Flag Burning, Patriotism, and Freedom

April 13, 2009 at 1:29 pm Leave a comment

This is a fictional, imaginary conversation about someone who is trying to purchase an American flag but is disgusted by being required to sign an agreement saying that they will not burn the flag because doing so is unpatriotic.

But what is patriotism? I suppose many, perhaps the majority of Americans, would say patriotism is extreme loyalty to one’s county. But that loyalty would mean accepting everything the country does to be patriotic. For example: You must pay taxes to help your country. Don’t you want to be patriotic?

Another definition of patriotism is love for one’s country. Now you can love your country and offer criticism in order to help your country ‘be the best it can be.’ You don’t even have to be completely loyal to your country to love it. After all, people don’t choose where they are born. But most still love their country.

Now onto the issue of flag burning. Is it patriotic or is it not? This is a complete matter of opinion. However, America is supposed to be the land of the free, not the land of the slaves. Flag burning is protected under the first amendment. Burning the flag should not be looked upon as a shameful, unpatriotic deed; but as an act of someone criticizing their country, a true patriot making a statement and working for change. If legislators can take away the right to burn a flag, a constitutionally protected right, where will this stop? Will they take away the right to talk about burning flags? Think about it? One small law to disallow this could have disastrous effects.

A popular argument of people who think the Constitution needs to be changed is that it is an old document. Since it was written in the 1700s, it doesn’t apply to now. Therefore, it is a living document, designed to change with the times. But this is not true. A living constitution is what every government wants. People try to use their gun rights but then the government makes a statement: times have changed, guns are banned. The second amendment, gone. This is what happens with ‘living’ documents. The government is in charge and can change the rules on short notice saying, this is now and that rule doesn’t apply. And this is not something Americans should have to put up with.

In conclusion, although many may think flag burning is completely unpatriotic, I believe it is the opposite: a way for a citizen to show how they feel and demand change. What do you think?

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"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you." - Pericles
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