The Instigator
abard124
Pro (for)
Winning
19 Points
The Contender
Miles_Finch
Con (against)
Losing
18 Points

Flag desecration should be legal

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
abard124
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/17/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,301 times Debate No: 9243
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (6)

 

abard124

Pro

I have recently debated the topic "Flag desecration should always be legal." Although that is exactly what I believe and it was an extremely fun debate, it relied mostly upon semantics, and it didn't really work with the issue at hand, which is flag desecration.

My first argument will revolve around the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the first amendment, it basically gives us such basic human rights as speech, press, assembly, petition, and religion. Now, in 1787, the founding fathers did not anticipate that 222 years later, people would not understand their terminology well. I guess they thought it was common knowledge that the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression were synonymous. Shame on you, Thomas! Anyway, they are the same, therefore people who speak in sign language are able to insult the government. It also means that flipping off or mooning someone are not punishable offenses. It also means that you can burn a flag freely without being arrested.

Now, don't think for a second that I think that flag desecration is a good thing to do. I think it's horribly rude and I would never do it. I would also never cheat on my wife or sass my mother, but they should still be legal. Honestly, I think people should be encouraged to write their elected officials and petition the government. The democratic system is not complete without the people. However, if your way to express your frustration is to burn Old Glory, it borders on oppressive for the government to stop you.

I am excited for your response and the beginning of a great debate!
Miles_Finch

Con

I thank my opponent for making this debate. What I will be trying to do here is prove that Flag desecration shouldn't be legal.
The problem here has to do with the first amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

This amendment is the whole problem, it does let us say what we want to say without the government preventing us, but the problem here is that people take advantage of this amendment and do whatever they want to because the government can't stop us from talking.

I think I know something that will counter making it legal and that is flag code (Etiquette). The Flag Etiquette section 8: " No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America". This section states that No disrespect can be shown to the flag, Flag desecration is a form of disrespect and goes against this code which would make it illegal.

Now even if this doesn't work (Flag Etiquette stopping Flag desecration) we must consider something else, WHY are they doing this, of course this is out of disrespect but what do they have against the USA? There are many people who hate the USA but I believe they should try to fix what they believe is wrong with the USA. They could do what Martin Luther King Jr. did and do peaceful protest/marches, they could do like what you said and send a petition to the government and write to their elected officials. I would like to bring up the Civil right movement by Martin Luther King Jr, what he did was he tried to change the government or influence the government to give more rights to African Americans. Now let me ask you this would he have changed anything if he just want around burning flags? No, he would not.
This is my Argument here that Flag Etiquette would stop Flag Desecration because it goes against it(the code) and that if they don't like the USA they should try and change it instead of acting in a childish manner.

Best of luck against my Opponent, I will enjoy reading what he has to say against my argument.

This link right here talks about Flag Etiquette

http://www.ushistory.org...

This is another link for Flag Etiquette, it might have more on it and it might be in a format that will be easier to read.

http://www.usflag.org...

The first link will bring you to Section 8 that I mention earlier in the debate.

This is the Bill of rights

http://www.law.cornell.edu...

Before I end this, please take your time (Pro) to read over what I wrote, carefully.
Debate Round No. 1
abard124

Pro

Thank you for responding!

"This amendment is the whole problem, it does let us say what we want to say without the government preventing us, but the problem here is that people take advantage of this amendment and do whatever they want to because the government can't stop us from talking."
I'm sorry that you feel that the first amendment is not good, but it isn't going to change. If you wish to debate the first amendment, you can do that, but for now, we aren't changing the constitution.

"I think I know something that will counter making it legal and that is flag code (Etiquette)."
I really wish they wouldn't make laws regarding etiquette. I feel like laws should be to protect people. But if wouldn't accept that the first amendment was wrong, it would be unfair for me to say that we should repeal the flag code. I must say, though, that if it contradicts the constitution, the constitution wins. In other words, if I say that flag desecration is protected by the first amendment, and you say it is illegal through the flag code, the first amendment takes precedence.

"WHY are they doing this, of course this is out of disrespect but what do they have against the USA? There are many people who hate the USA but I believe they should try to fix what they believe is wrong with the USA."
I agree, and I feel that it doesn't fix much to burn a flag, but if that's their way, why should it be in the law's place to stop them? That is the most important question, which you need to answer if you want to be successful in this debate.

I feel like it borders on oppression to make laws based upon behavior which does not affect anyone else. It especially borders on oppression if those behavioral laws regard respect to the government. Let me revise that previous sentence. It IS oppression if those behavioral laws regard respect to the government.

I am looking forward to your response!
Miles_Finch

Con

This debate has gotten interesting, this is going to be hard to counter you.

