Or, what the hell, leave him there. It's a window into Mr. Trump's mind.
In the run-up to the November election -- a "choice" between root canal and having a toenail removed -- I remarked that major-party voters were being asked to choose between a candidate who knew exactly what laws she wanted to get around and how to do so, or one who was unfamiliar with the Constitution in general and the Bill of Rights in particular.
So thus we come to the President-elect's recent Twittering that flag-burning should not be allowed, and so doing ought to lead to loss of citizenship or maybe a year in jail (a rather interesting spectrum of choices). This is wrong -- don't take my word for it, ask the Supreme Court -- for reasons fundamental to the very nature of the government the U. S. flag signifies. Worse, the cockeyed notion that U. S. citizens are "allowed" various actions by their government is an inversion of the very nature of the relationship and assumes anything not permitted is prohibited. That's not how it works around here.
The flag is just a piece of cloth -- a symbol. A deeply meaningful symbol. One of things it symbolizes is freedom of speech. Even obnoxious speech or expression. Even disrespectful expression. Burning the flag, for example. A flag you can't burn is a symbol protected by the force of the State, a limit on a citizen's free and peaceful expression.* A flag for which respect must be enforced by men with clubs and guns does not stand for anything worthy of respect. And yet, when a protester (or a vandal) burns that piece of cloth, the symbol remains -- unless we besmirch it by damnfool infringements of the freedom of speech.
"A republic, if you can keep it."
* Interestingly, a very strong case can be made against flag-burning in areas with a high risk of fire; if you set a flag on fire during a drought or in the middle of a crowded theater, the issue is a little more basic than freedom of speech.
4 months ago