The Instigator
denisemarie323
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
petersaysstuff
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points

Flag burning amendment

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/19/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,210 times Debate No: 15474
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)

 

denisemarie323

Pro

The flag burning amendment, is a controversial proposed constitutional amendment to the United States Constitution that would allow the United States Congress to prohibit expression of political views through the physical desecration of the flag of the United States. The concept of flag desecration continues to provoke a heated debate over protecting a national symbol, protecting free speech, and protecting the liberty represented by a national symbol.

The American flag, represents more than 200 years of our history and has come to be the visible symbol which embodies our Nation. It does NOT represent the views of any particular political party, and it does not represent any particular political philosophy therefore, Burning the flag is irrelevant and disrespectful to our nation.

Im looking forward to hearing my opponents views on this debate.
petersaysstuff

Con

I would first like to thank my opponent for challenging me to this debate and I humbly accept.
Roadmap: Definitions, Refutations, Arguments.

//Definitions\
Flag burning: "the act of burning a flag, especially the flag of a nation as an act of protest at that nation's activities"[1]
Freedom of expression: "Freedom of expression is a principle contained in various human rights documents. Its
objective is to ensure that people are able to communicate and express opinions, in public,
private, either written or spoken, without the interference of the state or others" [2]

//Refutations\
The main thing my opponent is arguing is that because the flag doesn't represent any one party or political ideology it is
irrelevant to burn it. Only half of this is true. It is true that the flag doesn't represent any one party but it does represent the American ideology. The flag is recognizable as the symbol of America and regardless of whether it was meant to or not, it is seen as representing the ideologies of America. Thusly, burning the flag is not irrelevant, it is a way of expressing dissent towards US policies or ideologies that we may disagree with.

//Arguments\
The first and foremost reason for supporting the right to burn the flag is that our constitution guarantees us the right to freedom of expression and taking that away is truly disrespecting our nation. What we are doing by passing this amendment is desecrating the most fundamental of American virtues and a thing we fought so hard to get. Freedom of speech/expression is a core value of the American republic and without it we cease to be American. So for my opponent to win this debate they must argue against freedom of speech and/or prove it is a bad thing.

I await my opponents return.

[1] http://en.wiktionary.org...
[2] http://www.genderit.org...
Debate Round No. 1
denisemarie323

Pro

Refutations;
The main thing my opponent is stating is that the burning tha glad is going against freedom of speech and disecrating american virtues. My argument is that burning or desecrating a flag is an action and vandalizing, not speech, so how is that covered under the First Amendment? If making an amendement to protect the national symbol of our country "desecrating the most fundamental of american virtues" then how isn't burning the flag descrating Americans virtues with the utmost disrespect.

We have brave soldiers fighting for our country everyday, risking their lives for all U.S citizens. They look to the flag with pride and see the flag as a symbol of their country. When people burn the flag they are disrespecting our soldiers who we should be thanking, they are disrespecting the country in which they live in. People say that its their right to burn the flag, but in no place is it written that freedom of speech includes vandalizing the american flag.
petersaysstuff

Con

//Defending\
I think my opponent fails to see what I am arguing. I am saying that making an amendment saying that people cannot burn the flag is going against American virtues, not the actual burning. Next my opponent is arguing that freedom of speech and that of expression are different but this is just no true. As the New York Institute for Special Education says:
"(also known as "free speech") The right of a person to speak or publish statements freely without fear of punishment. Free expression is vital to democratic government." [1] This clearly shows that freedom of speech and that of expression are one in the same seeing as speech in just a form of expression therefore if you look to my previous definition of flag burning we can see that it is a form of expression and thus is protected under the first amendment.
Burning the flag is not disrespecting the soldiers, it is a form of protest. And we are exercising the first amendment right that they are protecting and thus by us exercising it we are glad that they have protected it so as we can see we are not disrespecting the soldiers at all.

//Overview\
The main thing that is being stated is that nowhere in the constitution is the "vandalizing" of the flag protected but burning the flag is a form of expression and freedom of expression is promised in the constitution and thus we can see that not letting people burn the flag is going against one of the fundamental virtues of our society.

