The Instigator
iq_two
Con (against)
Losing
33 Points
The Contender
littlelacroix
Pro (for)
Winning
44 Points

Flag burning should be banned.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/8/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,003 times Debate No: 3131
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (24)

 

iq_two

Con

Flag burning is a type of civil disobedience. It does not hurt anyone and can be an effective method of protest. Banning flag-burning violates the first ammendment. Although burning the flag can be considered disrespectful, that does not mean it should be illegal.
littlelacroix

Pro

Hi there. I've never debated anyone on this before but we'll see how it goes.

1. "It doesn't hurt anyone and can be an effective method of protest."

First of all, it hurts the morale of the American people. Although no one is physically hurt from this, psychologically, it may have tolls on the conscience of people. Secondly, for what kind of protest would it be effective on? Anti-America? If you don't like this country and our ways, then get out and this won't be a problem. You can burn the flag all you want. If you're Anti-Bush, that's fine, but he's still the leader of our country and we must support him. Any protest you want, flag burning isn't a reasonable means of solving anything.

2. "Banning flag-burning violates the first [amendment]."

There are limits to any rights we may have. For example, if I were to say "I'm going to kill the President," I would have broken the law because, although I'm guaranteed freedom of speech, saying that is just wrong. That's why we have laws against libel and slander, it violate both freedom of speech and press, but if it's untrue, then it shouldn't be said. If a victim is seen, then yes, it is a crime.

3. "Although burning the flag can be considered disrespectful, that does not mean it should be illegal."

Flag burning is extremely disrespectful, but, as with all laws, if there is a victim, there should be a crime. In a perfect world, nobody would be a victim, therefore, we should be striving towards the ultimate goal of a better society. Thus, I stand that flag burning should be banned, should be illegal.

I await your rebuttal. Thank you
Debate Round No. 1
iq_two

Con

Thank you for debating me.

1.First of all, it hurts the morale of the American people. Although no one is physically hurt from this, psychologically, it may have tolls on the conscience of people.

If seeing someone burn a flag is psychologically harmful to someone, they must have very thin skin. And even if it is psychologically harmful, are we going to ban everything that can be psychologically harmful? What about disturbig books? Most great classics can be very disturbing. What about the news? If seeing someone burn a flag is psychologically harmful, seeing most of what is on the news is surely much more so.

2. Secondly, for what kind of protest would it be effective on? Anti-America?

There are lots of things it could be an effective protest on, as burning the flag could call attention to whatever issue is being protested. And whether it would be effective isn't really the point- you can say flag burning is an ineffective means of protest because it won't stop what's being protested against, but the same logic applies to most means of protest such as picketing. Usually the point of protests is less to directly stop the problem than to call attention to it.
The main issue flag-burning would be a protest on is first ammendment rights- if flag burning is banned, people will burn flags to protest for their right to do so. Actually, people are far more likely to engage in flag-burning if it is banned.

3. If you don't like this country and our ways, then get out and this won't be a problem.

You can disagree with some things in our country and still love America. If you really love America, you should work to make it even better by fixing the problems, not just ignore them.

4. If you're Anti-Bush, that's fine, but he's still the leader of our country and we must support him.

No, we don't have to, in America we have the freedom not to like our political leaders, but that's a matter for a different debate.

5. Any protest you want, flag burning isn't a reasonable means of solving anything.

As I said, it's less likely to be a way to solve problems as a way to call attention to them.

6.There are limits to any rights we may have.

Yes. But the limits to first ammendment speech are if it hurts someone. Which flag-burning doesn't do.

7. For example, if I were to say "I'm going to kill the President," I would have broken the law because, although I'm guaranteed freedom of speech, saying that is just wrong.

No, you would have broken the law not because it's just wrong but because it is a threat, which could cause harm to the president because you may plan to actually carry it out.

8. That's why we have laws against libel and slander, it violate both freedom of speech and press, but if it's untrue, then it shouldn't be said.

Again, libel and slander hurt people's reputations.

9.If a victim is seen, then yes, it is a crime.

But there is no victim in flag-burning!!

10. Flag burning is extremely disrespectful, but, as with all laws, if there is a victim, there should be a crime.

Again, flag burning does not have a victim!!!

11. In a perfect world, nobody would be a victim, therefore, we should be striving towards the ultimate goal of a better society.

Absolutely. But banning flags would make our society worse by curtailing freedom, not better.

You make the point several times that if there is a victim,l it should be a crime. But flag-burning does not have a victim. It might annoy or even anger people who see it, but you can't really say that seeing someone burn a flag actually hurts anyone. The flag cannt be said to be the victim. After all, it is only really a piece of red white and blue cloth. It symbolizes America, but the country is not the victim either- it is not hrt when someone burns that piece of red, white, and blue cloth. Rather, America would be hurt much more if people's freedoms are taken away.
littlelacroix

Pro

Like you said, the flag is a symbol of America. It is also a symbol of our freedom, it is a tribute to those who have fought on behalf of our great nation, it is a symbol to those who have died to give you the right to protest in the first place. If you burn the flag, you not only burn the spirit of our nation, but you dishonor those who have defended your right to say such things. If you think that you are just burning a piece of cloth, you're wrong! You're burning our history.

