Editorial: Burning or Yearning?

Pro: Marc Perkel


You know you’re in a Free Country when you can burn the Flag.


President Elect Donald Trump says the people should lose their citizenship if you burn the Flag. Unfortunately Trump doesn’t know enough about America to understand what free speech is all about. Trump doesn’t have the right to summarily override the Constitution and rule by fiat that America will have reduced rights once he becomes King.


America is a country of the people, for the people and by the people. The people are the fourth and most important branch of government. Some say that our Second Amendment right arose out of the need to overthrow the government by force should the government forget that its job is the serve and not rule the people. Our right to burn the flag comes from those same principles but had the advantage of not killing people in the process. When the people can burn the flag it signifies the dominance of the people over the government. When we can’t it signifies the dominance of the government over the people. Russians can’t burn the flag but we can because we are a free nation.


Having said that, I encourage people to not burn the flag in response to Trump. Trump is just being a troll and he wants to create division between people to distract attention away from the fact that his buddies in Russia helped get him elected. So even though you have the right, don’t burn the flag because Trump wants you to. If you are a patriot and you love America and you believe Americans are better united than divided then go hug a liberal and give a conservative a big wet kiss on the mouth and show the Donald that we the people understand the American dream, even if he doesn’t get it.


Gilroyan Marc Perkel has become a national voice for protecting people’s rights, even the right to burn an American flag. See him debate FOX News’s Tucker Carlson here: http://insider.foxnews.com/2016/11/29/flag-burning-advocate-donald-trump-marc-perkel-government


Against: Mark Turner


My father was a United States Marine. He was proud of his military service and of his service to his countryman.

His service helped shape his view, his values and his pride in this great nation. He instilled those values and that pride in his three boys.

Growing up I can remember my Dad proudly flew the American flag in front of our house every day. He taught us to have a deep abiding respect for America’s veterans and military personnel and his actions showed us to have high regard for the flag.   

Throughout our history brave Americans fought to gain or to defend freedom and liberty. In each of those conflicts the American flag was either carried in, raised in victory, worn on the uniforms of the soldiers, or on the minds of those defending the Stars and Stripes, the Banner of America.

 Yes, I believe America is, as President Reagan used to say, the last best hope of man on earth.

This, “great experiment,” which was birthed in a small dusty hall in Philadelphia nearly 240 years ago, launched a nation with immense faith, incredible responsibility and a position of high calling.

Our position in the world didn’t just happen, but was fought for by brave soldiers throughout our history. The same hallowed flag that men and women willingly go to battle for, drapes the casket of those who laid down their lives defending her.  

Just because protestors have the ‘’right’’ to burn the flag, doesn’t mean burning the flag is right. Some see the flag as a symbol to burn, as for me, it’s a symbol that ignites a fire within me for a great nation that John Winthrop referred to as “a shining city upon a hill.”

To those who take pride in exercising your free speech right as you light the flag on fire, men and women in our armed forces will continue to fight for that right, protect the homeland and make incredible sacrifices on your behalf. That in itself deserves some respect and appreciation.


Although he hails from Morgan Hill, Mark Turner spends most of his life in Gilroy as President of the Chamber of Commerce and formerly, as a pastor.


The Gilroy Dispatch seeks your editorials, comments and letters. Send them to [email protected]