The Instigator
Umgebung
Pro (for)
Winning
2 Points
The Contender
Itsallovernow
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Flag Burning Deserves To Be Allowed And Protected

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/21/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 934 times Debate No: 17992
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)

 

Umgebung

Pro

The first amendment of the Constitution calls for freedom of expression, and the ability to desecrate something as they see fit should be allowed. The opposition to flag burning stems from the materialistic mentality that objects are equal to ideas, which they are not. It is petty for someone to think that flag burning is unpatriotic, but it is rather in rebellion with the bloated, nationalistic attitude our country has expressed in recent years. As someone who lives by the doctrine of "if it doesn't harm anyone else, do it if you like", I think flag burning fits snugly into this category. It is a constitutional right that protects citizens who want to show their opinion of the government or its policies. Government does not deserve the supremacy that banning of flag burning would suggest. This is a right of the populace which should be preserved.
Itsallovernow

Con

Thank you for this challenge.

I shall start with my rebuttals and move to contentions.

REBUTTALS:

1. My opponent states the first amendment protects the right to desecrate something as they see fit. Desecrate *(www.dictionary.com) is defined as: "Treat (a sacred place or thing) with violent disrespect; violate". I do not think that violently disrespecting something is a good idea, and it provokes the peace. If it provokes the peace, then it is a civil safety hazard. The government is obligated to protect civilian safety, and must put a stop to it, for it is the reason of government.

2. My opponent states, "The opposition to flag burning stems from the materialistic mentality that objects are equal to ideas, which they are not." He is stating that objects are not equal to ideas. However, he contradicts himself later by saying this: "It is a constitutional right that protects citizens who want to show their opinion of the government or its policies." He is stating that flag burning shows protest by displaying opinion of government. He is now stating that burning the object is equal to an idea. Seeing as he described flag burning as desecrating, by definition it is a violent protest, something that is not allowed in the United States.

CONTENTIONS:

1. Peaceful Protest- My opponent said the public has the oppritunity to desecrate as they see fit. The definition of desecrate is a violent act. Only peaceful protesting is allowed in the USA.

2. Provoking the peace- Desecrating the American flag is a violent act, that may incite harm on both ends. Since this act provokes the peace, and acts a symbol of overthrowing the government (treason), then this act must be stopped. They should be informed of more effective and less provoking methods of protesting.

3. Safety- Burning anything is a safety hazard unless knowledge and a permit is earned, and in some cases of flag burning, this is not the case. Furthermore, referring to no.2, the government is obligated to keep the peace.

For the reasons above, I urge you to vote CON.
Debate Round No. 1
Umgebung

Pro

First off, let me thank my opponent for accepting my challenge and for beginning what is sure to be an interesting debate.

To start, I will point out a few problems with my opponent's contentions and rebuttals:
1. My opponent investigated and defined "desecrate", an action which is amicable, but he said that "I do not think that violently disrespecting something is a good idea." The point of a constitutional right is to uphold the law and give rights to citizens, not to pay lip service to people's opinions. Just because one person doesn't agree with a law doesn't mean that it shouldn't be enacted or enforced. The Constitution protects ALL freedom of speech and expression, no matter how unpopular. Secondly, he noted that flag burning "provokes the peace". That is the point of flag burning. It is not meant to be done without notice. Flag burning is done for attention. One may not agree with that sentiment, but it is certainly a flagrant and open way of expressing distaste for particular policies.

2. This leads to a moment of definition for my side: the word "violence", which means "the use of force to apply a state to others contrary to their wishes." (wikipedia.org) My opponent says that burning the flag is a violent protest. But burning the flag doesn't harm the government, rather, it is an individual's expression of distaste. It is not intended to harm anyone. Strategies such as assaulting police officers, destroying property and smashing store windows are violent protests (which are and should be illegal). If there is no direct victim of the act, there is no real violence. Flag burning isn't criminal. There are no intended targets. Therefore, it is not violent. This also negates my opponent's first contention that desecration is violent. Not necessarily. If the act is not violent, it is not a violent protest.

3. As for my opponent's second contention, that burning the flag is treason and other methods of protest be used, may I direct him to the Code of Laws of the United States regarding the definition and punishment for treason: "whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason." [1] Considering that this is the official legal definition of treason, flag burning doesn't seem to count. It doesn't levy war against the United States or give our enemies aid or comfort. It is not a malicious act, but rather one that is used for distaste, not support of our enemies. It is merely an expression of a political nature, and freedom of expression is constitutionally protected.

4. My opponent's third contention is that flag burning could be a safety issue, which is valid enough. However, if it is done on one's own property and every ordinance is in order, it should be approved of. And keeping the peace would not be necessary if it is done on one's own property and every ordinance is in order.

[1] http://www.law.cornell.edu...

Again, I thank my opponent and look forward to his response.

If you agree with the argument I have made and support private citizens' rights, please vote PRO.
Itsallovernow

Con

Itsallovernow forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Umgebung

Pro

Out of a sense of fairness for my opponent, due to the fact that he forfeited last round, I will not present any new arguments but bolster what I argued in round two, that the Constitution grants freedom of expression, that flag burning should be allowed if it can be done safely, and that it does not match the legal definition of treason.

I urge you to examine these arguments in detail. Flag burning should be allowed and protected because it gives citizens a caustic and physical way of dissenting with government policy, and open dissent is one of the signs of a healthy democracy.

I urge you to vote PRO for these above reasons, and I await my opponent's argument in round three.
Itsallovernow

Con

Thanks for the debate, ol' chap.

1. Ah, I violated a cardnial rule of debate, "Never start a sentence with, 'I think,'". Mrs. Freeman (my debate teacher) would be very disappointed. Anyways, you can not start a public fire without written consent from the city. To do so without it is illegal and disturbing the peace by arson. Furthermore, I doubt a city would or ever has in America to publicly burn the American flag. Reason being, is because it disturbs the peace anyways. If it's done for attention, then they're trying to attract negative attention, and that is not the point of protesting.

2. I defined the word descrate, and my source was not discredited. It is possible to describe something as violent without it causing direct harm. For example, a violent sneeze. The sneeze didn't beat up anyone, but it could still be described as such. It is a violent protest by your definition and the way you used the term desecrate.

3. I never stated this WAS treason. I said it acted as a SYMBOL for overthrowing the government by burning a symbolic flag in a public, symbolic manner. When WBC stated, "America is going to be destroyed." It conjours up an image of the government being overthrown. The statement itself wasn't treason, but you get the point that she is saying the government will be destroyed. The flag represents America. To burn it wanting public attention implies and draws to a symbol that America will burn/be destroyed.

4. If they do it on their property, they're not calling for public attention, which is what you said is the purpose of burning a flag. So, based on what you said, it seems unlikely they'll do it in their yard, because it would be a closed audience. If they're in public, they have a captive audience. After all, who wouldn't feel compelled to watch an American flag burning live in Time's Square?

For the reasons above, I urge you to vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
UmgebungItsallovernowTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
UmgebungItsallovernowTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: FF.