Tag Archives: flag burning

It’s ‘phony patriotism’

If the National Football League and the National Basketball Association are able to get their seasons started, we should prepare ourselves for another round of what I call “phony patriotism.”

It will come from those who object to players “taking a knee” while they play the National Anthem. Americans will object to the demonstration of peaceful protest against police brutality. They will assert that kneeling during the Anthem disrespects the flag, the men and women who fight to defend it as well as our way of life.

Donald Trump says he will turn off football games the moment he sees players kneeling. No doubt he will wrap himself in the flag, perhaps even hugging and kissing the cloth stitched in red, white and blue. He’s going to pitch for legislation making flag-burning a violation of federal law.

Except for this bit of history: The U.S. Supreme Court has stood firmly behind what the flag represents. The court has ruled that burning the flag is a form of political protest, which the Constitution protects in the First Amendment.

I want to stipulate once again that I revere the flag. I stand proudly for it. I went to war in defense of what that flag represents. No one who ever seeks to make a political point by burning that flag should do so in front of me.

But the return of pro sports may well be upon us. Major League Baseball has begun — more or less — and yes, players have knelt during the Anthem. The NFL and the NBA seasons are scheduled to begin soon.

I will await the phony patriotism and will dismiss it for what I believe it is: a demonstration of cheap showmanship.

Trump trots out flag-burning non-starter

Donald Trump’s mediocre campaign rally today produced few talking points, but one of them does surface.

He said from the podium in Tulsa, Okla., that anyone who burns Old Glory should be arrested, charged and if convicted sent to jail for a year.

Huh? Earth to The Donald: The Supreme Court has settled that one. It said that burning the Stars and Stripes in a political protest is protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is, according to the court, a legitimate form of protest against government policy.

I agree with Trump on one point only: Anyone who burns a flag in my presence is not going to win me over to whatever point of view they are espousing. I hate the act and am repulsed by it. However, it’s a legit form of protest that the nation’s founders protected when they wrote the First Amendment.

Then again, political reality never gets in Trump’s way when he’s trying to ignite the cheers of his fans at political rallies.

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 ‚Ķ 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.

Mr. President, there’s that First Amendment thing

Donald Trump has weighed in on professional football players’ conduct while listening to the National Anthem being played before the start of NFL games.

Fire ’em if they sit or kneel while “The Star Spangled Banner” is being played, he said at a Huntsville, Ala., political rally this week.

According to CNN:¬†Trump said NFL owners should respond to the players by saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!”¬†

Well …

This whole discussion began a year ago when former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel during the Anthem to protest the country’s treatment of African-American citizens.

Count me as one American who was appalled at Kaepernick’s disrespectful display. I thought he acted stupidly at the time. He is free to express his political views, but I just didn’t like the manner in which he chose to do it.

However, what he did was legal. Not only that, it’s guaranteed under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees citizens the right to protest in any peaceful manner they wish. If they want to burn Old Glory in the town square as a form of political speech, that’s allowed, too. Just don’t do it in my presence.

The president’s urging of NFL owners to fire players who sit during the Anthem ignores the First Amendment guarantee of a cherished civil right.

I could argue that the president simply should keep his trap shut when it concerns such matters, except that the First Amendment damn sure gives him the right to speak his piece, too.

Then again, Donald Trump isn’t just your average Joe. He is the president of the United States of America, which gives his words a lot more weight than those that come from some shmuck blogger out here in Flyover Country.

Oh, the price of living in a free society.

‘Playing to his base’? What about the rest of us?


Light a match to Old Glory and go to jail and lose your citizenship.

Yeah, that’s the ticket. Never mind the constitutional guarantee that doing something so reprehensible is protected under the First Amendment’s freedom of speech clause.

The president-elect, though, ignored that fundamental truth when he blasted out a tweet that said those who do such a thing need to spend time in the slammer and forsake their citizenship as Americans.

The Washington Post and other media, though, say that Donald J. Trump is “playing to his base,” the voters who’ve stood with him through all the insults, innuendo and idiocy that have poured from his mouth.


They helped elect him president and I guess that’s his way of saying “thanks, guys.” As the Post reported: ‚ÄúTrump won rural America, where support of the flag is a big issue,‚ÄĚ said Scott Reed, a longtime Republican strategist who served as Bob Dole‚Äôs campaign manager in 1996. ‚ÄúA lot of those homes that had Trump signs out front were also flying American flags. This is clearly part of his base politics.‚ÄĚ

But what about the rest of the country, Mr. President-elect, that didn’t vote for you? What about those of us who are appalled by your seeming ignorance of constitutional protections and your belief — if that’s what you truly believe — that the Supreme Court got it wrong when it ruled on two occasions that burning the Stars and Stripes is protected political speech?

My wife and I fly a flag in our front yard, too, by the way.

I won’t buy into the notion that Trump isn’t my president. I didn’t vote for him, but he’ll take office in January and will assume the role of head of government and head of state. I ain’t moving anywhere. I’m staying right here in the U.S. of A. and will continue to register my gripes — more than likely quite often — over policy pronouncements that come from the president.

Trump won’t be president just for those who stood with him. He’ll be my president, too.

Thus, I hereby demand that he stop making idiotic declarations. How about taking back that crap about flag burning?

Twitter tirade shows danger of Trump presidency


Donald J. Trump’s propensity for popping off on social media came into amazing, sharp focus with his latest rant about flag burning.

And it demonstrates why the president-elect’s on-the-job training for the office he is about to assume is so troubling to many of us … who didn’t vote for him.

Trump went on another Twitter tirade and said that those who burn the flag out of protest should spend time in the clink and possibly lose their citizenship.

Really, Mr. President-elect?

This goonish statement underscores as well as anything he’s muttered or sputtered¬†during the course of his fledgling political career¬†how — in a normal election year — he wouldn’t have won the presidency.

His ridiculous assertion ignores — willfully? — that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled time and again that flag-burning is a protected form of political speech. The First Amendment is pretty damn clear about it and anyone who has read that amendment ought to know it — and that makes me believe beyond a doubt that Trump has no clue as to what’s contained in the nation’s governing document.

And yet …

Donald Trump won enough electoral votes to defeat Hillary Rodham Clinton and become the 45th president of the United States.

It puzzles me to the max — even now, weeks after the election — just how this happened. Still, I accept the result, as distasteful as it is to my political palate.

I cannot help but wonder, though, how many more idiotic pronouncements the president-elect is going to make. How much more consternation is he going to cause with his utter ignorance of something so fundamental as freedom of speech and political expression?

I’ll repeat what I’ve said before and what others have said already: We have elected a dangerous man as our next president.

OK, so let’s just burn the Constitution, too


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.