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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
trump flag
trump flag

Tuesday morning (at 6:55 a.m. to be exact), early riser and esteemed tweeter President-elect Donald Trump turned his attention toward those who seek to make political statements via flag burning. “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” the tweet read. Before we go any further on the implications of this tweet, know these things: In 1989, the US Supreme Court ruled that flag burning is a protected practice under the First Amendment. Additionally, we here at the Alligator in no way condone flag burning. We will continue to point out the many things this country has to improve on, and we will always do our best to point out injustices where we see fit. However, that flag symbolizes more to us than a collection of our shortcomings, and we cannot condone such a behavior.

Keeping those things in mind, we can finally acknowledge this tweet for what it really is: bait. This tweet is nothing more than an attempt to “trigger” the frustrated sentiment held by the overwhelming majority of the nation (For example, Trump’s claim that 2 million fraudulent votes were cast has been disproven by virtually every fact-checking institution in our nation.). All Trump is trying to do here is egg on folks to burn the flag so he can denounce all those who don’t support him as typical “unpatriotic flag burners.”

Perhaps what this really symbolizes, though, is one of many views Trump holds: that our Constitution, the backbone of our legal system and political structure, is secondary to his glorious intuition. He’s demonstrated this before. In a debate against Hillary Clinton, he expressed his desire to bring back stop-and-frisk-style law enforcement.

He also advocated for stripping away due process to those on trial for terrorism and previously threatened to jail his political opponent. Mind you, this is something that would never be allowed in the first place as president. It’s the attorney general’s job, and it’s their job for a reason (see: balance of power).

With that said, we know at least one of two things: Trump either does not care for constitutionally given rights to American citizens, or he is not aware American citizens have constitutional rights. Given how he’s broken countless campaign promises, it’s reasonable to assume that he’s not ignorant of the law. So why does he show such disapproval of our rights?

First, we have to understand the setting in which we are working. Based on the statistics of our known demographics, the majority of Americans aren’t active Trump supporters, nor are they quite comfortable with Democrats (and understandably so). They are “floaters.”

So when Trump says stupid s--- like this, he’s really enticing that demographic that is fervently anti-Trump to burn the flag in protest. Naturally, the media catches wind of American citizens burning the flag and sprays it all over TV to the point where it’s impossible to ignore (like Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem). Those average Americans turn on their TVs and see images of their neighbors burning the flag juxtaposed with jihadi terrorists doing the same thing, and out of fear (the main ingredient to any successful conservative campaign), they make a decision. They decide to give Trump their reluctant approval.

It’s not possible (anytime soon) for Trump to overturn a Supreme Court ruling and make flag burning illegal. Moreover, even if he eventually does, it’s legally impossible to have those who burned the flag prior to this overturning stand trial (see: ex post facto). So please, don’t give Trump more ammunition.

“Banning flag burning dilutes the very freedom that makes this emblem so revered.” –Justice Antonin Scalia

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