Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Only Free Speech is Praise For the Orange One

Try it, motherfucker.  The smoke from burning flags across the country will block out the sun.

President-elect Donald Trump sent out an early-morning tweet Tuesday musing that burning the American flag should result in jail time or “loss of citizenship."

It is unclear what prompted the message.

Flag burning is a protected act of free speech under the U.S. Constitution. In Texas v. Johnson, a 1989 ruling, the Supreme Court invalidated prohibitions on desecrating the American flag that were enforced by 48 states. A law passed the same year by Congress making it a federal crime to desecrate the flag was also struck down by the Supreme Court.

A constitutional amendment to ban flag burning or desecration has been proposed multiple times in the years since, but failed to pass, most recently in 2006.

Despite this precedent, Trump spokesperson Jason Miller remained unconvinced by CNN’s Chris Cuomo’s insistence that flag burning is a “protected constitutional right” during a Tuesday appearance on “New Day.”

“Can we agree on that?” Cuomo asked.

“No, we completely disagree,” Miller replied.

Miller repeatedly said that such a “despicable” act “should be illegal” and tried to pivot to a discussion of Trump’s cabinet appointees.

“You have to defend what is legal in this country under the Constitution. Just because I don't like it doesn't mean that it's not legal, it's not right for somebody. What do you want this country to be, only what you like? Only what President-elect Trump likes?” Cuomo asked.

“Flag burning should be illegal,” Miller said again, insisting there was a “big difference” between protecting the First Amendment and burning the American flag.

You know what's "despicable" and already is illegal? Profiting from your position as an elected official.  Like shaking down foreign leaders for bribes if they want a meeting with El Presidente.

But even setting aside Trump’s unconstitutional call to criminalize flag burning, which became a staple of American conservative politics long before Trump emerged as a presidential candidate, Trump is calling for something even more extraordinary. He wants to strip citizenship — and with it, voting rights — from political dissidents. Federal law does permit Americans to lose their citizenship after “committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States,” but flag burning is a far cry from treason or armed rebellion. It is a political statement, and democracy depends on the free expression of political ideas.

The president-elect of the United States has proposed stripping a political protester’s very status as an American. In the process, he would take away that person’s ability to vote — and thus to vote for someone other than Donald Trump. Today, Trump proposes this consequence for a very specific category of speech that most Americans view as odious. But once a person’s voting rights can be made contingent upon their beliefs, or their silence, then elections become increasingly meaningless.
Not to mention that criminalizing protest is yet another dead give-away of fascism, as if we needed another example.

No comments: