Flag-Burning is No Crime Essay

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Stripes and stars forever, right? Well, what exactly does that mean? The American Flag can be seen almost anywhere. From the high-school, to the ball park, and even in our homes, the American flag stands as a symbol of all that is good and true in America. When one thinks of the flag, they usually think of the blood that was shed for this country. It was shed so that we could have liberties, such as, freedom of speech and expression, which fall under the first amendment rights of the Constitution. However, when you think of a burning flag, what comes to mind? One might say it shows disrespect and hatred to a country that has given so much. In the case of Texas v. Johnson, Gregory Lee Johnson was accused of desecrating a sacred object, …show more content…

These laws were so severe that if a person was caught performing these actions that they would be jailed for thirty days and fined $100.00. However, due to promotions and politicians, in 1962 all of the commercial laws were reprieved and became irrelevant. Despite the new laws, the flag, especially during the Vietnam Era, continued to be a symbol of patriotism and remind America of the struggle and the pride that it encompassed. It was a symbol of unity and nationalism(Goldstein 6).

On August 22, 1984, Gregory Lee Johnson was participating in a demonstration in Dallas, protesting the Rhegan administration and the Republican National Convention. Johnson was accused of burning the American flag, which offended onlookers as well as other patriots in the street(Goldstein 32). Johnson, who was convicted of violating a Texas law by burning a US Flag (because it is considered "desecration of a venerated object"), was later acquitted on all charges by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. They stated that because the ruling "was not consistent with the First Amendment that the State could not criminally sanction flag desecration in order to preserve the flag as a symbol of national unity" (B 1). However, on June 21, 1981 the Supreme Court and Justice Brennan defended Johnson and his actions by stating, "[a]fter publicly burning an American flag as a means of political protest, Gregory Lee Johnson was convicted of desecrating a flag

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