POE_extra - Alex Paris WRA 15 Paris 1 Betraying America How...

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Alex Paris WRA 15 11/06/07 Paris 1 Betraying America: How Desecrating the Flag is Unpatriotic On July 25 th of this year, Mark and Deborah Kuhn were arrested at their home in West Asheville, N.C. for desecrating the American flag. The couple hung the flag pinned upside-down, a sign associated with distress, on their porch with several pictures attached including a photograph of the president with the words, “Get Out” written on it— the words were directed towards America’s involvement in Iraq. The couple was eventually released on bail because it is legal to desecrate the American flag and the whole incident proved to be a sensation without much substance. Curiously, however, the Kuhns were deemed “true Americans” and “patriots” by certain newspapers and forums because the couple exercised their freedom of speech on such a controversial subject (Maxwell). While the Kuhns were certainly bold in their display of dissatisfaction, their actions cannot be deemed patriotic. Patriotism is defined as a “love of one’s country or zeal in the defense of the interests of one’s country,” as well as the willingness to sacrifice for one’s country (OED). Given these definitions, the couple’s actions could not qualify as patriotic because the act of hanging the American flag upside down along with the several critical statements written on it contains no discernable evidence of love or sacrifice towards the country. Furthermore, the Kuhn’s worried their neighbors because the upside down flag can mean serious distress, and antagonized the arresting officer who had just recently become deputy after serving 7 months in Iraq. The Kuhn’s diminished the deputy’s selfless act by using the flag to voice their displeasure. In fact, desecrating the American flag in any way cannot be patriotic because it not only disrespects those who have sacrificed themselves for the country but also fails to foster any love or defense for the country. Desecrating the American flag, particularly burning it as a sign of dissent, drew the nation’s attention in 1968 when anti-Vietnam protestors regularly burned the flag in demonstration of the war. Acting quickly, Congress passed the first Flag Protection Act which
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Alex Paris WRA 15 11/06/07 Paris 2 prohibited the desecration of the American flag. The Act would not last long, however, because of the Supreme Court ruling in Texas v. Johnson . In the case, Gregory Johnson was convicted of
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This note was uploaded on 03/19/2008 for the course WRA 150 taught by Professor Vetne during the Spring '08 term at Michigan State University.

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POE_extra - Alex Paris WRA 15 Paris 1 Betraying America How...

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