Our new President-Elect Donald Trump tweeting the following:
Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016
This singular tweet shows what a genius Trump is by how he leads the news cycle. It also how hypocritical and many times downright dumb many people are.
First, I don’t care about flag burning. I do believe that if we have true freedom of speech, then that ought to allow burning of the flag. However I also know that in a patriotic country, burning the flag is seen as very offensive. In many countries, burning the flag is completely illegal. Penn & Teller have a particularly great take on it:
But now that Trump has talked about “perhaps” punishing flag burners, the Internet is up in arms.
Losing citizenship over what the Supreme Court has ruled is free speech. https://t.co/Sfls9OsvLX
— Neil King (@NKingofDC) November 29, 2016
Burning of the flag is an action, where is the speech part? I hear nothing from it, I see lots!
— Tammy Harris (@TammyHa12345678) November 30, 2016
Note to Trump: Even Putin’s Russia doesn’t punish dissent with seizing citizenship https://t.co/0EKYcXm06l
— Peter Spiro (@AfterTheState) November 30, 2016
There are so many counterpoints I have off the top of my head that I am just stunned at many of my fellow Americans reactions.
- “Speech” in this context refers to more than just speaking. Images, advertising, information, t-shirts, recipes, books, plays, movies, etc.
- The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that flag burning is considered protected speech within the 1st Amendment. Therefore, burning the US flag is constitutional, and being punished by the State or Federal Government for doing so is not constitutional. This issue is settled, and my guess is Trump knows it.
- If flag burning were to be a banned act of speech punishable by consequences, this would be just a tiny infringement on freedom of speech. Most people do not burn flags in their lifetime. However…
- The second amendment Right To Bear Arms is CONSTANTLY being infringed upon by State and Federal governments, and the same liberals who would be outraged at being punished for flag burning are just fine with people accused of or guilty of domestic violence losing their right to bear arms, even though the Constitution of the United States does not even mention domestic violence.
- Take it a step further, what if we made it the law that flag burning is legal only if you’ve passed a background check and have also never been accused or convicted of domestic violence? Is that OK, NeverTrumpers?
- Even further — you can only burn a flag by cracking rocks together, or by magnifying the sun with a magnifying glass. Burning the flag with automatic lighters is an automatic felony. Attaching a lighter to a flag pole makes it an assault flag and you’ll do serious prison time.
- No one has been deported for burning an American flag. No one has lost citizenship for doing so.
- Russia is good that they don’t punish dissent. So is Russia good today or bad today? I’m confused. I thought Russia went after anyone anti-Russian? I thought they were meddling in our electoral process? Cherry picking arguments using Russia is boneheaded.
- Burning the US flag may get someone attention, but it does NOT get them persuasion. Trump knows this as well and fully expected people to burn flags as a result of his tweet. And the media covers it, showing again that Trump controls the news cycle and that Trump haters are REACTIVE and not PROACTIVE. He’s conducting you like an orchestra.
- People who support Trump will see flag burners as OVERREACTIVE.
- The President of the US could in theory sign an executive order that bans flag burning. This order would be overturned very quickly, and I think that even Trump supporters would view it as a waste of time. Still, Trump could do it and for a few months we’d have a slight loss of 1st Amendment protection until it was overturned.
- The President of the US, therefore, is not a dictator and does not have absolute power. Checks. Balances. Even in fully Republican controlled government.
- Most of our flags are made in China. Why does no one seem to care about this? That is a real issue.
- Hillary Clinton wanted to ban flag burning in 2005 and have it punishable by a $100,000 fine and a year in prison if done to provoke. Trump says “perhaps” there should be punishment nearly identical to Hillary’s proposal and … shitstorm.
- When Hillary introduced the bill, I could not find one protest against it where the protesters burned flags.
- On a common sense level — why should an immigrant be allowed to come to the US, live here, potentially be subsidized, and then burn the flag? Seems kind of wrong to me, and probably most legal immigrants wouldn’t want to do this anyway. In fact, I am a citizen of another country myself and I would never burn their flag. I’m also a US citizen, and of course have never burned a US flag.
- If I burned a gay pride rainbow flag the media would desecrate me. Yet burning the US flag isn’t really a big story in and of itself.
- In fact, after gay marriage was legalized in the US, I never saw or heard of a gay pride flag being burned. President Trump makes one tweet, and the anti-Trumpers immediately burn the flag, which is what he wanted you to do, dumbasses.
- So I just did a search for people who burned the gay pride flag. This guy was convicted of a HATE CRIME for doing it. This was before Trump was elected. And it was the only real incident I could find. It does beg the question: why is it OK to burn the American flag but a hate crime to burn a rainbow flag?
- Is burning the Confederate Flag hate speech? Or is that OK? I’m totally confused guys.
The hypocrisy of so many of us is just made completely clear by the events of the last few months. If you’re upset about Trump’s tweet, congrats, you’ve been played. Flag burning of the American flag is a non-mainstream issue that seems completely mainstream.
Stop following the trends and start thinking about them.