"I must say, though, that if it contradicts the constitution, the constitution wins. In other words, if I say that flag desecration is protected by the first amendment, and you say it is illegal through the flag code, the first amendment takes precedence."

What gives it precedence over the Flag code? They are both Federal Laws, one was made both the other one, but that doesn't mean that one gets special privileges because it came both, and visa verse the flag code isn't more important than the first amendment because it is younger, with this it means they are both equal.

How is making the Flag desecration illegal oppression by the government?

Oppression: unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power

How is stopping people from burning the flag cruel exercise of authority or power? How is it unjust? If this was a law it would most likely be a fine or forced to do community service.

I do understand where you are trying to go with this and I have proof of real oppression.

Let's turn back the clocks to the American Revolution, well better yet WHY we wanted our Independence, the reason we want it was because the King could make as many laws, rules, and tax us to no end and we would not be able to stop him(because he prevented that or at least tried to), excepted by going to war against him, but now in America we can represent ourselves the citizens of America and want we want.

Now what happens if we have no to very little law and order let's say the Wild West.

The Wild West had no law and order and people could do what they want when they want to, because the government's power wasn't out that far into the west yet, now this would be nice but because there is no Law and order people felt that they can get away with anything because the have no fear of being caught doing something they know is wrong. Only when the government put their foot down and had a gun, did people act more urbane.

I just showed you two extremes that are true and did happen in the past. There is one where the government is too controlling and the people felt like the can do nothing but go to war, and another one has to do with no government power and people going out of control. The American government most of the time hasn't done anything that is considered oppression, they have a balance between Law and order and Freedom with just enough of each. It's for example a dog with a two feet leash they have lots of freedom but they still need to be watched and make sure the dog behaviors. The government is the same thing it gives the people freedom to do what they want but sometimes they have to enforce the law to show that the people can't walk all over the government. If you don't like that example just think about a parent making sure their child is within arms reach, they give them freedom to move around but they want to make sure they are safe.

You may value what the country has to offer as in freedom in believing what ever you want to believe but the government still has to make sure people don't abusive their rights, because in other countries they don't get those kind of rights.

"I feel like it borders on oppression to make laws based upon behavior which does not affect anyone else."
The Laws are made to protect people like you have stated if the law protects people from people who are unable to perform in society, would that be considered oppression? It only affects people who are unable to control themselves no more, but I am getting off topic.

Now why would there be a law to stop them from doing that is the main question? If they don't put this law is effort then people could just burn down the Statue of Liberty because they are expressing themselves or because that is how they feel about America, or if that's their way.

What I'm saying is it without this law Logically a person could burn down symbols of America. This wouldn't matter if this is outside of the USA because we have no control over them, but if it's America's own citizens that are doing it then it means people don't truly understand how blessed they are to live in a country like this, people should stop asking for more freedom from the government, because too much of anything is a bad thing, even freedom.

Hopefully I am not coming off as being extreme and using your emotions and fears against you, but what I've said is reasonable, could it happen? ...maybe, we may never now, but we know that limited government isn't a good idea. I'm also looking forward to your response, for you threw me a curve ball there.

This is the link I used to define Oppression

http://www.merriam-webster.com...

This is the link I used to define urbane

http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
Debate Round No. 2
abard124

Pro

Thank you for your quick and thoughtful response!

"What gives it precedence over the Flag code?"
The first amendment is in the constitution, and the flag code is not.

"Oppression: unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power"
Here's a tip for debating. When someone provides a definition which may not entirely be to your favor, always check the dictionary. Did you look at 1B? "Something that oppresses especially in being an unjust or excessive exercise of power." I feel like it is excessively using power. I also feel like it is unjust and cruel, but the "excessive" really stands out.

"the reason we want it was because the King could make as many laws, rules, and tax us to no end and we would not be able to stop him."
Which is quite a good argument for the first amendment, which you earlier said was not good. He wanted to take away our freedom of religion, as well as other reasons. I might also want to point out that, while there isn't any documented evidence of a british flag burn, there was the Boston Tea party. So we say that that is justified? It only made the British government more mad at us.

"now this would be nice but because there is no Law and order people felt that they can get away with anything because the have no fear of being caught doing something they know is wrong."
Quite true. They were robbing people...killing people...burning flags... I think that you made an argument against anarchy, but it doesn't hold much water in the realm of flag desecration.

"The American government most of the time hasn't done anything that is considered oppression, they have a balance between Law and order and Freedom with just enough of each."
I think a good example of when they went overboard is abolition. They made a law which they realized was unfair and oppressive, so they fixed it.

"It's for example a dog with a two feet leash they have lots of freedom but they still need to be watched and make sure the dog behaviors [sic]."
You are still missing the point. I am not against laws, I am only against the unfair sort.

"think about a parent making sure their child is within arms reach, they give them freedom to move around but they want to make sure they are safe."
Would it realistically endanger anyone to burn a flag?

