President Donald Trump has endorsed a bill that, if passed, would amend the constitution to allow Congress to ban flag desecration. Such a ban, however, goes against everything people claim the flag represents. To ban flag burning, in every sense, is to repeal the First Amendment. No person can truly justify such a ban while also claiming to be for limited government and American Values.
The Flag-Burning Ban is a Repeal of the First Amendment
Texas vs. Johnson (1989) confirmed that burning the flag of the United States is a form of speech. With that in mind, it becomes clear that the freedom of speech does include nonviolent expressive actions. Because all forms of expressive conduct is protected speech, one has the right to burn the flag of the United States. The amendment that Donald Trump supports would not overturn this.
Rather, it would overturn the idea that all forms of expressive conduct is protected. The amendment states the following: “The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.” In other words, Congress has the power to restrict expressive conduct. While this Amendment only pertains to the flag, it is a repeal of the First Amendment. It artificially eliminates the freedom of expression. With this in mind, everyone who supports this Amendment is directly opposed to free speech.
While Donald Trump has signed an executive order to protect the First Amendment rights of students, this is in vain if he chooses to endorse this Amendment. It shows that any action he has taken is nothing more than hollow lip service to the fundamental of freedom of speech. You cannot be pro-free speech and anti-flag burning at the same time.
Flag Desecration is a Property Rights Issue
If I buy a piece of cloth in the design of the flag of the United States, I own that cloth. It is my right to fly it, tear it, burn it, or whatever I want with it. It is mine. The Fifth Amendment specifically recognizes your right to private property. This Amendment would also repeal that right. Can I burn the flag on the private property of someone else who has not consented? Absolutely not. If someone wants to prohibit flag desecration on their property, that is their right as well.
Do not be mistaken, as Trump calls for the banning of flag-burning, he is burning the Constitution. He is burning your natural rights. You have this right no matter what the law says. It is a spat in the face of fundamental liberty that we must protect. Consider this piece to be a defense of freedom. I have never burned a flag. I doubt I ever will. I will, however, always defend one’s freedom of speech, even when I disagree with them.