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American Flag Desecration - Essay Example

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The American flag, just like any other country's flag, is the symbol of the nation. As Gen. Colin Powell said his 1999 speech, "Americans revere their flag as a symbol of the nation" ("The Constitution," 2007). A certain symbol, like flags, symbolizes the historical accounts that the nation had been through…
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Download file to see previous pages George Washington said "We take the stars from Heaven, the red from our mother country, separating it by white stripes, thus showing we are separated from her, and the white stripes shall go down to posterity representing Liberty" ("History of the Flag," 2007). Other nations often take the red as the blood of those who risked their life for the nation's freedom, and white as purity for the ideal freedom they fought for. The Congress in 1977 was credited for speaking of the flag's symbols as "the star is a symbol for heaven and a divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; and the stripe is symbolic of the rays light emanating from the sun"("The United States Flag," 2006.) This is how much Americans value their symbols of nationalities.
However, through freedom of speech and expression towards presidential governance, some use the flag to extend their disagreement; such as burning, ripping or any indecent display that could attract the administration's attention to listen to their stipulations (Foppian, 2007). The massive public burning of flag during the Vietnam conflict on 1968 alarmed the Congress that was forced to come up with the first federal flag protection of general applicability. However, due to the Supreme Court's refusal to review the statute, it took a couple of decades that only the lower courts were the ones that upheld its constitutionality (Luckley, 2003)
According to John Luckley's (2003) study of Flag Protection, up until now, the Congress finds difficulty in fully enforcing the federal law of flag desecration. To fully constitute the statute is to suppress the freedom of speech, but it may appear also as if the constitution is tolerating the desecration of the American flag (Luckley 2003:4). The 108th Congress Report of the House of Representatives (Library of Congress, 2007) cites that flag desecration is protected under the First Amendment as expressive conduct. The only stated law from the same source is that "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States." The ineffectivity of this law is due to the conflict of freedom of speech which the Supreme Court favors more and is the inclined stance taken mainly by the State (Luckley, 2003).
Federal Law of Flag Desecration about Burning
The United States Flag Code outlines flag etiquette. The Federal law states that "when American flag has worn out due to regular use and no longer fit for display, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner" ("Cracking the Flag-Burning," 2005). The specified term allows the burning of the flag in order to discharge the worn-out flag in respectful conduct. Its implication is that any manner and intent of the flag burning act aside from the mentioned tolerable act is punishable. As accounted for by the Library of Congress, House Joint Resolution 4 gives Congress authority to legislate the federal law even though not precisely recognized by the State (Luckley, 2003).
The United States Veterans of Affairs stated that "there is no penalty for failure to comply with the Flag Code, and that it is not widely enforced." This insinuates that to emphasize or enforce the flag code of conduct would conflict with the First Amendment's right of freedom of sp ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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