The Chapin High School teacher who stomped on the American flag used incredibly bad judgment to make a valid point. The flag is a sacred symbol to many, especially to veterans who have worn the uniform and sworn to risk their lives to defend what it represents.
But that’s the point: Those in the military don’t risk their lives to protect sacred symbols but to support and defend the U.S. Constitution, which includes the 1st Amendment freedom of political expression. That freedom allows people to desecrate sacred symbols such as the flag, as well as holy books such as the Bible and Quran, to express unpopular opinions.
In America, we allow the freedom to offend others rather than forcing respect for sacred symbols. That makes us different from other nations, and I agree with the founding fathers that it’s a freedom worth fighting and dying for.
Despite his bad judgment on how to make the point, perhaps the Chapin teacher has taught us something worth learning.
Rudolph C. Barnes Jr.