The Pacific Index

Confederate flag ignites debate over First Amendment privileges

Erika Vives

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Freedom of speech has been a hot topics as of late especially after the election of President Donald Trump. With issues that push the boundaries of what is considered freedom of speech and what is not, the confederate flag and monuments associated with it are consistently questioned.

The history of the confederate flag and the monuments that go along with it are interpreted in different manners. Those who advocate for the Confederate flag believe that if they are not fully able to express themselves in the way they choose, it is a trampling of First Amendment rights. Many of those in favor of the Confederate flag and monuments also believe it ties together a significant number of elements from several state flags, Georgia’s state flag being one example.

With that being said, to some people it is more than Confederacy of the past but also means pride in the south of the present. Many people in support argue that the flag means something very different to the people that proudly display it now than the slavery the flag represented 150 years ago.

The arguments supporting the Confederate flag, however, lack in validity and legitimacy and allow people to express a hatred, whether it is deemed intentional or unintentional. Although there is a Freedom of Speech in the United States, there are certain limitations.

Created over time, these exceptions are made under certain speech and under certain context. Speech that is not protected under the First Amendment includes speech that is advocating the use of force, false statements of facts, obscenity, fighting words and offensive speech along with several other categories.

Although there is not a specific category dealing with the confederate flag or monuments, there are many reasons why the flag and monuments should not be protected under the Freedom of Speech. There truly is not a positive contribution the flag provides.

Whether realizing it or not, those who fly it may be proclaiming their support for racist principles. In fact, the Confederate flag did not regain a fair amount of popularity until the civil rights era of the 1960s, when it became a symbol of opposition to the movement.

There are other ways to show pride for Southern heritage besides flying the flag or ogling over monuments representing the civil war and the southern states. The time when the flag was used is a time that no longer exists in the United States so why are people continuing to fly it? Germany does not continue to fly the swastika, so what makes flying a confederate flag any different?

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Confederate flag ignites debate over First Amendment privileges