Isn't the 1989 Supreme Court decision a reaffirmation of freedom, and that our tolerance of criticism is a sign and source of our strength?

That's what one Justice said in support of the decision. But another said it was the duty of society to legislate against conduct that is evil and profoundly offensive to the majority of the people. Both are noble thoughts, but the point is that the vast majority of the people disagree with the one and agree with the other. And now it is in the hands of the people to decide if they want to protect their flag, or if they want it to be legal to desecrate it. This is an action being sought by the people, and driven by the people. The government is not the instigator of this campaign.