"the government still has to make sure people don't abusive [sic] their rights"
But is it abusing any rights to exercise your right of peaceful protest?

"If they don't put this law is effort then people could just burn down the Statue of Liberty because they are expressing themselves or because that is how they feel about America, or if that's their way."
You make a very valid point, but there are definitely flaws. The first of which is that you don't own the statue of liberty, so it's arson. Also, there is only one statue of liberty, and there are probably people in it, so it would also be murder or at least attempted murder. Also, honestly, Lady Liberty is a huge landmark, and there are millions of flags, and they're usually died pieces of either cloth of vinyl. Yes, it does have a wonderful image on it, but it shouldn't be sacred.

"maybe, we may never now, but we know that limited government isn't a good idea."
So you are arguing for a totalitarian regime? We have to limit our government. Have you ever looked at what happened in Stalinist Russia and Maoist China? They didn't limit their government, and the results were awful. In each, many, many people died. The results of every single totalitarian regime have been absolutely devastating.

I would like to thank my opponent for 2 most excellent arguments and one more to come. Even though your arguments were so good, though, you have not quite negated the resolution completely, and therefore I urge a pro vote. Even so, my opponent did a commendable job, and I would like to thank him for that.

I am looking forward to your final argument!
Miles_Finch

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for this wonderful debate, but unfortunately I think he missed what I was trying to say.

"Here's a tip for debating. When someone provides a definition which may not entirely be to your favor, always check the dictionary. Did you look at 1B? "Something that oppresses especially in being an unjust or excessive exercise of power." I feel like it is excessively using power. I also feel like it is unjust and cruel, but the "excessive" really stands out."

I did look at 1B, but I kind of find it a bit redundant to use the word that you are defining in the sentence that is suppose to define it.

"Which is quite a good argument for the first amendment, which you earlier said was not good. He wanted to take away our freedom of religion, as well as other reasons. I might also want to point out that, while there isn't any documented evidence of a British flag burn, there was the Boston Tea party. So we say that that is justified? It only made the British government more mad at us."

What I mean it wasn't good was it wasn't worded good, this brings me to this point. The point is interpretations, many people when they read the first amendment.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances"

Think that the government can't stop them from expressing themselves, but we must understand the mindset doing the time the Bill of Rights were written. When our foundering Fathers got together to form our nation and wrote this amendment they weren't thinking about burning flags as a form of expressing. Our Foundering Fathers might consider that a violent act or an attack against the government even though it may not look like it. Even though there are lots things they didn't know could be use as expressing, generally they might accept some forms, I would doubt they would accept Flag desecration.

Flag desecration would be illegal because it goes against what our Foundering Fathers had it mind when they wrote that amendment, the only way that would be consider legal is if our government became controlling and went against our rights, caused suffering to its citizens, and became unreasonable, which they haven't yet.

What my opponent missed is that I understood his fear of the government talking over, That is why I talked about the American revolution, the fear of a government that controls everything, but my opponent also missed why I was talking about the Wild West, this is my fear that the government may become too limited(or have no power to stop their citizens from committing crimes) in its ability to help its citizens with the basic needs.

"I think a good example of when they went overboard is abolition. They made a law which they realized was unfair and oppressive, so they fixed it."

A oppression government would have not changed the law, in my eyes the way the government can be oppression is if all three branches of the government work together to make people suffer, and other ways I said, but this comes back being subjective one person may state that something is cruel when another person would not think of it as being cruel. The government is design to represent the people and if 80% of the people since abolition is wrong then the government will make laws against abolition, but say 80% of the people think that abolition is right then the government will make laws that reflect that, of course in most Controversial problems it is spilt down the middle and it is hard for a government to represent the people if half believe it is wrong and the other believes it is wrong , of course there are many factors that are part of the government but generally that is their job.

"You are still missing the point. I am not against laws, I am only against the unfair sort."
Because there are so many people in the country and because some many of them have different opinions there is no way that the government can create laws that ever single person in the USA will agree on. One person may say it is unfair that you have to wait to you are 18 to vote, but another person may say it is fair because generally that is when most people start to or are mature enough to vote.

"Would it realistically endanger anyone to burn a flag?"
Sorry I was only stating part of the governments job is to protect their citizens.

"But is it abusing any rights to exercise your right of peaceful protest?"
No peaceful protest doesn't abuse any rights because the first amendment protects peaceful assembly, but when I mean abuse I mean hate speeches, I mean harassing people with words, and that is what I mean by abusing our rights. Our foundering Fathers didn't think about hate speeches; I am not sure if there was such a thing as a hate speeches back them, but whatever it was called that is not what they were saying in the first amendment.

"You make a very valid point, but there are definitely flaws. The first of which is that you don't own the statue of liberty, so it's arson. Also, there is only one statue of liberty, and there are probably people in it, so it would also be murder or at least attempted murder. Also, honestly, Lady Liberty is a huge landmark, and there are millions of flags, and they're usually died pieces of either cloth of vinyl. Yes, it does have a wonderful image on it, but it shouldn't be sacred."

You are right on many points, but your last point I don't agree with all the way. This statue symbols our values, and many immigrants who came over to America and saw it would consider it sacred, because it gave them hope of a better future and it give Americans hope.

"So you are arguing for a totalitarian regime? We have to limit our government. Have you ever looked at what happened in Stalinist Russia and Maoist China? They didn't limit their government, and the results were awful. In each, many, people died. The results of every single totalitarian regime have been absolutely devastating."

I would never argue for a Totalitarian regime, when I said a limited government would not work I was referring to the Articles of Confederation, it ran America for some time and it was flawed(Like any form of government). The government could do very little to help its citizens because in order to pass any laws ALL states had to approve. This government showed that a weak/limited national/Federal government would not be able to run the government effective, and I believe that is why I think that we shouldn't limited the government too much.

The interesting thing to note is that the Articles of Confederation had no power to make the government we have today, what they did was illegal but they did it for the greater good of America. Now of course making Flag desecration illegal will not make the greater good of America, but the point is sometimes the government may do something that is illegal and it is up to the people to decide whether it was necessary or not.

I would also like to note that people who desecration the USA Flag Contradict themselves, for they support the first amendment because they love how it gives them the freedom to do what they want, but by burning the Flag it means that they don't like American Culture, they don't like our values, and they don't like our Constitution.

To answer your question on R2: why should it be in the law's place to stop them? Because it goes against what our foundering fathers mean in the first amendment.

Closing Statement: I thought this was an interesting debate, and a hard one at that, for it required me to really think of a way to counter you or come up with reasons, prove them and with reliable sources and evidence. I believe I have answered your question to the best of my abilities; because I answered your question vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Miles_Finch 8 years ago
Miles_Finch
True
Posted by abard124 8 years ago
abard124
I thought your arguments were good... work on s&g though...
And I never debate to win, I debate to debate because really nothing starts on an even plane and most people tend to believe that flag burning should be legal... this is one of the rare instances where I got the upper hand :-)
Posted by Miles_Finch 8 years ago
Miles_Finch
Well how it is going I will not get any points.
Posted by abard124 8 years ago
abard124
Thanks :-)
Ya I always vote but I vote fairly. I definitely lost sources... I suppose that's a flaw of mine, I never use sources, instead I use logic.
Posted by Miles_Finch 8 years ago
Miles_Finch
She says that you should be a lawyer when you grow up, and president. So I see that you are using your abilities to vote(I was unsure if I should, but I guess I might if you will). Just wondering what you believe I did better than you in.
Posted by abard124 8 years ago
abard124
"Flag desecration would be illegal because it goes against what our Foundering Fathers had it mind when they wrote that amendment"
I didn't realize that you could read the minds of dead people! Can you tell me what grandma's thinking?
jk
Posted by ZT 8 years ago
ZT
Potentially. I think the better thing to do would say simply that we're debating about how things *should* be, thus we *should* amend the constitution if that's neccessary to achieve our goals. What they call fiat power on the high-school circuit.
Posted by Miles_Finch 8 years ago
Miles_Finch
Even though it does counter one of my points, It doesn't hurt me too much because I had a feeling it wouldn't work.
Posted by ZT 8 years ago
ZT
"What gives it precedence over the Flag code? They are both Federal Laws, one was made both the other one, but that doesn't mean that one gets special privileges because it came both, and visa verse the flag code isn't more important than the first amendment because it is younger, with this it means they are both equal."

Absolutely not! The Constitution isn't law, it's higher than law: If a law is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court can and is supposed to strike it down, and there's absolutely nothing anyone else in the government can do but amend the constitution. Even if every single member of congress and the president wanted flag-burning to be illegal, the only way to make it illegal would be to pass an amendment, which was tried and failed.
Posted by Miles_Finch 8 years ago
Miles_Finch
When I say comes both, It is supposed to be comes before. I think Pro is going to win the before debate becomes I lot of people on this site are for it(but that is if the vote). The person would had the bette conduct... that would be a tie because we both had very good conduct, and same for spelling and grammar because we rarely made mistakes. Who used the most reliable sources, this one I will give to myself because they are reliable sources, better put I believe them to be better sources. Who won after the debate is hard to say because it isn't over yet, but I would have to say that (Pro) seems to be ahead in my mind that is.
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Vote Placed by rayedawg2013 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Miles_Finch 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by Yakaspat 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by abard124 8 years ago
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