The fictional TV husband, Ricky Ricardo, once had the perfect answer to a ridiculous assertion that his wife, Lucy, had made.
“I have five words,” Ricky said. “Aye, aye, aye, aye, aye!”
That’s my response this morning to this latest gem from Twitter twit in chief Donald J. Trump, who writes: “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”
What in the name of all this holy and sacred is this guy thinking? Or, better yet, is he thinking — at all?
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled twice in the past quarter century that burning Old Glory is a form of political expression. Thus, the high court said, it is protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
For those who buy into every ridiculous utterance that flows out of the president-elect’s mouth, here is what the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Or “abridging the freedom of speech.” There it is, Mr. President-elect. It looks pretty clear to me.
This guy needs the mother of all reality checks.
He once told a TV interviewer that women should face punishment if they obtained an abortion. He backed off that nonsensical assertion not long afterward.
Now this? He wants to punish folks who burn the flag to protest government policy?
Before you accuse me of being soft on those who do such things, I feel the need to restate something I’ve said over many years. Those who seek to sway public opinion in favor of whatever point they make could not do anything more to turn that opinion against them than burning a flag.
Moreover, as one who once served in the Army and went into a war zone when ordered to do so, I take a back seat to no one in my love of country and its symbols. No one should burn a flag in my presence.
That said, it is a legal act that the Constitution protects under the very first amendment the founders wrote into our nation’s governing document.
It must stay that way.
Read the Constitution, Mr. President-elect. You’ll learn a thing or three about how this nation functions.