Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Being Free Vociferously, Symbolically to Criticize Government Is What American Stands For

Antonin Scalia
"Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag -- if they do, there must be consequences -- perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!" tweeted President-elect Donald Trump.

He should not be criticized because he is not alone. President George H.W. Bush and Senator Hillary Clinton have supported criminalization for desecration of the American flag.

However, it’s not against the law to burn the American flag. Correctly, the Supreme Court ruled burning the flag is a symbolic form of free speech and constitutionally protected.

Deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who Trump praised as a "brilliant Supreme Court Justice, one of the best of all time,” once said, "If I were king, I would not allow people to go around burning the American flag -- however, we have a First Amendment which says that the right of free speech shall not be abridged -- and it is addressed in particular to speech critical of the government."

Senate majority leader Mitch O’Connell said, “Flag stands for freedom, even to desecrate.”

Desecrations of the American Flag, refusing to stand when the national anthem is played, refusing to salute the flag, refusing to recite the pledge of allegiance, or any other kind of symbolic form of free speech must be protected. To do otherwise is reminiscent of a nationalism that is associated with fascist governments. A President of the United States is not a King. Being free vociferously and symbolically to criticize government is what the American flag stands for. We must preserve and defend the values that the United States of America represents.

Copyright © Horatio Green 2016