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Well, That Didn’t Take Long

Looks like the pendulum has swung back to having to argue, “No, burning the flag is speech protected by the First Amendment, and it ought to be.” Of course, no sooner are conservatives starting the flag burning debate again, some folks on the left acting like this is some kind of fringe, extremist position.

Nope. Hate to tell you, the American People like protecting speech they like, and don’t have issues restricting speech they don’t like. Actually, one could argue that the broad protections we have for First Amendment rights now are a product of elite opinion.

25 Responses to “Well, That Didn’t Take Long”

  1. AnOregonian says:

    Interesting aside, I’m fairly certain that Trump’s flag burning comment, which came completely out of the blue, was primarily to distract from his nominees, in particular Price who seemed to be taking an increasing amount of flak.

    And it worked.

    • SPQR says:

      This. He was trolling since Hillary had sponsored a bill criminalizing flag burning.

    • Patrick says:

      This.

      At this point anyone who takes Trump’s tweets with seriousness is demented. Sorry, but by now I’d expect the pattern to be obvious to all. He works to signal, set the stage and then drive the conversation. Everyone always talks about the things Trump wants discussed. Nobody remembers anything else more than a few days.

      In the time since he’s posted those flag-burning tweets, the lefties went 200% lefty and started burning flags on national TV. And later this week every person on his “Red, White and Blue Victory Tour” in the Midwest is going to show up by the thousands (10’s of thousands, to be sure) waving flags. And in contrast there will be a few dozen dirty SJW hippies everywhere he goes burning flags.

      Optics: on one side we will see tens of thousands of “God Loving Americans” waving the flag in Trump’s honor; and on the other we will see a handful of people who hate America burn that same flag. Super-duper-extra points if some of those flag burners are also illegal immigrants and wave a Mexican/whatever flag.

      Overall theme check: Trump Winning.

      Cognitive dissonance runs both ways. Traditional conservatives are stuck in a loop. They think about the President as some kind of high priest tending to an altar of carefully considered political dogma. This is not going to happen with Trump.

      I don’t like everything he does, but I like the direction he is signalling right now. I just hope I can say that a year from now.

      And remarkably, everyone in the USA seems to be talking about the conservative issues Trump espouses.

      Bush could never do that. Romney could never do that. McCain could never do that. Hell, even Reagan could not do that.

      Trump did that.

      • Publius says:

        I hate the flag, but I like Mr. Trump (even though I often disagree with him).

      • Alpheus says:

        This actually scares me somewhat, and it’s above and beyond whether or not we can trust Trump (and I’m not sure I do).

        If the Left and the Press (but I repeat myself) and to a lesser extent the Conservatives are this easy to manipulate, what’s going to happen when we get a despot who can manipulate the Media this way?

        • Roberta X says:

          First, he’d need despotic powers, which POTUS ain’t got. But Mr. Trump frets me; he’s entirely too pleased to push both sides to extreme positions.

  2. dustydog says:

    Historically, democrats burning things has been an overt threat. Democrats burned crosses, to show blacks and Catholics as a threat, and to show that the cross-burners did not need to fear retaliation. Burning a flag has the same meaning – that the bullies are confident in their ability to get away with violence.

    At a minimum, burning a flag should be considered an invitation to mutual combat. No law should prevent a veteran from battering a flag-burning hippy.

    • Chase says:

      What kind of violence, by whom, against whom, has followed flag-burning in the past?

  3. Bongo says:

    I am still hopeful that he won’t shit up the Supreme Court nomination.

  4. The notion that symbolic speech is protected seems both bogus and ahistorical. I still think idiots burning our flag are injuring themselves most.

  5. Tony Sawyer says:

    Burning the flag has been deemed protected speech by the Supreme Court. But specifically, that means that the Government can’t stop you from doing it. It does not prevent the “speaker” having to suffer the consequences of inciting a reaction from someone that doesn’t agree with their hate speech. Even Anton Scalia indicated that he was against the practice of flag burning:
    “If it were up to me, I would put in jail every sandal-wearing, scruffy-bearded weirdo who burns the American flag,” Scalia said. “But I am not king.”

    • Roberta X says:

      And yet he was on the majorty’s side in the “flag-burning is protected speech.”

      It’s okay to loathe it; is is not okay to assault persons so doing, or to apply the might of the State against them.

      • Tony Sawyer says:

        The Constitution restricts the might of the State. It does not prevent citizens from reacting to language or actions that are intended to incite. Persons who choose to incite other citizens should consider the reactions that they are likely to get and be willing to accept the consequences. Otherwise, stop inciting violent reactions.

    • Publius says:

      Hey! I resemble that remark.

  6. Divemedic says:

    Most of the people who burn the flag are doing it for the same reason why teens date people that their parents don’t approve of, or listen to music that their parents hate. That is, they are petulant children who are trying to draw attention to the fact that they are adults, and that they can do what they want. They know that their actions are going to stir controversy. In fact, they are counting on it.

    With that being said, it is free speech. Of course, so are racial epithets. Liberals and conservatives both seem to only believe in the BOR when it suits them.

  7. RAH says:

    Trump knows burning the flag is protected speech and I know that. Trump has shown he goes overboard and then ramps it down It is a negotiating tactic. Plus it pushes back against the anti Americanism on Colleges that that is not appropriate. Trump has adopted the tactics of the left He pushes hard and set a narrative

  8. Tony Sawyer says:

    He also uses his Tweets to effectively distract the media and the liberal screamers (but I repeat myself) from what he is DOING. Words mean nothing, actions are everything. The Left can’t understand that. For them, words were actions. As soon as they said they cared, or would look at a problem, they were done, with no need to ACTUALLY do anything more. They were never about results, only virtue signalling. Trump only cares about results.

    • AnOregonian says:

      You bring up an interesting point, but miss by just a little. For liberals it’s not just the words, but rather feelings, which yes the words created. Jonathan Haidt has a lot of interesting research on this. Though he did a poor job naming the categories, ie. harm = feelings.

      But it explains why liberals get so upset at Trump’s mean words. The feelings mean words create are to them literally the equivalent of being physically assaulted.

      On the flip side, it also explains why they like their hashtag campaigns, it makes them feel good, therefore they must have done good.

    • Patrick says:

      I agree. I think the primary problem the right has in understanding Trump is that he can effectively channel right-thinking “feelings” the way the progressives channel emotions on the left.

      Elites like to think that conservatives ride above emotions like some kind of Vulcan enclave. That’s why they always lose.

      Trump drives the ball by identifying with emotional directives. He doesn’t just sign on to emotions – he takes point and leads the charge no matter where it takes him. The results seem outlandish to the elites, but it’s refreshing to anyone who has felt left out for most of the last three generations.

      Ask Bush/McCain/Romney/Rove/Kristoff/Krauthammer. They lost. Trump won.

      Welcome to the Conservative Populist New World Order (CPNWO, and yes I am coining it now).

  9. Chas says:

    All that the Supreme Court has to say is that flag burning constitutes “fighting words” because it tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace, and it can be banned.
    On the other hand, the benefit of keeping it legal is that encourages our enemies to reveal and discredit themselves.

  10. mkl says:

    I’ve found it ironic that the Supreme Court regards flag burning as “free speech” while allowing the hate crime laws to stand. Seems to me that both relate to what a person was thinking and thought constitutes a non-violent act. My personal opinion is that one should punish the offense (crime) and not what the person was thinking when it was committed. Why does the first amendment not apply to both?

    • Alpheus says:

      Indeed. I never understood the notion that killing someone for skin color or religion is somehow less hateful than killing someone for money. Is the latter it a love crime? A like crime? A sorry but this is just business crime?

      Granted, the mindset matters — otherwise there wouldn’t be self defense or negligent manslaughter — but once you get that out of the way, you’re left with first or second degree murder: at that level, I don’t care about your feelings, I just care about intent.

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