Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Phoenix, AZ in June
Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Phoenix, AZ in June.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

While campaigning President-elect Donald Trump made comments that had chilling ramifications on the First Amendment if he actually followed through. He first targeted the media, the lame media! He wants to loosen libel laws so that he can sue media outlets he disagrees with greater ease. As if that were not bad enough, now he floats the idea that those who burn the U.S. flag should either lose their citizenship or spend a year in jail. Now that he is the President-elect I find this even more disturbing.

He tweeted:

As you can tell by the number of retweets and likes there are a good number of Americans who agree with him.

A refresher on the First Amendment:

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 of the right of the people to peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

As a patriotic American and as a veteran the sight of Americans burning the American flag bothers me. I hate it and I find the thought of Americans protesting that way disturbing.

The First Amendment though… It doesn’t just protect speech that I approve of or like. It protects speech that I can’t stand which is precisely the point.

If we all agreed with everyone’s speech there would be no need to protect it because who would censor speech they agreed with? If government liked your speech you would have no reason to fear. That is not the case however. Our inalienable rights are protected in the Constitution to stop the tyranny of the majority over the minority.

The First Amendment protects even the act of burning the American flag.

The election of Donald Trump was supposed to be, in part, a resounding rejection of political correct speech. Let’s just not replace type of political correctness with another. It is clear that Trump has a fundamental misunderstanding of the First Amendment. His advisors needs to get him up to speech on what the Constitution does and does not do before Inauguration Day.

This is just political correctness wrapped in a flag and that needs to be rejected as well.

1 comment
  1. Personally, I think it is a mistake to confuse free speech, with a supposed right to conduct inflammatory acts, such as burning the flag. I’d be OK with making that a misdemeanor with civil penalties.

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