The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
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Flag Desecration Should Be Banned Entirely

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/14/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,114 times Debate No: 28202
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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Today in my civics class, I watched an old video on the Texas v. Johnson case. I have always been against burning the flag, but seeing the disrespect from this "Revolutionary Communist Party" made my blood boil.

That flag is the representation of everything this country stands for. Those people burning the flag have received countless benefits from this country, including its freedoms.

People who burn flags, or even consider it an act of freedom of speech, are offending countless people. They are insulting our Founding Fathers who worked so hard to establish what we have today. They are insulting every American soldier who has been killed, injured, or captured fighting for this country. They are insulting every family who receives an American flag when they lose a loved one to war.

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to speak to a man who lived in DC during the 9/11 attacks. His wife worked in the Pentagon, and she was killed. As soon as he heard about the attacks, he immediately went to the Pentagon to search for his wife. He spent the entire morning assisting EMTs and trying to get closer to the building. He had carried out countless bodies. Just when everyone was losing the little bit of hope they had left, a fireman came out of the smoking hole in the side of the Pentagon. He was carrying an American flag. He walked onto the lawn, stuck the flag pole in the ground, and everyone cheered. This moment gave the man I spoke to the strength to carry on and care for his family.

That is just one example of how much an American flag can mean to someone. When someone justifies flag burning, they should consider stories like this.


I think this is an interesting topic and I would like to thank my opponent for bringing it up. I personally do not agree with flag desecration, but on a legal and practical level, it is necessary for the government to recognize that flag desecration is an act of freedom of speech and should not be prohibited.

Opponent's arguments:

My opponent did not demonstrate how the presented arguments/anecdotes coherently translate into justification for the prohibition of flag desecration, so I will state my interpreted meanings after each argument I restate.

1. Flag desecration is an insult to the people who stand for what the respective flag represents.

Interpreted meaning: Insulting what people believe in by using physical actions, that is not prohibited independently, is not an act of freedom of speech, and thus the legality of it is illegitimate.

2. Pentagon incident...

Interpreted meaning:The act of flag desecration can be psychologically traumatizing to a person to a point of post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD)(1).

My rebuttal:

I assume freedom of speech is accepted to be appropriate on a legal level for this debate. My burden is to demonstrate how flag desecration is an act of freedom of speech and how it should not be interpreted as an act of psychologically traumatizing that could lead to a PTSD.

Freedom of speech was instituted for the reason that a government cannot suppress an individual or a group within the nation. Without freedom of speech, a government will rise with too much power and control and one will see events similar to the Tienanmen Square Protests of 1989(2). Flag desecration can generally be categorized as a form of protest, so the controversial issue that is surfaced is whether it is a peaceful or a violent act. In this case, violence can be defined as physical or mental harm to another living person, or destruction of another individual's property or public property (flags are not public property; if you can purchase a flag as a citizen, it is no longer categorized as property belonging to the public). Burning one's own flag does not physically harm another person OR vandalize another's property.

Flag desecration would not psychologically traumatize an individual because, although a flag may represent virtues or symbolize beliefs, a flag can be reproduced and still hold the same value as any other flag. In other words, scarcity is not an attribute for flags and an insult is as far as flag desecration can be interpreted. The values of the flag still remain intact. Additionally, there has been no accounts of individuals going through PTSD after witnessing flag desecration. The symptoms of this disorder resulting from such events are far-fetched, improbable, and even ridiculous.

Conclusion: Flag desecration does not physically/mentally harm another person and does not vandalize public/private property. Flag desecration cannot be classified as an act of violence and is a form of protest. Therefore, there is not enough justification for prohibition to restrict such acts because flag desecration is a peaceful form of protest.

Debate Round No. 1


katelyn85 forfeited this round.


I assume victory. Thank you for your participation in this debate, and I hope the audienced enjoyed it at some level.
Debate Round No. 2


What we are forgetting here is that the flag is a symbol of our freedom, correct?
So people are claiming that they are allowed to burn the flag due to freedom of speech.
However, it's a paradox. They are destroying something that gives them the freedom to destroy it.
Our country gives these people the freedom of speech, but then they turn their backs on the country.


It's not a paradox... it maybe somewhat contradictory, but Pro is running off on a tangent. The debate is focused on the legality of flag desecration. My opponent has failed to demonstrate why it should be prohibited other than personal opinion.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by alanyuen 5 years ago
To whoever views this debate, please vote! Thanks! :)
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