The United States Flag seems to have become a central theme in protests and patriotism lately. Flag desecration has been a long-standing form of protest against the United States as a whole or in protest of specific grievances or policies. Though States and even the federal government have attempted to pass legislation to protect the flag, The Supreme Court has ruled TWICE that flag desecration is protected free speech, symbolic speech to be exact. Since Michelle Manhart “rescued” a flag from desecration (being walked on) at Valdosta State University, America has become fixated on the flag, both as a means of protest or getting attention and as a symbol of pride and patriotism.
The VSU protest has spawned a couple of opposing “challenges” that pit the American flag against the American flag. The “Eric Sheppard Challenge” is named after one of the VSU protesters who is currently on the run from law enforcement after a gun was reportedly found in his unattended backpack on the VSU campus. Like the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” the Eric Sheppard Challenge encourages people to desecrate the American flag, post video and challenge others to do the same. One woman, Erika Walker, on a video that has now gone viral was seen dancing on the U.S. flag while yelling “[Expletive] your flag!”
Eric Sheppard Challenge New Social Media Challenge People Disrespect And Stomp On The American Flag
The incident with Michelle Manhart and Eric Sheppard’s New Black Panther Party flag protest at Valdosta State University has spurred debate and disagreement across the board. Mrs. Manhart inspired her own controversy due to her past with the flag. Some hailed Mrs. Manhart as a hero, while others accused her of infringing upon the constitutionally protected rights of the protesters. Some support Eric Sheppard and have even started a crowd-funding initiative to not only cover his legal fees, but allegedly his living expenses on the run as well. Mr. Sheppard is a self-proclaimed “terrorist against white people” and many take him at his word, calling out all who desecrate the flag as anti-American terrorists.
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However, patriotic Americans are answering the challenge as well. One Arizona man, Bryce Wagoner, posted a video of himself and his cat Sunday in hopes of renewing American pride and patriotism. Wagoner told CBS 12 News he was tired of seeing disrespect directed at the American flag. He started the challenge and his video already has over 6,000 views.
“All I ask is for people to put a flag up at their home or place of business, and display that we are all still proud to be Americans,” Wagoner said.
So America, in this new era of dueling flag challenges, where do you stand?