[1] http://www.nyise.org...
Debate Round No. 2
denisemarie323

Pro

I agree that freedom of speech entails expression but here is the contradiction..
We are honoring the "fundamental virtues of our society" by allowing people to use their freedom of expression to burn the flag, but the flag IS the ultimate representation of those virtues. SO heres my question, Why would we allow people to burn our flag if it symbolizes our freedom, our country, and those fundamental virtues? Is thtat not literally going against our virtues?

The Flag is much more than cloth; It is a symbols of a country's past, hardships, ideals, aspirations, and identity. To attack a flag is to attack these very symbols.
petersaysstuff

Con

//I don't know what this is xD\
So here my opponent conceded that free speech is also expression so therefore if we stop people from burning the flag we are violating their First Amendment right and this has to be flowed across the round because, as we shall see, the only thing my opponent is arguing is a contradiction.

//We are honoring the "fundamental virtues of our society" by allowing people to use their freedom of expression to burn the flag, but the flag IS the ultimate representation of those virtues. SO heres my question, Why would we allow people to burn our flag if it symbolizes our freedom, our country, and those fundamental virtues? Is thtat not literally going against our virtues?//

Answer: The flag is not just symbolic of our virtues but it is seen worldwide and it represents American military hegemony which everyone doesn't agree with. But one very important thing that must be said is that the flag is merely symbolic, passing the amendment will actually take away our rights and thus the flag is not symbolic of anything anymore. For the flag to even have symbolism, the right to freedom of expression must remain intact, if it isn't then the flag itself doesn't represent our virtues. So the restate, the flag is merely a representation of the actual rights that are being taken away. If they are taken away the flag won't represent anything anymore so if we really want to respect our virtues you mustn't take away our rights.

//Overview\
So my opponent entirely dropped the soldier argument thus conceding that burning the flag is exercising our rights which they are protecting and us exercising rights is honoring their commitment. Nextly, my opponent has not addressed the fact that they must argue against freedom of speech which is a very important voting issue. Lastly, my argument about freedom of expression still stands and thus I await Pro's responses.
Debate Round No. 3
denisemarie323

Pro

response: I am not just arguing a contradiction, i was simply stating how opponents argument is contradicting their idea of " fundamental virtues of our society. Also my opponent said that the flag is not just symbolic of our virtues, but the militia. Then you stated that the flag is merely symbolic, so im unclear where you stand on that point. so lets focus on the important argument and that is whether or not its violating human rights.

-But to get back to the main argument of freedom of speech/expression i would like to prove that the amendment does not support nonverbal speech, therefore burning of the flag is non-verbal so it is not protected under this amendment. So making an amendment to protect the flag does not violate the human rights.

As Sen. Chuck Grassley said in supporting the Vitter proposal, "if you read the debate in 1790 the First Amendment was NOT written to protect nonverbal speech . . . . [W]e want to make sure we get the Constitution back to its original intent before the Supreme Court screwed it up"

Also the Declaration provides this quote for freedom of expression in Article 11, which states that:
"The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but SHALL be responsible for such ABUSES of this freedom as shall be defined by law." [6]

Definition: Freedom of speech; is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The synonymous term freedom of expression is sometimes used to indicate not only freedom of verbal speech but any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, such as on "hate speech".

Now this proves my argument that freedom of speech and expression is for verbal speech or any act seeking, recieving and imparting info or ideas, which would be acts such as printing,writing,speaking. This does not protect the right to act out violently or express hate through desecrating items such as the flag.
petersaysstuff

Con

//Refutations\
I said that the flag is symbolic of our virtues as well as our military and so forth. But that is all it is, symbolism. I have been arguing that it is merely symbolic the entire time. I have not changed my argument at all.

Here we get to the fun part, my opponent previously, in round 3, conceded that free speech entailed expressions: "I agree that freedom of speech entails expression but here is the contradiction.." thus there is a contradiction in my opponent's own argument. My opponent said in this round: "the amendment does not support nonverbal speech, therefore burning of the flag is non-verbal so it is not protected under this amendment" but here is the problem, my opponent conceded that free speech entails expression and if we look to Princeton's definition of expression: "expression without words; "tears are an expression of grief"; "the pulse is a reflection of the heart's condition"" [1] we can see that because the amendment protects free speech and free speech entails expression and expression can be non-verbal, the amendment protects non-verbal expression.

