Tag Archives: political protest

Flag-burning ban … it’s back!

I am both not surprised but still amazed that this issue keeps coming back. Donald J. “Panderer in Chief” Trump says he is “all in” on a proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to prohibit flag-burning as a form of political protest.

Oh, boy. Here we go. Again!

Trump put a Twitter message out this weekend that said he supports a “strong BAN on burning our American flag. A no brainer.”

He is backing a proposed amendment pushed by Republican U.S. Sens. Steve Daines of Montana and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota.

Where can I possibly begin on this matter? Let me try this gambit.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly already that flag-burning to make a political statement is protected by the First Amendment guarantee of free political speech. Even high court judicial conservatives, such as the late Justice Antonin Scalia, have upheld the principle of keeping the First Amendment unfettered. According to the Washington Post, Scalia once said he’d prefer to jail “every sandal-wearing, scruffy-bearded weirdo who burns the American flag. But I am not king.” He has joined SCOTUS majorities in upholding the action as a form of political speech.

I am one who cherishes what the flag symbolizes, which is the right to make an a** of oneself, which is what flag-burning does to anyone who burns a flag as a form of criticism of government policy. I have maintained for as long as I can remember that such an act does not win converts to a point of view. It only enrages Americans who — such as myself — who have gone to war under that flag and who love their country … even with its warts.

Banning the act of flag-burning doesn’t do a damn thing but please those who somehow equate a piece of cloth with the doctrine it represents. The flag is merely a symbol of something greater, which is individual liberty — which includes the rights of citizens to act stupidly.

But the president of the United States doesn’t see it that way. He chooses to hug the flag to make some kind of goofy showbiz point.

Flag burning becomes Senate issue … oh, boy!

I kind of expected this to happen. Flag burning has been introduced as an issue in the race for the U.S. Senate in Texas.  Except that it’s been distorted to something that bears no resemblance to what was actually said.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the Republican incumbent, has accused Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke of favoring the burning of the Stars and Stripes as a form of political protest.

Oops! O’Rourke didn’t say such a thing, as the Texas Tribune has reported.

It seems that O’Rourke was asked at a town hall meeting to discuss political protest and, in particular, the landmark 1989 Texas v. Johnson U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared flag burning to be a legitimate form of political protest.

O’Rourke gave a lengthy, long-winded answer to a question, but didn’t actually endorse flag burning. The Cruz campaign cherry-picked a portion of O’Rourke’s answer and linked it to flag burning, rather than to the broader issues that O’Rourke addressed in his town hall response.

Read the Tribune’s explanation here.

I fear this is the kind of thing we can expect in this campaign, which appears to be much closer than the Cruz Missile and the Texas Republican Party ever expected it to become. O’Rourke — a congressman from El Paso — has drawn essentially even with Cruz. He is campaigning in all 254 Texas counties, even in those rural counties where he figures to get clobbered by Republican voters.

As for whether he supports flag burning as a form of political protest, I think I can discern O’Rourke’s view, which well might mirror my own: I understand the act to be a legitimate form of political protest, but just don’t do it in front of me if you expect me to be swayed to whatever point you’re trying to make.