definition of "treason" in a minute.

"Not at all, a flag is a symbol of a country, a country is well, a country."

Yes, well, imagine voodoo. You're taking a doll shaped like a person, and you're shoving needles into it, with the intent of harming that person. That's what flag burning is like.

"To burn a flag would indicate that you are angry, yes, but it is a way to demonstrate anger peacefully (although in a distasteful manner.)"

Not only that, but it's treasonous. From dictionary.com:

"trea�son Audio Help [tree-zuhn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun
1.the offense of acting to overthrow one's government or to harm or kill its sovereign.
2.a violation of allegiance to one's sovereign or to one's state.
3.the betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith; treachery.
[Origin: 1175–1225; ME tre(i)so(u)n < AF; OF tra�son < L trāditiōn- (s. of trāditiō) a handing over, betrayal. See tradition]"

In definition 3, the government trusts/is confident that you will be a faithful citizen. But apparently you don't want to be a faithful citizen if you're going to burn the symbol of freedom. One could also possibly argue over definition 1.

"When there is a cause that is worth fighting for, it is worth fighting for, no matter how many good mannered people it may offend at first."

True, but what oppression is the government holding on us now?

"Saying that you're going to shoot various government officials on the street corner, while probably not making you too popular with folks like the FBI and Secret Service, is perfectly legal, because, at least at that stage, you show no actual means to commit such an act."

I thought it wasn't >.< What if I were to say that while waving various firearms above my head and claiming I have the respective addresses of said officials? When you burn the flag, it is much the same, because not only do you want to do this, but you demonstrate the capacity to do so (using fire).

"In essence, I would like you to provide a rebuttal that explains to me why the First Amendment should be ignored."

I'm not saying that we should ignore the First Amendment, but acts of speech that are treasonous should not be tolerated. Besides, someone can get burned. >.>
Sweatingjojo

Con

"Yes, well, imagine voodoo. You're taking a doll shaped like a person, and you're shoving needles into it, with the intent of harming that person. That's what flag burning is like."
Doing something that is designed to cause harm to a person(voodoo mAjik) is incomparable to an expression of anger (flag burning.) While both actions involve the manipulation of objects in order to make something happen, the first action is designed to cause physical harm, while the other is an expression of opinion, which may offend the weak at heart.

"Not only that, but it's treasonous."
Because you avoided the first two definitions of treason, the ones that actually involve a nation-state, your definition is invalid. The one that you did use cannot be applied to a governmental situation, and can only be applied in domestic instances (I.E. Cheating on one's spouse.)

"In definition 3, the government trusts/is confident that you will be a faithful citizen."
In this country, the government is designed to fear its people, not have the people fear its government. The government allows for dissent because it keeps good ideas moving forward.

In a democratic republic such as ours, the only thing that the government expects and demands of its citizens is that it obeys the laws of the nation.
To say otherwise is overly nationalistic, and rather fascist.

"But apparently you don't want to be a faithful citizen if you're going to burn the symbol of freedom. One could also possibly argue over definition 1."

Obviously you don't believe in the freedom that the flag represents. In short, REAL freedom means you have the freedom to do anything, even show disdain towards a widely accepted "symbol of freedom."

To burn a flag of any country does not overthrow its government in any form Nor does it harm or kill the sovereign. (Unless he's wrapped in the flag. But that is a completely different story)

Not to mention, the Constitution of the United States makes a specific definition of what the government may call treason.

Article III Section 3
"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court."

To light a flag on fire does not hurt anybody, it is a statement. It does not aid any enemy.

"True, but what oppression is the government holding on us now?"

Although neither you, nor I, may find the government too oppressive in our comfy, white, middle-class lives, there are still major social ills in the country.(don't act like I don't know you.) Travel to an inter city ghetto. Travel to a suburban neighborhood where every home is being foreclosed, sending families out on the street. As this happens, notice the CEOs who make 500 times more than their company employee. There are still many injustices that the government has not addressed. In the 1940's, the civil rights of black americans was not on the forefront of the average person's mind. It took radical actions (flag burning= radical action) for it to be realized as a major injustices by most. My point, radical actions can bring oppression to the limelight.

Also, that question implies that you agree with me. You concede that offensive actions can sometimes be needed to fight for a cause.

"What if I were to say that while waving various firearms above my head and claiming I have the respective addresses of said officials? When you burn the flag, it is much the same, because not only do you want to do this, but you demonstrate the capacity to do so (using fire)."

