President-elect Donald Trump posted a tweet early Tuesday morning suggesting that people who burn the American flag should pay for their lack of patriotism.
“Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag — if they do, there must be consequences — perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” he wrote.
The motivation for this unexpected tweet remained unknown, though some speculated that it may have been inspired by what occurred at Hampshire College in Massachusetts earlier in the month.
Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016
Either way, the liberal media found Trump’s idea appalling, as it only served to verify their claims that he possessed an authoritarian nature.
“Trump’s flag-burning tweet is a frightening moment not because his proposal stands any chance of enactment, but because it reflects one of the one of the few signs that his dangerous and authoritarian politics is calculated, and not merely crazy,” wrote one apparently nervous New York magazine contributor.
Never mind the fact that failed 2016 presidential nominee HIllary Clinton proposed something awfully similar.
According to NBC News reporter Frank Thorp V, in 2015 then-Sen. Hillary Clinton introduced a bill that would outlaw the burning of the American flag.
“Any person who shall intentionally threaten or intimidate any person or group of persons by burning, or causing to be burned, a flag of the United States shall be fined not more than $100,000, imprisoned for not more than 1 year, or both,” the bill read.
In 2005 a bill was introduced that would outlaw burning the American flag.
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) November 29, 2016
Though Clinton’s bill did not mention potentially revoking a flag-burner’s citizenship, it still advocated the same sort of anti-free speech authoritarianism expressed by Trump. We admire his patriotism, but one of the things Americans should love their country most for is its freedoms — which includes the freedom to express ideas with which we would whole-heartedly disagree, such as burning our flag.
Of course, if the flag is someone else’s property or its burning presents some sort of public danger, that’s another matter. But free speech, like the right to bear arms, is paramount to maintaining a free society.
Trump may want to think a bit more before he publishes a tweet to avoid providing the media with fuel for their already anti-Trump fire. Likewise, the liberal mainstream media should consider the behavior of their beloved election martyr, Hillary Rodham Clinton, before criticizing Trump.
He might post some wild ideas to Twitter from time to time, but at least he has never actually tried to outlaw flag burning like Hillary Clinton did.
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H/T The Hill