The Instigator
wingnut2280
Pro (for)
Winning
15 Points
The Contender
MoonDragon613
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

Torching the Stars n' Stripes

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/14/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 891 times Debate No: 2642
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (7)

 

wingnut2280

Pro

People should be allowed to burn the flag. It is a statement of free speech (symbolic) and protest. Both of which are constitutionally protected. I think the act is disfavorable. That is to say I don't personally agree with it. But, it is important to defend civil liberties like free speech and flag burning certainly qualifies.
MoonDragon613

Con

Freedom of speech is an important civil liberty that needs protection. That being said, not all "speech" falls under its umbrella protection. Now I'm not going to argue whether or not flag burning is constitutionally protected. The Supreme Court is the ultimate arbiter on that matter and it has already made a ruling. I will instead argue flag burning should be prohibited.

Freedom of speech is important because it allows the constant expression of different CONSTRUCTIVE viewpoints. Of course since it's hard to determine what constitutes constructive, as a society we have often erred on the side of caution, allowing controversial speech just in case it represents a positive force in society. Flag burning however serves no positive purpose in America. If you are against our actions in Iraq, if you are against the estate tax, if you are against the growing powers of special interests, you have every right to make such statements. But what is burning the flag? Is it a rational argument? Does it add health and vitality of American political debate?

Flag burning can only express hatred of America. We have enough of that from the rest of the world. It is every loyal American's duty to object if he/she disagrees with American policy and explain the grounds on which he/she objects. IT is not within their rights to launch an attack on America, which Flag Burning is. It's an attack on our spirit, and an attack on our hearts. To burn a Flag in America is to draw a Swastika on a Synagogue, and such actions should not be allowed nor tolerated.
Debate Round No. 1
wingnut2280

Pro

Your argument is essentially that it is against my citizenly duty to burn the flag. You also agree that flag burning is a matter of freedom of speech and should be regarded as such. You give me no reason that it should be against the law or any reason why the law should be overturned, only that I shouldn't do it on a moral type of ground.

Burning the flag is a powerful message of protest. While I don't personally believe in it, it should be allowed as an avenue of expression. It is just as you advocate, a message of objection. In fact, flag burning is the ultimate message of objection. It isn't launching an attack on America, but quite the opposite. To burn the flag in protest is to take the most radical form of free speech. A fundamental principle on which this country was built. Jefferson and the like declared independence, committed treason, and countless other unlawful or unpatriotic acts in a move to declare their objection. To take every means to protect your voice and speak out is to be American. Not every symbol of free speech can be a drawn out discussion. In fact, some of the most powerful messages in the world are symbolic. Think of the swastika you mentioned. Everyone knows what it means, universally. Whether you agree with it or not isn't the question and has never been.

Flag burning is a critical and powerful method of displaying objection. If a ciitizen feels they are disheatened to that degree or that their voice is being qualmed to that extreme, they should have the right to envoke any and every right, including perhaps the most sacred. To burn the flag is to take extreme measures in order to voice your cause, which is the very founding principle of America. You have given no reason why we should overturn, only that we shouldn't burn the flag on moral grounds. However, burning the flag should be available as an option. To have it otherwise would be the real attack on the American spirit.
MoonDragon613

Con

MoonDragon613 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
wingnut2280

Pro

wingnut2280 forfeited this round.
MoonDragon613

Con

If I object to the American government entering Iraq, I could shoot a federal agent as a powerful message of protest. Or better yet, I could write an article in the paper urging Americans to overthrow the current regime. Both of these, like flag burning, are powerful messages. The fact that they are powerful messages does not render them sacrosanct.

You're right that Jefferson and other founding fathers committed treason. They committed treason and other unlawful acts to declare their objection. They took every means to protect their voice. But that was THEIR TIME. During Ancient Rome, they liked to crucify their violent criminals, and even though we admired the Romans and their culture, that was THEIR TIME, not ours.

In the time of Jefferson, perhaps they did need to commit treason in order to defend the inalienable right to not pay taxes to a government that just fought an expensive war in the colonies at the request of the colonists to defend their right to expand into the territories of Native Americans without fear of retribution or fear of other colonial powers. It was a time where most people were not well educated and the reproduction and dissemination of information difficult. For all different reasons, treason was the only avaliable means by which they could affect democracy in America.

But we no longer live in the times of Jefferson. With the mass availability of the internet, with the ease of putting writing into publication and circulation, in a world where people have the means and resources to educate, there is no longer an excuse to burn flags. Burning flags is not an argument, it does not educate, and, once again, it DOES NOT ADD to the health and vitality of American Political Debate.

People should not be allowed to burn the flag (the negation of the opening Pro statement: People should be allowed to burn the flag) because it is disloyal, disrespectful, and hurts the American spirit.
And even though it technically falls under free speech by our Supreme Court, people still should not be allowed to burn the flag because it does not actually contribute to American Political Debate.

For these reasons I am proud to oppose.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Johnicle 9 years ago
Johnicle
RFD:

I vote Pro on the basis that it is not a good right, but it is a right. Con does offer other ways of protesting, but those ways do not offer why we should overturn this right. Pro is right in saying that Con offers no reason not to except it's bad, but I can see how it protests. It's kind of like a pen and a pencil. The pencil may not be the best (at least a pen is a lot better), but that does not mean we should get rid of the pencil because some people prefer it and some people need it for back up and some people like using it for math because they can erase. For these reasons, I must vote Pro.

Thanks for this great debate!
Posted by ImAPanicBomb447 9 years ago
ImAPanicBomb447
Moondragon you're using figurative language and an insistence that flag burning does not better the country without giving concrete reasons or examples that support that idea.

You say that "flag burning can only express hatred for America". This is not true. Burning a flag can express many other things, chief among them, perhaps, a disapproval of American governmental policies. Though it should be kept in mind that any action can have any meaning attached to it, as dictated by the person committing said action.

I also think that wingnut ignored a lot of weak points in your argument, however, and so I don't really think I can vote for anyone. Neither was completely terrible, but both had about the same likelihood of convincing me.

But that's just lil ol' me!
Posted by MoonDragon613 9 years ago
MoonDragon613
mm whoops. >_< sorry. Yeah uhh I was doing a bunch in a row, should've done this one first. my bad.
Posted by MoonDragon613 9 years ago
MoonDragon613
Sure it's a right. The Supreme Court said so. But not all rights are sacrosanct. As I said, it would be stupid to argue that it's not protected by the Constitution. Instead I'm arguing that we take the protection away.

So yes it's a right. But should people be allowed to keep that right is the issue at hand.
Posted by blond_guy 9 years ago
blond_guy
I totally agree. I had a debate on the same topic. It's the only debate I've won so far lol.
Posted by Renzzy 9 years ago
Renzzy
Amen. It would be dreadfully rude, but it is definately a right.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by C4747500 9 years ago
C4747500
wingnut2280MoonDragon613Tied
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Vote Placed by josh_42 9 years ago
josh_42
wingnut2280MoonDragon613Tied
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Vote Placed by Johnicle 9 years ago
Johnicle
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Vote Placed by blond_guy 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by TonyX311 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by vinavinx 9 years ago
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