Patterico's Pontifications

6/15/2019

President Trump: “All In” On Amendment To Ban Desecration Of American Flag

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:43 am



[guest post by Dana]

Yesterday was Flag Day and the White House appeared to be a little confused about what the holiday commemorates:

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Flag Day was also the day that Republicans Sens. Steve Daines (MT) and Kevin Cramer (ND) introduced a Constitutional amendment to ban the desecration of the American flag:

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Daines commented:

Our United States flag is a timeless symbol of liberty that tells the story of America, the story of our enduring pursuit of freedom. Remembering the sacrifices of all who carried its colors into battle, our nation should always render the flag the honor and dignity it is due.

Cramer also weighed in, explaining why he sees such an amendment as worthwhile:

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This morning, President Trump announced his support for Daines and such an amendment:

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It’s not at all surprising that President Trump threw his support behind this, given that soon after being elected, he made it very clear that he believed no one should be allowed to desecrate the flag, and that if they did, there should be severe consequences:

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This despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that desecration of the U.S. flag is free speech protected under the First Amendment. (Texas v. Johnson) Given that efforts to add an amendment have failed before, and given that each chamber of Congress would have to pass the measure with a two-thirds majority, and three-fourths of the state legislatures would have to vote to approve the amendment for any change to the Constitution to be made, it’s unlikely to go anywhere. But really, is the push for such an amendment a good idea? Clearly some GOP lawmakers think it is. However, consider that this makes the GOP as a whole vulnerable to criticism of being anti-speech, or at the very least, the Party that attacks freedom of speech. This becomes an even more credible line of attack as prominent voices on the Right are currently demanding the government police social media platforms, and tell them what speech can be allowed.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

Sigh.

–Dana

44 Responses to “President Trump: “All In” On Amendment To Ban Desecration Of American Flag”

  1. Welp.

    Dana (bb0678)

  2. This ol’GOP, with it’s obtuse message, brings to mind my late grandfather, who in the final year of his life, blamed the telephone for not calling him.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  3. Flag desecration is definitely the most serious problem we face in America today, and I for one applaud President Trump for putting aside political calculations and taking such a courageous, principled stance on this issue.

    Dave (1bb933)

  4. I don’t know about your neighborhood, but mine is on fire with all the rampant flag burning.

    Dana (bb0678)

  5. Burning is the official appropriate method of flag disposal. It’s in the flag code.

    Nic (896fdf)

  6. Dr. samuel johnson said it best patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. When boswell asked dr. johnson what he thought of the american revolution going on at the time he said I observe those who scream the loudest about freedom and liberty are the slave holding southerners. Some things never change. America is an idea. AmeriKKKa is a piece of cloth.

    lany (a13e03)

  7. That’s a funny photoshop of Trump literally hugging a flag.

    Oh it’s not a photoshop?

    Oooh.

    It’s so basic it’s barely worth mentioning but if you only permit free speech you like, it’s not free speech. I’m not glad the NYT posted Bill Ayers standing on the US Flag on 9/11/2001, but I am glad people like that expose their contempt for our society, and are responded to intelligently, instead of with speech codes.

    China needs bans on disloyalty. They also need tanks in public squares and tear gas for reporters. The USA should be bigger than that.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  8. Some years ago someone told me about the “fallacy of misplaced concreteness.” Basically, it’s a name for placing too much importance in something very specific and concrete, as opposed to the actually important thing that is being represented.

    So for example, the ideals of freedom of speech, religion, the press, and freedom from undue government suppression of those things, are very important and must be preserved. America as a nation, a set of ideals, a legal system of parameters, is very important. Treating veterans with honor and dignity is very important. The flag, which is a concrete symbol of these (and other) things, is important as well, but secondarily so. It is a symbol of the important stuff and points to it. But it is not nearly equal to the important stuff itself.

    In religious terms, that’s the difference between an icon and an idol. The icon isn’t the thing. It represents the actual thing, and points us toward it. But when we start worshiping the icon itself, we’ve actually lost sight of the deepest truth and values and are engaging in idolatry.

    TR (2c5752)

  9. After 9-11 the san jose mercury posted a cartoon of the little napalmed vietnamese girl running down the road with the twin towers crashing down behind her. Caption what goes around comes around.

    lany (a13e03)

  10. “I don’t know about your neighborhood, but mine is on fire with all the rampant flag burning.”
    Dana (bb0678) — 6/15/2019 @ 12:01 pm

    If that’s your metric, then there must be a lot of neighborhoods suffering from rampant Russia collusion, or late third trimester abortions.

