Saturday, September 20, 2014

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and The American Flag of Independence

Recently, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied s request for an en banc hearing in the controversial case where school administrators at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Calif. told four students in to go home for wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo back in May of 2010. At each stage of the case, various courts have sided with the school in refusing to allow students to wear shirts with an American Flag on a day when Mexico celebrates its independence from Spain. The case will probably go to the United States Supreme Court.

Interestingly enough, Miley Cyrus might be going to jail for when she had one of her dancers whip her prosthetic butt with a Mexican flag during her concert in Mexico. Amazingly, her concert was on Mexican Independence Day. The penalty for disrespecting the Mexican flag isn't that harsh:
"Apparently Mexican officials are super sensitive about disrespecting national symbols so the congress of the state of Nuevo Leon wants her prosecuted. The crime of desecration carries a $1,200 fine and a 36 hour jail sentence."
If Miley Cyrus had done a concert in the US with someone whipping her butt with an American flag, people would be praising her as her act as being artistic and brave. In fact, people have a constitutional right to desecrate the American flag. The United States Supreme Court decided in Texas v. Johnson that flag burning as a protest constituted free speech that was protected by the Constitution. But in Mexico, it appears that there is no such right to desecrate the Mexican flag. 

It is strange that Americans have a right to burn our own flag but we cannot proudly display the United States flag in many places. Americans have to go to court to establish their right to display their U.S. flag. American citizens shouldn't have to fight for this basic right. To me, it seems as though the judicial and educational system is sending a message to the American people that it is good to disrespect our flat but bad to be proud of it. In other words, we are encouraged to scorn the US flag and to not be proud of it. I find that to be a troubling message that our government is telling its own people. It is no wonder that there growing number of Americans who do not respect our flag and view it in a negative way.

Most nations have some kind of law against desecrating the national flag. I support Mexico in opening a criminal investigation on Miley Cyrus. (I also support people desecrating the flag of any known terrorist organization such as ISIS.) Whether she had a right or artistic license to do what she did is up for debate. However, Mexico has every right to expect people, especially non-Mexican citizens, to respect their flag in their country. If only Mexicans living in the United Sates would respect the American flag.

The judicial system erred in holding the four students should not have been removed from school for wearing the US flag. I have no problem with people from other countries displaying their flag here in the America. They have a constitutional right as a matter of free speech to do that. But when a non-citizen is guest in another country, or is living in that country or trying to obtain citizenship in that country, the national flag trumps the flag of their homeland and that national flag deserves respect. Thus, Mexico has every right to be offended by her actions of disrespecting their flag and to hold her accountable by their laws.

If only the judicial system would understand that the national flag of the United States trumps the flag of Mexico. I understand they want to celebrate Mexican Independence Day in America and that have every right to do so. However, they don't have a right to be offended when American students want to wear the American flag on Mexican Independence Day. American citizens should not have the right to wear their own flag be curtailed because that speech might cause non U.S. citizens to react violently to it. 

Mexico has every right to expect Americans to be respectful to their flag. The United States have every right to expect Mexicans to respect our flag, even when Americans are displaying it on Mexican Independence Day. After all, it was the American Revolution that the inspiration to other nations in the Americas, including Mexico, to seek independence from European rule. In fact, the American revolution prompted many Latin American countries to borrow concepts from the U.S. Constitution once they obtained independence. Thus, Mexicans should not be upset with Americans wearing the US flag on Mexican Independence Day. Instead, they should be happy with it since America inspired their quest for independence. 

Americans and Mexicans should not forget that we have a common history of successfully rebelling against European rule. We should have mutual respect for each other's flag of independence. After all, the Mexican and United States are both American flags of independence.