In response to the quote by Sen. Grassley, so what? He can argue what ever he wants but that doesn't make it so. My opponent has conceded that free speech entails expression therefore the first amendment protects the right to burn the flag.

Here my opponent makes a major mistake, he is quoting the Declaration of the Rights of Man which was a French Declaration, not an American one! The quote that is used is directly out of article 11 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man.[2] So as we can see, quoting this proves nothing about the right to burn the American flag.

We can ignore this definition because a)I previously provided a definition in my first speech and it has went uncontested and b) my opponent has conceded that freedom of speech entails expression therefore this definition is pointless.

//Overview\
My opponent conceded a major part saying that freedom of speech entails expression and I provide a definition of expression from Princeton that says that it is non-verbal expression so we can obviously see that it is protected under the first amendment. Also, my opponent has provided no sources for anything and thus we must take all quotes, definitions and so forth with a grain of salt whereas, if we look to my speeches, I provide sources for all things that require them. Thusly, I await Pro's responses.

[1] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
[2] http://www.hrcr.org...
Debate Round No. 4
denisemarie323

Pro

yes i did say it freedom of speech of is a form of expression , i did not say expression through actions. speaking, writing, printing is a form of expression. Burning the flag is disrespectful, unlawful, and goes against our virtues. Also i would like to add that just cause i didnt provide sources doesnt mean its untrue, i highly doubt you would click on each link, its irrelevant and a waste of our time.

i stand by my opinion and thank you for your time to debate this topic.
petersaysstuff

Con

I will be refuting what my opponent said, giving an overview and then providing voting Issues.

//RefutationsSpeaking, writing and printing are actions. Every form of expression is, in someway, an action so this argument falls.
It may be diesrespectful to you but that doesn't mean an amendment taking away our rights is good. It is not illegal [2] nor does it go against our virtues. What would go against our virtues would be limiting rights.
I didn't say things without sources are untrue, I said we must take them with a grain of salt because you could make them up. You also should never make assumptions on what I would or would not click.

//OverviewMy opponent has not extended any arguments yet he merely said "I stand by my opinion" thusly we must extend all of my arguments, mainly the one about the fact that the amendment is killing our first amendment rights and thus is destroying our virtues. This went uncontested this round and thus I should win on this alone.

//Voting issuesI extend all my arguments but what must be evaluated is the fact that the law to make burning the flag illegal is killing our first amendment rights and this has gone uncontested through this last round and thus I should win on that alone. Please evaluate on any other things you see in the round.

I would also like to thank my opponent for this fun debate.

~~Peter

[1] http://answers.yahoo.com...
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by wolfhaines 5 years ago
wolfhaines
It is just a flag, a piece of cloth that is unique only in design from any other flag. The flag does not represent the USA, the free, democratic and peaceful election of the President represents the USA. Only those who have an uncertainty of what their country represents can be offended by the burning of a generic flag. The scouts burn the flag all the time, as they view it as the only respectful way to end the service of it.
If somebody burnt the original USA flag, or one that was used at Gettysburg etc, THAT would be disrespectful, not because of what it represents, but of its historical significance.

In the UK you will would struggle to find a house with a Union Flag outside, or struggle to find someone who would look at a flag in a bin and find offence. Not because there is no patriotism, but because the British are linked by multi-ethnic values, and beliefs that go far beyond a flag designed by some bloke hundreds of years ago.

The USA doesn't need a flag to tell it who it is and what it should be proud of, to be able to watch your flag being burnt in a protest and standing there and saying "So what! The greatness of our country doesn't diminish in the ashes of that cloth!" is one of the most defiant acts of patriotism out there.
Posted by boredinclass 5 years ago
boredinclass
I just have one question- Is there an epidemic of flag burning that I'm not aware of?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
denisemarie323petersaysstuffTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro needed to provide warrant for the many assertions made.
Vote Placed by Ryanconqueso 5 years ago
Ryanconqueso
denisemarie323petersaysstuffTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Con wrote very compelling arguments and had valid points, backed with sources. I understand pro's devotion to her personal opinions but that is exactly what they are without refutation.
Vote Placed by boredinclass 5 years ago
boredinclass
denisemarie323petersaysstuffTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments were either well-defended, or unanswered. While pro made the same (already defeated) assertian.