Southwest Georgia has recently been catapulted into the national spotlight over the issue of free speech and our American Flag.
It has also provided an opportunity for us all to refamiliarize ourselves with our First Amendment law.
Air Force Veteran Michelle Manhart was recently taken into custody on the campus of Valdosta State University for taking the flag away from protesters who were walking on it.
Almost 26 years ago, by a vote of five to four, the Supreme Court ruled that burning the American flag, as a form of political protest, was a protected act of free speech under the U.S. Constitution.
This is also the case for other forms of protest including. walking on our flag.
Many Americans may be in support of Manhart, although some feel, she herself may have previously disrespected our flag by posing with the flag – fully nude.
The students had the legal right to use our flag it in their protest. As sickened as we are to see our flag disrespected, free speech including this kind of protest is a protected right.
We applaud the University's President William McKinney for his handling this very emotional issue, as well as those who have been participating in peaceful protests on either side.