Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Citizenship is the bigger issue

I actually think that the worst part of Trump's "flag burning" tweet was his statement that the penalty for flag burning should be the loss of American citizenship. Plenty of countries outlaw the burning of their national flag, including much of the so-"free world." I agree with that flag burning is protected speech under the First Amendment, but that ruling came down when I was in college. As wrong as penalizing flag burning may be IMHO, it wasn't that long ago that flag burning was illegal here.

What is much more shocking is the idea that Trump wants to strip citizenship from people because of their political protests. That really is the stuff of dictatorships. And sets a really bad precedent of political rights as a privilege that can be lost.

Even though flag burning has been legal in the U.S. for almost my entire adult life, flag burning is very rare. If anything, flag burning is probably more popular when it is illegal--it certainly makes more of a statement when it is against the law. I have seen a flag burning exactly once in my life, and it was in Damascus, not the U.S. And really it was just a pillow case that was decorated to look like a U.S. flag with a marker. I bet it didn't even have the right number of stars. (See the post I wrote at the time)

Flag Burning