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Debate Info

48
39
Yes No
Debate Score:87
Arguments:62
Total Votes:99
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Argument Ratio

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 Yes (35)
 
 No (27)

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Is burning the American Flag as an act of protest acceptable?

Yes

Side Score: 48
VS.

No

Side Score: 39
5 points

As law? yes, under free speech. As a practice? Not sure. It depends on why you're burning it.

Side: yes
ThePyg(6756) Disputed
2 points

Think about this. If you are burning the American Flag as a protest, ALL that you can be doing is disrespecting the country you live in and all the people who died to protect this country.

So as a practice, that is the only result of burning it.

If it is not out of protest (which the topic doesn't claim) than it's for ceremonial purposes. Any flag that touches the ground must be burned in a ceremony, commemorating the importance of America and Independence.

I'm fine with it as free speech. But I disapprove of the act.

Side: No
Pineapple(1448) Disputed
2 points

It's representative of the country "going up in flames."

Just like any act of protest it is done to bring attention to a particular action, or lack there of, that the protestor disapproves of.

So just like any act of protest, you must shock people into seeing or understanding your point of view.

If you think that the country is failing, burning the flag respresents that pretty well.

Side: yes
Prevaricate(57) Disputed
2 points

attn ThePyg:

have you read the Supreme Court's ruling on why flag burning is acceptable?

Side: yes
1 point

I wasn't sure whether to click support or dispute, because I both agree and disagree with you here. Yes, it's wrong to disrespect all those who died to protect you and your country, BUT someone could burn the flag in protest of America becoming something they can't believe in. Right now is it appropriate? Probably not. But could it ever be? Maybe. I'm just hesitant to say that ALL flag-burning protests under any circumstances, at any time are or would be wrong--I'd have to know the specific circumstances and reasoning.

Side: No
2 points

Absolutely.

It's ironic that burning a flag is considered one of the only acceptable ways to destroy a tattered one yet burning for reasons of protest is perceived as near treason.

The fact that it's offensive is not enough to deem it unacceptable and is in fact why it's an effective act of protest.

Furthermore, for the dissenters, the flag does not represent the same things it does to the patriotic majority. The right to disagree is one of the most fundamental rights we hold in this country. And just as flag burners are welcome to disagree via their flag burning, you are welcome to disagree with their actions. That's the beauty of the USA.

Side: yes

Detestable? Arguably, yes.

But "acceptable"? Certainly. Free speech is free speech. It matters not if one disagrees with the idea(s) being expressed.

Side: yes
1 point

amen !!!

you said it and i 100% agree with yah

too many people (not you) don't truly understand the concept of free speech.

they think that any speech or expression of speech that they deem in unacceptable and unpatriotic must be banned

Side: yes
2 points

Any act of protest that does not infringe on another's rights is perfectly acceptable.

However, this kind of protest is not very persuasive.

Side: yes

It's perfectly acceptable. Why not? I understand the symbolic meaning, but, really, when it comes down to it, it's just a piece of fabric in the hands of an angry person with a lighter.

I'll never forget my years as a camper at Girl Scout camp. Every morning and evening, we had a flag ceremony, in which a group of girls--different age group each day--would unfold and raise/lower and fold the flag as we recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang "Taps." A group of six-year-olds had this responsibility one day, and one of the girls accidentally let a corner of the flag touch the ground. I can still remember how horrified everybody was, while I was just like... come on. She's six. And it's a flag. Get over it.

Side: yes
1 point

absolutely you should be able to burn a flag. you have the freedom of speech in this country. to protect your self while doing it always have a gun handy.

Side: yes

Yes, it always has been so but never more so than in the Viet Nam era where there seemed to be a flag going up in flames every five minutes. People felt disenfranchised from their own country during this time and they showed it by marching burning the flag and dozens of other types of protests against the war. It was a tragic time.

Side: yes

I think it is very scary when people say things like "burn these stripes and you'll see stars"- this is America. We were born rebels, and we fought for freedom of speech, among other things. What I find really sad is how un-familiar most people are with the proper handling of the flag- like how it should never touch the ground, or how the proper way to retire a flag is to burn it- usually while playing taps. No lie. I am am Eagle Scout, and I know these things.

Also, I think it is as offensive to yell "you lie" to a sitting President during a speech to both houses of congress as it is to burn a flag in protest.

Side: yes

You make several excellent points. I find it ironic that many of the very same people who would criminalize the burning of the flag, are the one's applauding Joe Wilson's shameful act of disrespect.

Side: yes

As long as the protest is safe, burning the American Flag is a is an acceptable act because it is a act of freedom of speech. Besides burning the flag is just a act, and it doesn't demise the symbol and meaning of a flag.

Side: yes

The burning of the American flag is an ironic act because those who fought and died provided that right under the First Amendment Freedom of Speech Clause. It is disrespectful to the history of the United States, but the Supreme Court has confirmed this right trhough case law.

U. S. vs O'Brien (1968)

Schact vs. U. S. (1970)

Spence vs. Washington (1974)

Texas vs Johnson (1989)

Side: yes

The flag is a symbol. Physically, the flag is of no importance and of minimal value. It's importance and it's value are in what it symbolizes, not in what it is. You can burn what it is, but you cannot burn what it symbolizes and what it symbolizes is personal. To one person it may stand for everything that they perceive as being right about America, to another it may have exactly the opposite meaning. If what we call "freedom" has any meaning at all, it means that we are free to believe what we will and we are free to express our beliefs.