Flag burning was originally done by enemy nations who wanted to threaten and possibly attack the US. Today, terrorists are the main ones to burn the American flag. Do you really want to be associated with terrorists? They burn it because they want to destroy the freedom that we are trying to promote. I'm not necessarily calling you a terrorist, but if you are willing to burn our history, then you might as well leave the country. A true American wouldn't burn the flag after all that has happened to our nation. During trying times, the American Revolution was the creation of the American flag. In the War of 1812, as our National Anthem was being written, all Francis Scott Key could see was the American flag. Even during the Civil War, we managed to preserve the symbol of freedom. It has even endured two world wars. People can ignore books or even the news, but if they are walking by in the streets and see you burning the flag, they can't just ignore that. And thin skin? Are seriously going to advocate that? Like I said, most people associate flag burning with terrorism. If people walk by, they may feel unsafe. Also, it is a disgrace and most people would agree. If you say no victim and truly believe it, you are no true Patriot.

There are victims, whether you are willing to acknowledge them or not. But even like you said, this is just to raise awareness. So, what's wrong with picketing? Strikes? Or even just raising awareness through talking with others? Why do you honestly feel the need to burn the symbol of America just to raise awareness. Furthermore, your problems will actually increase with this. If people see you burning a flag, is that going to raise positive or negative attention? You, and anyone who reads this, must see that there are better, more positive and effective means of protesting.

Finally, when you said that we have laws against libel and slander, we have them to protect people's reputation. If the US government doesn't stand up for itself, others will see that we just let our citizens do whatever, if we give up one issue, it will lead to another and another until no law exists. Again, you must see that a law banning flag burning is to protect a reputation, the reputation of America.

Between true Americans, those who fight for our country, and our government itself, there are victims of this, and thus, it should be illegal.
Debate Round No. 2
iq_two

Con

First of all, would you please provide a source for your "fact" that flag burning was originally done by enemy nations and is now done by terrorists? It is my belief that flag burning is usually done by protestors and was originally done, or at least popularized, by protestors against the Vietnam War. The sources I found (http://www.esquilax.com..., http://www.law.umkc.edu..., http://en.wikipedia.org...) confirm this, although they don't specifically say it hasn't been used bye enemies or terrorists.

You keep repeating that flag burning has victims. WHO ARE THE VICTIMS? How does burning a flag hurt anyone? Yes, it might annoy people, even anger them, but it does not injure anyone enough to be a crime. Would you really be psychologically scarred from seeing someone burn a flag? Laws cannot protect everyone from everything, They exist to protect us from harm, not from being annoyed or upset shocked or angered. Flag burning does not hurt anyone. It DOES NOT have victims. You say that thinking so means that I am not a true Patriot. Besides for name-calling, do you have anything to support your position that there are victims of flag-burning???

You say that laws against flag-burning would protect the reputation of America. What reputation? Don't we want to keep the reputation of being a land of freedom and democracy? How does making laws restricting freedom do so? America is a great country. It is such a great country that it will not be harmed by people burning the flag. If you really believe that our country is so weak that that people burning flags is enough to harm it, maybe you're not a true patriot.

In Texas v. Johnson, the Supreme Court held that flag burning is expression protected by the first amendment. Our Constitution, the document that embodies our laws and ideals, protects flag-burning. The Constitution is just as much a symbol of America as the flag is.

You said that other methods of protest are just as effective as flag-burning, which is more likely to call negative attention to the protestors. Agreed. I am not advocating that people should burn flags. I am saying that people should be ALLOWED to burn flags. If they do, you don't have to like them. Nobody has to like them. But the law should not prevent them from doing so. And the truth is, people are far more likely to burn flags if flag-burning is made illegal. If it's legal to burn flags, flag-burning is not a very effective method of protest. But if it is banned, there will be a rush to burn flags to protest against the denial of our first amendment right to do so.

By burning the flag, you are not burning our history. If someone burns a flag, they will not be burning every flag in the country. They will not be burning the original flags or flags of historical significance, and if they were, they could be prosecuted for destroying property, and a charge of flag-burning would not be necessary. If someone burns a flag, in all likelihood they will be burning some cheap flag that was probably made in a sweatshop in China.

