Aug 22, 2019
Donald Trump speaks on October 26, 2016, in Washington, D.C. With Trump now the president-elect, U.S. travelers may find some new curves in the road ahead. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

What god-awful thing did our president-elect say today?

On Tuesday, our president-elect lifted up his leg and urinated on the First Amendment.

“Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences. Perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” President-elect Donald Trump said in a tweet early Tuesday morning.

How the nation does not grind to a halt after our new leader thoughtlessly disregards our most sacred of Constitutional amendments, I will never know.

I guess it makes sense because he was able to win the presidency running a fact-free campaign.

Over the weekend, he erroneously said that millions of people voted illegally for Hillary Clinton in the election. The story was, of course, another product of a fake news website. So it is clear that he is going to continue being devoid of facts, or worse, give misinformation.

So anything is fair game.

But the First Amendment? There’s a reason it’s the first one – it’s the most important one. The five freedoms it provides are vital for a free society.

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

In Texas v. Johnson in 1989, the Supreme Court decided that burning the American flag was a form of expression which is protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

I am not pro flag burning, but I am pro expression freedom.

What’s next? Will Trump suggest that maybe people shouldn’t have the right to speak out against the government? Wouldn’t that be a tidy dictatorship. Perhaps he’ll suggest anyone who votes against him is a criminal.

Letting his sleepless, early morning tweets go without challenge is dangerous.

Be against burning the flag all you want, but please comprehend why it’s important that Americans be free to do so.

People are free to burn the American flag in protest of the government, and you’re free to be pissed off about it. That’s what makes this country so great.

Silencing voices leads to unquestioning support that creates fascism – an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization that leads to authoritarianism, totalitarianism and dictatorships. Oh, and a total lack of tolerance.

Tell me I’m wrong and that I should go to hell, but know that you’re able to do so because the First Amendment says so.

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