Few things can trigger an irrational response like the subject of burning the American flag. You'll see the patriotic hairs rise on the back of red necks as they bristle about millions having fought and died for that flag. That's why when the country is rapidly unraveling it is de rigeur for some fool in the Capitol to propose amending the Constitution to prohibit flag burning. Immediately we have the grand show of bipartisanship as idiots fall all over themselve expressing their outrage and patriotic fervor. It always passes the House by overwhelming margin and then founders in the Senate where it is impossible to raise a quorum from the dozing, the lazy, and the senile.
Well, it's back again. Here's a great analysis of the history:
Protecting Symbolic Speech
Freedom of speech is any easy one to defend when the speech is something you agree with and support. It only becomes problematic when it is outrageous and abhorrent speech. That is a lot tougher to tolerate.
Flags get burned to attract attention. The act will collect a lot of media drones looking for violent responses and dutifully fomenting any violence they can to make it in time for deadline at the local station. Once attention is grabbed, the revolutionary will shout his slogans and be satisfied. End of story.
Flag burning is not endemic. There is no rash of banner arsonists. When was the last time you got smoke in your eyes from a burning flag? It is a non-problem.
I'd rather not start down the slippery slope of restricting speech that offends me. My speech daily inflames someone, I'm certain. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Meanwhile, if Congress could get back to work and maybe start dismantling some government...