We have a small cottage in Point Roberts and it is with continued frustration and sadness that our two governments cannot come to a simple travel arrangement given the unique geography of the Point and the hardship of people. We have not been able to check on the cottage for over a year – we hope that there is no critters moving in or a jungle of a yard. We have both had our Covid-19 shots on March 17. Is it not possible to get a 48-hour “pass” from U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the provision for maintenance checkup only? I would urge all interested people (on both sides of the border) do some serious lobbying.
Salt Spring Island, B.C.
The following letters were submitted by Blaine Middle School students in Megan Schutt’s eighth grade social studies class. The students were assigned to write about freedom of speech, with the understanding that letters would be published in a local newspaper. More student letters will be published in upcoming issues.
The American flag is the symbol of our nation. Although on the surface it is just a piece of cloth, it stands for much more. It is a source of pride for millions, but it is also a symbol of oppression. What would happen if someone were to protest it? Should it be a crime? While you may not like it, flag burning should be allowed.
One reason that flag burning should be allowed is because banning it would be a violation of our rights provided by the First Amendment. It states that “Congress shall make no law [...] abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.”
Flag burning is what is considered symbolic speech. The right to express our opinions via symbolism is protected. We saw this in the Tinker v. Des Moines case, where students wore black armbands to protest the Vietnam War.
Another reason why flag burning should be allowed is because of the laws regarding private property. You are allowed to do anything with property that you own, and the flag is no different. Of course, the burning of flags that belong to the government or someone else’s property is a crime.
One argument against flag burning is that it is unpatriotic, since people died for that flag. However, that does not mean it should be banned. It is simply another way for people to utilize their right to freedom of speech. Allowing things we don’t agree with is how we remain free.
Protesting by burning the American flag should be allowed. I encourage all of you to use your First Amendment right to protest for what you believe in, whether it be symbolic, large or small.
Blaine Middle School
Did you know you could lose your job for stating your opinions online?
American actress Gina Carano was fired from Disney in 2020 for making controversial statements on social media. Firing her may seem unconstitutional since she was practicing free speech, a First Amendment right, but it’s still legal. Private companies have the right to fire workers for what they post online. However, I don’t think workers should be fired for practicing free speech in their private lives.
Citizens should be able to express their controversial thoughts without the fear of losing their job. We benefit from hearing beliefs of others. Editorial.voa.gov mentions, “Freedom of speech and press allows citizens to communicate their ideas verbally and in writing …” This is important because when people can say their ideas, and if you’re willing to listen, you understand their beliefs, and our nation may become less divided.
Some claim firing Gina Carano was the right thing, since her posts were offensive to some people, and she deserved a punishment. However, she has the right to state potentially offensive opinions without punishment.
U.S. Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer, stated “... the worst thing you can do by way of abridgement is stop somebody from talking because you don’t like what he says …” He claims this because if we limit the right to speak about certain subjects, where would the line end? Would the cut off get closer to more important subjects like how our government is run?
We need to have an open mind, and accept others who might have differing opinions. We have this freedom of speech, and letting others utilize it, as well as ourselves, is important. Maybe we can stand in other’s shoes, see from their perspective, and have more understanding for one another.
Blaine Middle School