When Free Speech Looks Ugly
In my 42 years of living, I've never seen a country so divided. I fear that it isn't going to get any better for awhile. Many people are angry and afraid. We've seen protests from coast to coast and in every state in between. Yesterday in Iowa City, a group of protestors tried to burn an American flag. A local delivery driver who took offense rescued the flags. He is being hailed for his patriotism and courage. Those who attempted to burn the flags are being told to get out of the country. Sometimes free speech is ugly to look at.
Yes, free speech. The burning of a flag is protected by the First Amendment of the United States constitution. The protestors who were cited Thursday were charged because of the violation of a public burning ban, not for burning a flag. But just because something is protected by law, doesn't mean it isn't ugly. I agree with the protestors right to burn the flag, but it's not something I would do. In my mind, there are better ways to protest. Peaceful and non-violent ways. Civil disobedience is one way to describe it. Look at the millions who marched over the weekend. Their points were heard loud and clear and not a single flag was burned, and no one rioted and smashed storefronts.I just don't get using violence and destruction to try and get your point across. How do you expect to be taken seriously?
In the aftermath of Thursday's event, the local delivery driver is being hailed as a hero. I agree with that sentiment 100%. He stood up for what he believed in no matter the cost and did what he thought was right. How many of us would've had the courage to do the same? Many people are saying that we need to make burning the flag a crime. That we need to change the current law. That is a slippery slope, my friends. My fear is if we take away one tenant of free speech, which one will we tear down next?
This past summer when NFL players decided to kneel during the National Anthem, they got a lot of heat. But one group who came to their defense? Members of the military, past and present. They may have not agreed with the form of protest, but that's what they fought for. That is what many died for. Our freedoms. Sometimes free speech is hard to look at. But it is free speech none the less.