If you were to wave firearms above your head and have addresses of officials, then you would be charged with either intent to murder, or being a complete idiot in public.

When one burns a US flag, you indicate that you are very angry with the United States, to the point of wishing to desecrate one of its symbols. That's all. The usage of fire simply is part of the desecration of the flag.
Say that instead of burning the flag, I step on it with boots covered in manure. To say that I have the means to take down the government with stinky boots, is ridiculous. And yes, they do relate because they are both expressions that are controversial, and nothing more.

"I'm not saying that we should ignore the First Amendment, but acts of speech that are treasonous should not be tolerated."

Yeah but its not treason in the US. Not even close.

Here's why.

1. No one is hurt.
2. It doesn't take down the government. It offers opposing opinions, one of the things that the government in this nation thrives on.
3. It simply doesn't fill the prerequisite set by the Constitution.

To finish, here is a quote by the United States' 16th National Security Adviser, 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and 65th Secretary of State, Colin Powell.

"The First Amendment exists to insure that freedom of speech and expression applies not just to that with which we agree or disagree, but also that which we find outrageous."

Burning the flag is, by most standards, outrageous. But it must be allowed, because all people are granted a voice to be heard.
Debate Round No. 4
gahbage

Pro

"While both actions involve the manipulation of objects in order to make something happen, the first action is designed to cause physical harm, while the other is an expression of opinion, which may offend the weak at heart."

But like I said before, if you feel so negatively about your country as to burn its flag, what does that imply you want to do to the country as a whole? I mean, you could at least do something like you said, stomp on it with manure-covered boots, but setting fire to it is a little...off. Besides, burnind stuff in public is usually bad.

"Because you avoided the first two definitions of treason, the ones that actually involve a nation-state, your definition is invalid. The one that you did use cannot be applied to a governmental situation, and can only be applied in domestic instances (I.E. Cheating on one's spouse.)"

Definition 2, violating allegiance. "I pledge allegiance to the flag..." How can you say the pledge to the flag if you just burned it?

"In this country, the government is designed to fear its people, not have the people fear its government. The government allows for dissent because it keeps good ideas moving forward.

In a democratic republic such as ours, the only thing that the government expects and demands of its citizens is that it obeys the laws of the nation.
To say otherwise is overly nationalistic, and rather fascist."

So you say the government demands to citizens to obey the law. Would that not make one a faithful citizen? So the government can be confident that you will be a faithful citizen, provided you obey the laws.

"Obviously you don't believe in the freedom that the flag represents. In short, REAL freedom means you have the freedom to do anything, even show disdain towards a widely accepted "symbol of freedom.""

Yes, real freedom means you can do ANYTHING. But of course, some restrictions must be made to create an orderly society. Is flag burning orderly? I wouldn't consider it so.

"It took radical actions (flag burning= radical action) for it to be realized as a major injustices by most. My point, radical actions can bring oppression to the limelight."

This is true, but what form of oppression can possibly be solved by burning the flag?

"Also, that question implies that you agree with me. You concede that offensive actions can sometimes be needed to fight for a cause."

No, I am saying that in this case, flag burning will not bring any oppression to the limelight. The key word is "sometimes".

"If you were to wave firearms above your head and have addresses of officials, then you would be charged with either intent to murder, or being a complete idiot in public."

That's it? Intent to kill? That's lame.

"Say that instead of burning the flag, I step on it with boots covered in manure. To say that I have the means to take down the government with stinky boots, is ridiculous. And yes, they do relate because they are both expressions that are controversial, and nothing more."

Okay, but burning the flag isn't safe or orderly, and is also quite ridiculous.

"Yeah but its not treason in the US. Not even close."

What if someone DID get hurt, or there is the possibility of someone getting hurt? If it is a potential threat shouldn't it be banned?

"Burning the flag is, by most standards, outrageous. But it must be allowed, because all people are granted a voice to be heard."

But you could make the same message without arson!
Sweatingjojo

Con

I feel that we are both once again beating a dead horse, however I feel obliged to make brief responses and a final statement.

"But like I said before, if you feel so negatively about your country as to burn its flag, what does that imply you want to do to the country as a whole?... Besides, burning stuff in public is usually bad."

It can imply a variety of things, from wanting to seclude oneself from public life, to wanting to become politically active. All it almost always means is that the burner is highly dis-satisfied.
Who said a flag would be publicly burned?

"Definition 2, violating allegiance. "I pledge allegiance to the flag..." How can you say the pledge to the flag if you just burned it?"

That is the most discretionary argument I've ever experienced. The pledge of allegiance is a patriotic poem recited by some at their leisure, others choose not to, schoolchildren are often encouraged to, but no one is forced to, and it is in no way legally binding. Not to mention its my bet that the people who would feel the need to burn the flag wouldn't be those who say the Pledge. But that's a different topic for a different time.

"So you say the government demands to citizens to obey the law. Would that not make one a faithful citizen? So the government can be confident that you will be a faithful citizen, provided you obey the laws."

You implicitly defined 'faithful' to mean more than not breaking laws, but rather being like a cute dog that fetches the paper and does tricks on command. That is something the government does not expect from someone.

"Yes, real freedom means you can do ANYTHING. But of course, some restrictions must be made to create an orderly society. Is flag burning orderly? I wouldn't consider it so."

Well it really comes down to how orderly my opponent wishes to make society. If he wishes for a perfectly orderly society, I'd point him to Germany from from 1933-1945. They tried running a modern country like that, I think we can see how that worked.

Flag burning is disorderly, yes, but the fact is, people have the right to create a certain degree of reasonable disorder. Burning a flag, which hurts no body, and destroys no one else's private property, is a reasonable creation of disorder for political purposes.

"No, I am saying that in this case, flag burning will not bring any oppression to the limelight. The key word is "sometimes"."

Just because you don't see something, doesn't mean its not there. Perception (of no oppression) is not always (the potentially oppressed) reality.

That's it? Intent to kill? That's lame.

well after some research, intent to kill isn't a crime.
Although I'm sure they could get you with something, like harassment.

"Okay, but burning the flag isn't safe or orderly, and is also quite ridiculous."

Burning a flag is like burning a very large piece of paper. I don't see where the lack of saftey comes in, as long as the person burning the flag has some common sense.

What if someone DID get hurt, or there is the possibility of someone getting hurt? If it is a potential threat shouldn't it be banned?

If someone was intended to get hurt, then that instance would be an exception, and not the general situation.
There is a possibility that you will experience an epileptic seizure when you read this. It is a potential threat to your well-being in life because in the seizure you could very well ram your head inside the screen, causing a fatal electrocution.

Everything on earth is a threat to someone's saftey, but somethings are greater threats than others.
And on the topic of free speech being a threat, the Supreme Court ruled that no police agency can stop a political action because of its potential to become a threat, for the reason that it is absurd, and would certainly plunge us towards fascism.*

But you could make the same message without arson!

Arson means to intentionally burn the private property of someone else's.
We've been talking about burning one's own flag this whole time, so you're wrong.

*gawsh I hate having to bring up Nazis and stuff in my debates, I apologize to you and the readers.

To end, I'd like to remind everybody that I have proven that the burning of the United States flag should remain covered by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, that it is not treasonous to burn a flag, and that it does not create an unreasonable disorder.

I will end with a quote from the Majority opinion in Texas v. Johnson, which affirmed the right to free speech, even through flag desecration.
"If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable."
Debate Round No. 5
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sweatingjojo 8 years ago
Sweatingjojo
ARGH
not a discretionary argument

a distractionary argument.
Posted by gahbage 8 years ago
gahbage
Hahahaha

That kinda made my night

I didn't have a very exiting day anyway but regardless...
Posted by Sweatingjojo 8 years ago
Sweatingjojo
While I would love to directly ascend to the Senate, I am still at level 27/50 magic. I need to do more spell practice and collect more potions. I can, however turn someone you don't like into a dead dog.
Posted by gahbage 8 years ago
gahbage
You know, you really should be a Senator. Anyway, yeah I didn't read it either XD
Posted by Sweatingjojo 8 years ago
Sweatingjojo
I don't know what that means, you think I actually read that book?

and I changed your opinion?
good.
Nice job debating anyways.
Posted by gahbage 8 years ago
gahbage
Sucks to you, and your ability to change my mind with one swift rebuttal!

What the hell does "sucks to you" mean anyway? It was in Lord of the Flies...
Posted by gahbage 8 years ago
gahbage
Well I guess I have to go first. lol
Posted by Sweatingjojo 8 years ago
Sweatingjojo
You go first then, how about that?
Posted by Sweatingjojo 8 years ago
Sweatingjojo
Ha ha .
Sorry dude. I forgotz.
Posted by gahbage 8 years ago
gahbage
I'll wait as long as possible to post my argument then. If you don't comment by then I'll assume you're on vacation or something.
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