Is The Flag Untouchable? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   What does it mean for the Supreme Court to legalize the act of burning the flag? This controversial dilemma sparked fierce emotion last summer, and it continues to boil in people's minds. What is it that brings people to such a level of intensity to protest against the ruling with such energy? As a symbol of the history of this nation, the American flag represents the glory, freedom, and pride of our culture. Is this symbol, however, more important than freedom of expression in our society? This seems to be the central question.

Based on the Constitution and the basic freedoms for which the flag itself stands, it would be inconsistent to ban the burning of the flag. Basic freedoms including speech, press, and expression provide the groundwork of American culture and society. To be faithful to the doctrine, we must allow this as a statement of an emotion by a demonstrator. It is a right which must be upheld and placed in its proper context as a freedom of expression.

The vast majority of Americans revere their flag. Millions of angry citizens felt stunned and disappointed by the Supreme Court's ruling. Their animosity is justified, but the actual significance of the action should be put into proper perspective.

The institution of the flag is firmly established as a token of love and respect by millions of Americans. A comparatively miniscule number openly loathe the symbol of our country. The pride and power of the majority puts the symbol beyond the threat of this infinitely smaller number.

Keeping this in mind, wouldn't it be in the best interest of supporters of the flag not to arouse so much attention to the flag burning incidents? The motive of those who burn it is to cause controversy which will draw attention to themselves. When people react against the flag burnings, the controversy begins, and thus the views of the demonstrators are publicly magnified. Therefore, the best remedy for the anger of patriotic Americans is to down-play the demonstrations. In this way, flag burning will fall into obscurity.

Those who are offended by the burning should take comfort in the firmness with which the meaning of the flag is embedded in our society. It is important to keep in mind that a flag itself is only a piece of cloth. It is no more than a symbol. What is important is the spirit behind the flag which gives the stars and stripes their meaning. It is not because of the stars and stripes that the spirit exists. When a flag is burned, it is merely a symbol that is destroyed. Similarly, the pride and spirit which is the true essence of our flag is left unscathed. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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