Yes, our flag stands for America, for, as the pledge of allegiance says, this one indivisible nation under God with liberty and justice for all. But when you burn a flag, you are not destroying America. You are not destroying the land, the government, the ideals, or the people. You are destroying a flag, a piece of cloth. You are destroying the symbol, not what it symbolizes.
But when you pass laws restricting freedom, such as a law banning flag burning, you ARE destroying the country. The flag symbolizes our right to liberty, but liberty is not destroyed when you burn the flag, but when you deny people the right to express themselves by doing so. By banning flag-burning, you might physically save a piece of cloth from desecration, but in doing so you are desecrating the very values the flag stands for.
littlelacroix

Pro

Okay, so I'm going to skip around a little bit on my arguments.

For starters, on your Constitutional argument, I'll agree that the Constitution is just as much as a symbol as the flag as you had mentioned in your last speech. I have two things on this 1. Supreme Court cases can be overturned at later periods if more evidence has been brought up to change the Supreme Court's mind. 2. Since the Constitution is a symbol of America, do you think it right to burn that as a protest? No! The Constitution is a symbol of America, just like the flag, and that is why the government has put it under two inches of bulletproof glass to protect it. That is also why we have restrictions on when the flag may be displayed, to honor a great American symbol. The flag may only be displayed between sunrise and sunset, cannot be placed outside in bad weather, etc. What you don't seem to be understanding is that these laws have been put in place because people that lead our country are so dedicated to what it stands for, that they are willing to give up a minor freedom to honor the most free country on Earth.

Another thing is that we will never be 100% free. We will always have to give up freedoms to receive things, such as protection, in return. In every aspect of this country, we are not completely free. As a nation, the United States of America has been giving it's citizens as many freedoms as we possibly can, but if we were all completely free, anarchy would run loose in the streets. Furthermore, never is the Constitution followed to the last exact word. For instance, the Constitution allows for separation of church and state, yet politicians are still influenced by their religion. By now, you must see that this does not come completely down to a legal issue, but mostly a moral issue. If people people are angered, hurt or victimized by this, then it would be okay, but is it still okay? No, although we've been talking legal, it's more a matter of principle and that is what the government is standing up for.

Finally, if other methods of protests are better, than flag burning shouldn't be a big deal. However, you mention that people should just be allowed and if they aren't they'll go rushing and buy some flags to burn. This is a completely ridiculous argument for two main reasons 1. Most people will have enough sense not to burn the flag because they know this is morally wrong and 2. When drunk driving became an issue, did people just go out and start drinking while driving? No, of course there are some instances here and there, but people didn't go out of their way to drink and drive. However, this isn't really even an issue in this debate. If flag burning were to be banned, then those people to run out and burn flags would get in trouble, and, as all laws in the past, would eventually become part of our society; something that we just expect.

I thank you very much for this debate.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by rshortman 9 years ago
rshortman
I can't think of anything more disrespectful, repugnant and unneccessary as an American citizen burning the American flag. IQ, Perhaps you'd you enjoy another country more? How about Iran or communist China? Maybe France? Hell, I'll front the money to send your socialist a$$ there in a heartbeat. and don't EVER come back.
Posted by skiies23 9 years ago
skiies23
I have debated this topic before, in the con position... although not on this site. Pro brought up very effective means of protest: strikes, picketing... and I will include marches. But alas, we must now get special permits to have such demonstrations... protests worth of a burning flag, isn't it?

In many cases, such as the PATRIOT ACT, the politicians do more damage to the Constitution than any flag burning. And I love it when Pro states "If you're Anti-Bush, that's fine, but he's still the leader of our country and we must support him." First, Con didn't bring up Bush. Second, I'm sure everybody supported Clinton. Third, given our right as stated in the Declaration of Independence, if the government is worth of being overthrown, we all reserve that right.

Of course, many think that just means "voting" in elections, rather than the 'radical' idea of actually amassing an army of flag-burners on Washington, armed with pitchforks...
Posted by iq_two 9 years ago
iq_two
This is not a counterargment, I recognize the debate is over, but I just want to clarify what I meant. My point about people being more likely to burn flags if it's illegal wasn't that people will do something because it's a crime, it's that in the case of flag-burning, it's an act of protest, and banning it gives people something to protest.
Posted by Chuckles 9 years ago
Chuckles
yeah, it's still an interesting debate, but i don't know enough about it to really be a worthy opponent
Posted by iq_two 9 years ago
iq_two
Chuckles, you're right, I probably should have phrased that differently. I guess flag-burning would only be civil disobedience if it was illegal, if it's not it's not quite civil disobedience, just protest. I cinced the point that flag burning is not necessarily civil disobedience.
Posted by Yraelz 9 years ago
Yraelz
I'm seriously considering taking this one. Would be very difficult to debate though.
Posted by Chuckles 9 years ago
Chuckles
i don't want to take this debate cuz i agree with you, but you said "flag burning is a type of civil disobedience" your opponent could just define civil disobedience as breaking a law, yadayadayada. then he could say that civil disobedience should be banned because it is, after all, breaking the law.
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