The Controversial US Flag: Respect, Discernment, and Depredation - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1285 Words
Date:  2023-05-22


For about two centuries now, the US flag has experienced many depredations, some of the citizens questioning its authenticity (Bryan et al., 78). Debates revolve around the implication of the flag in the US history. Aa section of the US population holds the flag as a sacred symbol, other sections of the citizens indicate their discerning attitudes towards it, especially when they experience events that indicate disrespect for their US citizenship (Bryan et al., 78). All over the nation, people outburst spitting upon, defiling, and burning the flag. This work explores if the protection of the flag warrants constitution amendment relevance to Feinstein's indication.

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Summary of the Feinstein's Work and Opinion

Senator Dianne Feinstein's work exhibits the place of the US flag in the nation's history and gives recommendations of why it needs protection. The senator indicates the diligence of the flag in carrying the nation's pride and symbolism for over two-hundred years (par. 2, 4). The senator's work attaches the rights of millions of Americans freedom fighters and humanitarian activists who agitated for the nation's rights and freedom. When he picked a copy of the San Francisco Chronicle, she saw the iconic Joe Rosenthal photograph (par.1). The American marines were raising the country's flag at Iwo Jima, Japan. Feinstein paints the photograph as a morale booster. The US was taking on terrible island-to-island Pacific battles during the Second World War (par.2). She describes the flag as US's old glory.

Feinstein writes that the flag represents the nation's democracy, commitment to justice, values, and everlasting memory of the citizens forfeited their freedom to protect these principles. According to the author, the flag had protection initially until 1989 when the Supreme Court permitted its burning as a sign of protest for being mistreated or not getting the necessary protection from their government structures. The senator recalls Justice Byron White remarks that the flag is a monument that needs constitutional protection (par. 5). Upon realizing the importance of the flag, Congress passed the Flag Protection Act of 1989, which the Supreme Court again struck down (par. 4). Three main reasons necessitate the constitutional amendment. Firstly, the citizens can as well have their freedom of speech or expression through avenues different from burning the flag. Secondly, there is a need to end the consistent power battles between the Supreme Court and the Congress. Finally, based on the senator's indication, the flag holds a great part of the nation's history that needs constitutional protection.

Evaluation of the Feinstein's Work

Feinstein's proposal of the constitutional amendment depends on several premises. The flag represents patriotism, the US way of life, and freedom (par. 3). This argument stands right as raising the flag commemorates the demise of any civil servant in the US. when police officers, firefighters, or other officers die, their families raise the flag to honor them. Therefore, as Goldstein indicates, desecration or burning the flag equal to diminishing the struggles of soldiers who devoted their life for the good of America (9). Feinstein acknowledges the Supreme Court's ruling that recognized burning of the US flag a form of freedom of speech (par 4-6). It is baseless for the Constitution to protect the burning of the flag instead of protecting the symbol (""). The US founders, like George Washington, would not welcome the burning in a pretense of free speech. Feinstein's literature thus proves realistic in the protection of the nation's history.

Also, the framers of the US Constitution understood the role of the flag as the protective seal that symbolizes the nation's existence and sovereignty (Feinstein par 3). Due to their appreciation of the freedom of speech, they ensured the flag protection law respects the First Amendment rights. American Legion indicates the support of the judiciary's commitment to the flag, even if one's ideology differs from another person's view. Deseret News notes James Madison's castigation of flag defacement and terms it as a violation of the law and an attack of the nation's sovereignty (par. 5). When the Supreme Court provided for the flag defamation as a free speech, Utah's legislature unanimously asked the Congress to resend the amendment to the states for endorsement. The news reports a 69 percent poll in Utah for the constitutional amendment. The amendment to protect the flag ("Deseret News," par 8). This effort coincides with Feinstein's need of constitutionally protecting the flag.

Countering Feinstein's Opinion

Several premises oppose Feinstein's proposals. Firstly, the Constitution protects Americans' freedom of expression. Therefore, citizens ought to indicate their tolerance towards each other (Alexander 5). The tolerance allows one to defame the flag, either by burning or desecration, as their way of expressing their dissatisfaction. For example, allowing basketball fans to express their feelings for Lebron James is similar to tolerating the expression one feels for the flag. It would be unfair to deny US citizens the right to burn or desecrate their possessions. The intolerance idea is only never accepted under the Constitution due to its offensiveness. In its genuine sense, the flag only serves to remind the US citizens about the greatness of their country. Soldiers in war fronts never fight to protect 'old glory' but to protect their nation's constitution ideals and their lifestyle (Alexander 12).

National flags experience frequent alterations. If the US Flag is so important that it warrants constitutional protection from physical desecration, the nation would not have altered it even an inch ("Background on the Flag Desecration Amendment"). When armed forces engage in state war, they usually display the flag. The opponents destroy the flag in nearly every battle, yet the nation expects the old glory to survive unscathed (Alexander 23). In this sense, it is worth prioritizing the protection of the US citizens, their Constitution, and freedoms but not a symbol that represents these things to most people ("Background on the Flag Desecration Amendment"). Although the flag symbolizes great ideals, its destruction does not diminish these ideals.


There is a need for extensive interrogation if US has to amend its constitutional for the protection of the nation's flag. As some evidences indicate the need, other premises disqualify constitutional protection. The proponents argue that free speech and the First Amendment rights were not licenses to desecrate a symbol of pride and freedom. Their argument lean on the fact that all the constitutional changes never touched the first amendment that grants the citizens free speech. Opponents of the process base on the ruling of the Supreme Court that allowed people the right to burn the flag if that proved the best method they would protest for mistreatment and dissatisfaction with the efforts of their government. This premise proves that flag is a symbol of the US constitutional ideals but not 'old glory', and it does not need constitutional protection.

Works Cited

Alexander, Larry. "Free Speech and Speaker's Intent: A Reply to Kendrick." Colum. L. Rev. Sidebar 115 (2015): 1.

"Background on the Flag Desecration Amendment." American Civil Liberties Union,

Goldstein, R. J. (2019). Saving old glory: The history of the American flag desecration controversy. Routledge.

Deseret News. "U.S. Needs Amendment to Protect Flag." Deseret News, Deseret News, 6 Sept. 2005,

Feinstein, Dianne. "Flag Needs Protection - USA Today." United States Senator for California,

American Legion. "Should Congress Pass a Constitutional Amendment to Prohibit US Flag Desecration?" The American Legion, A Website Dedicated to the Flag of the United States of America - Constitutional Amendendment Issue,

Welch, Michael, and Jennifer L. Bryan. "Flag desecration in American culture: Offenses against civil religion and a consecrated symbol of nationalism." Crime, Law, and Social Change 26.1 (1996): 77-93.

Cite this page

The Controversial US Flag: Respect, Discernment, and Depredation - Essay Sample. (2023, May 22). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism