President-elect Donald Trump wasn’t the only one to suggest getting tough on those who burn U.S. flags, observed Grumpy Editor.
First, Americans who served in the military during bloody wars, “fought for the flag,” something today’s protesters apparently did not learn in school. And who can forget Marines raising the U.S. flag on Feb. 23, 1945, atop Mount Suribachi during the battle of Iwo Jima during World War II.
So Trump last week suggested loss of citizenship or jail for those who burn the American flag, saying such protests should carry “consequences” and “nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag.”
A few days earlier, Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., decided to stop flying all flags, including U.S. flags, after someone there burned a U.S. flag to protest Trump’s election victory over Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Hundreds of veterans and others protested the decision by the college to remove Old Glory.
Few recall that Clinton in 2006, while serving as U.S. senator, termed flag burning “deeply offensive.”
Strangely, flag burning was ruled to be constitutionally protected speech under the First Amendment in a 1990 Supreme Court case.
Standing with Trump on the issue last week was American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt. He praised Trump for his support of the American flag.
As the leader of the nation’s largest veterans service organization, Schmidt said, “Our brothers and sisters in arms have shed blood, even paid the ultimate sacrifice, in defense of our nation. The American flag represents their sacrifice and our nation’s way of freedom. No one should tolerate desecration of the American flag.”
The American Legion strongly advocates for a constitutional ban on flag burning, and calls on the new commander in chief to support such a ban with the following wording, “Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.”
Schmidt said there is “strong support for such a law. Every U.S. state has passed memorializing resolutions to ratify a constitutional amendment prohibiting flag desecration. Additionally, the House of Representatives has passed an amendment six times by supermajorities, only to see it fall short in the Senate --- by just one vote the last time it reached the floor.”
Schmidt added, “It’s time to protect Old Glory from being burned or otherwise desecrated by protesters. “We are not against civil protest or demonstrations. However, these protesters are not burning a piece of cloth. They are desecrating the sacrifice and honor of all past, present and future service members and their family members, who have given so much to this great nation.”
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