I may think that a person who burns the flag is an idiot, but I will stand of for his right to do it. I have no problem with that because I know that no matter how much he tries, he can do nothing to harm what that flag means to me.

Side: yes
1 point

Really it's just a piece of cloth...

But I'm not American. Eh?

I'd say the same for our flag.

Side: yes
1 point

Yes it is acceptable. Now- I am not an American and I am not entirely aware of the situation- and what the people are protesting about. Now lets take India as an example- which has been in the papers lately about the rapes happening. It has reached such a stage that I believe it wouldn't be wrong to burn the flag simply because that is what is happening with the country and then the flag is a just a piece of cloth after all.

Side: Yes

Because Antonin Scalia voted with the majority of the Supreme Court that burning the flag is protected free speech under the First Amendment.

Side: Yes
4 points

Acceptable as law? Sure. This is America and we have the right to free speech.

But acceptable as an action? No. I don't find it acceptable at all. You can do it, but I will look down on you for doing it.

Side: No
2 points

I would say yes, but there is no real reason to it. It's like saying "fuck" only when you're angry... it means something because you don't usually say it, and it's a pretty bad word, especially to some people, but it's meaningless or useless to say.

So as an acceptable means of protest, no. If you're protesting you should have something more meaningful to demonstrate than burning flags.

Side: No
2 points

yes i agree with the person named thepryg. Yes we have the right of free speech and we can protest but burning the flag is unacceptable and by doing that just shows how much respect us American citizens have for our beloved country

Side: No
2 points

Isn't it against the law? So it's like not acceptable by the norms of society. If you burn a symbol of your own freedom than isn't that asking to be enslaved or deported to a third world country? So no! It most certainly is NOT acceptable!

Side: No
Awen27(541) Disputed
1 point

Some people may not see the flag as a symbol of their freedom. They may see it as a symbol of a country they feel has wronged them or other countries.

Side: yes
1 point

"Hey thanks for this freedom of speech America. Now I will use it to disrespect you!"

Go burn it somewhere els! D<

Side: No
Awen27(541) Disputed
1 point

I completely see and sort of agree with your point...BUT at the same time, is it really necessary to insist that everyone who lives in America respects it? What if they don't have the means to move, or all the people they love are here? I just think it's a bit fascist to for a country to demand that its citizens like it...but on the other hand, it does seem kind of stupid to let people in your country burn your flag. I mean, assuming your flag-burning actually does symbolize disrespect for America and not something else(as Pineapple suggested), it is sort of dumb to do that IF you have the means to leave. If you don't, then yeah, that's actually okay with me, I think, because you don't have a choice about living in this country, and you have the right to express your distaste.

Another thing is, consider the point of governments. What authority do they REALLY have? All that the people let them, because the people want a good society, and don't want anarchy. But does the government REALLY own this land, if you think about it? In world politics, possession actually IS 9/10ths of the law. Maybe this is a tangent, but what I'm saying is that governments really aren't around to get respect. They're around to help create a decent society. If they're doing a horrible job, but nowhere else is all that better, why can't people protest that on the land that the government "owns"? I'm just saying that governments should have only the amount of authority necessary for a decent society--rules to maintain respect are unnecessary and almost childish(You are on what is "my" land and so you have to be nice).

Now...I'm REALLY not sure if that made sense...I was kind of forming my opinions and ideas throughout that, so don't judge me too hard, but go ahead and take it apart(anyone on here. x]).

Side: yes
1 point

no how can the burning of flag represent the sign of protest............................it is utter foolishness......................according to me it will increase the pollution rather increase the protest............

Side: No
1 point

It is absolutely Unacceptable. It is an illegal act under U.S. Code Title 18, Part1, ยง "Whoever knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both." It is irresponsible, and is grounds for imprisonment.

Side: No
2 points

ummm.... I'm pretty sure that law was overturned in the 1980's. Look up "United States vs. Eichman". Eichman took this issue to the Supreme Court and won against the United States. His main point was that just because it is offensive to some people DOES NOT mean it should be illegal... I think... I might be wrong, probably not though :)

Side: yes
1 point

That is not acceptable if you don't like our country get out!

Side: absolutely disgusting
MisterGuy(1) Disputed
1 point

America is NOT "love it or leave it". Americans have freedom of speech & expression, and burning the American flag is (fortunately or unfortunately) a part of that important history.

Side: yes

Well the constitution says it is acceptable, but it's just about the worst slap in the face for all the people who have made so many sacrifices to give you the best life possible. If saw someone burning the American Flag, I might just hit them back.

Side: No
1 point

TO THE MAJORITY THAT WOULD BE LIKE BURNING A PICTURE OF SOMEONES MOTHER!!!ABSOLUTELY DISCRACEFUL!...........TOTALLY UN-ACCEPTABLE! Free Speech? If thats free speach, then i say, LOCK IT BACK UP!I think this applies to all flags not just Americas'

Side: No
1 point

No, it is not an acceptable act of protest. To the majority of the american people the flag stands for more than just a symbol. The flag is what this country was built on and has grown with our country throught the years. For an American to burn the flag in protest is a slap in the face to our country and all of those individuals who respect it. How do you fell when you see protesters in the streets of Iran burning the flag! If you feel you have to burn the flag, maybe you should move to a country that will accept you as their own as you do it. Heck, it is not going to matter anyway, if Obama has his say we will be under one global flag and currency!

Side: No
0 points

According to Nancy Pelosi your all just a bunch of ignorant crazy Nazi's out of control.

Side: yes
MisterGuy(1) Disputed
1 point

You've offered absolutely ZERO support of your wild, baseless opinion.

Side: yes