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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Flag Burning and the First Amendment

I think this is all rather funny.

President-Elect Trump, as we all know by now, is an opinionated man and he’s still 100% better than anybody else who ran to be in the White House. I've traveled to see Mr. Trump speak on two occasions and am not worried about my choice in the least.

And really, nothing is going to change despite what the president elect said about what should happen to people who burn the American flag. Nothing.

After all, the American flag is made to burn. That’s what it is there for. It is a thing, an object, a symbol. And being a symbol, just a symbol, it is never going to be as important as what it was made to represent: FREEDOM.

The American flag is the most burned flag in the world. The Arabs in Gaza burn it, the Iranians burn it, Venezuelans burned it during Chavez' rule and now they burn it mostly to keep warm at night but most importantly, American’s burn it.

I really have no issues when I see protesters burning the American flag. If it’s overseas I always wonder where the heck they got all those U.S. flags so fast to respond to the latest "outrage". I mean, who sells American flags in the Middle East? There must be a concession just for people who want to burn them.

But when I see a U.S. government flag burned in America by Americans, all I think of is Freedom, the U.S. Bill of Rights and that our Constitutional government, despite its sometimes glaring misdeeds and indiscretions, still works on a level that no other country in the world does. A country that can stick to the rules set down by people who knew well the dangers of runaway despots and tyrant wanna-bes who would pass laws over the people with just their pen and their phone.

When I see a U.S. flag burn at the hands of the indignant, I think “This is what it’s all about.”

In fact, everybody should get out and burn the American Flag! 

But I realize that some people get confused. They think this symbol of our nation is MORE important than the nation itself and the principles upon which it was built, that this flag, this THING has importance unto itself over and above what it was meant to stand for. 

This is clearly wrong thinking. 

I have to laugh at all this since EVERYBODY seems to be all for the Right of Free Speech right up to the moment they hear something THEY don’t like. Then “There ought to be a law!”

And there is a law:

“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 assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

And there you have it.

Nice speech needs no protection. There is no "but" after the sentence "I believe in freedom of expression..." You either have freedom of speech or you don't. 

There is no such thing as "Hate Speech" or "Free Speech Zones". It is all Free Speech and it can be spoken anywhere one wishes to speak it. The "Free Speech Zone" is the United States of America. 

Where else you going to find it, Cuba?

In fact there are many so called "First World" nations that don't have free speech protections. France for one, Japan for another. Forget about China, no free speech there and Russia? Fugettaboutit!

In Canada, a country where nobody wants to burn their flag, free speech is a "fundamental freedom" but the government is allowed to pass laws limiting free speech when justified, whatever that means and it doesn't mean much. 

But in these United States, it's not just The Law, it's on the top of the list of the first Ten Laws of the New Republic and it's there for a very good reason. 

You may not like it, Barack Obama may not like it, Donald Trump may not like it and Hillary Clinton, she certainly doesn't like it but that's not the point is it?

The point is, it's there.

And tens of hundreds of thousands of Americans have died over more than 240 years so far, to defend it.

Is that important enough for you?

So other than giving both right and left wing radio touts another reason to flap their gums and for people with nothing better to do with their time to call them up and give their opinions, nothing is going to change. There isn’t a Supreme Court Justice sitting today no matter who appointed them, who would vote to change the right to burn the American Flag.

So just go live your lives and use your time here on God’s Green Earth for better things than jumping through hoops laid down by partisan media types who's only real interest in the story is selling advertising for their stations at your expense.

Go out and live. 

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