    Munroe (7306d9)

  11. They’re asking for an Amendment knowing you cannot just ban disfavored speech. Contrast that to the “hate speech” argument of the left including the nonsense just passed in California or espoused by the Democrat candidates regarding abortion.

    NJRob (569b82)

  12. 10 that was supposed to be sarcasm. My posts are the real deal so they have to be as subtle as a panzer division in full attack!

    lany (a13e03)

  13. Ayers not being in prison, something else we can thank mark felt for, and writing curriculum for the last 30 years is why we’re largely here, he realized what buttigeg sen. subject about a walk through the institutions, It’s not a priority but after 30 years I’m not convinced Johnson v us, was good law either,

    narciso (d1f714)

  14. as a consequence, the notion that a decorated intelligence officer can be dismissed because of his policy views has become second nature, it’s not by accident it’s deliberate coordination of what is allowed and unallowed in the public square,

    narciso (d1f714)

  15. each chamber of Congress would have to vote to call a constitutional convention and pass the measure with a two-thirds majority

    I guess they could call a Constitutional Convention, but that’s not the way it’s been done the last 27 or so times.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  16. They’re asking for an Amendment knowing you cannot just ban disfavored speech. Contrast that to the “hate speech” argument of the left

    But this does give the reason to oppose such an amendment. The slippery slope always starts with something or someone no one especially likes. “Why should I object? I don’t burn flags and I don’t think it should be legal!”

    And then next it’s pornography, but no one admits to that either. And soon enough certain hate words, or thoughts. Eventually we get down to “badmouthing our leaders” and “disrupting society.”

    Thanks, but no. You wanna burn a flag, go right ahead so long as it is your flag. But it’s the last time you borrow my lawnmower.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  17. It should be illegal to desecrate the flag. It’s not speech within the ambit of the First Amendment. The black-robed dingalings who said it was should have been impeached and removed. Making up Constitutional Amendments 5-4, in 1989 nunc pro tunc to 1789, is not good Behavior.

    nk (dbc370)

  18. But we could go nuts trying to correct all the dingaling rulings by black-robed dindalings through Constitutional Amendment. We’d do better to amend the Judiciary Act to limit their jurisdiction (Si, se puede!) with an occasional impeachment to remind them that this is not a banana republic ruled by a black-robed junta.

    nk (dbc370)

  19. But this does give the reason to oppose such an amendment. The slippery slope always starts with something or someone no one especially likes. “Why should I object? I don’t burn flags and I don’t think it should be legal!”

    And then next it’s pornography, but no one admits to that either. And soon enough certain hate words, or thoughts. Eventually we get down to “badmouthing our leaders” and “disrupting society.”

    Thanks, but no. You wanna burn a flag, go right ahead so long as it is your flag. But it’s the last time you borrow my lawnmower.

    Kevin M (21ca15) — 6/15/2019 @ 3:32 pm

    And that’s a valid reason for not supporting it. But it is disingenuous to claim Trump is anti-speech for following the law.

    NJRob (569b82)

  20. People who burn flags want to burn the nation and people those flags represent too.

    nk (dbc370)

  21. And burning is not the only way to desecrate. We had a little punk in Chicago back in the last century who set up an “art exhibit” at the Chicago Art institute which included an American flag lying on the floor that he invited people to step on in order to sign his guest book.

    nk (dbc370)

  22. Its the most harmless they could have done, which means nearly nothing

    Narciso (9cdaa3)

  23. Dana–

    See #15 for a correction.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  24. Justice Scalia only why he cast the deciding vote in the Johnson case, on the principal of a textual reading of the First Amendment. “If it were up to me, I would put in jail every sandal-wearing, scruffy-bearded weirdo who burns the American flag,” Scalia said at a November 2015 event in Philadelphia. “But I am not king.”

    Dana (bb0678)

  25. Rehnquist’s dissent. “A page of history is worth a volume of Scalia’s witticisms.” (paraphrase)

    nk (dbc370)

  26. Burning. A. Flag. Is. Not. Desecration. It may be protest, but it is the proper way to dispose of a flag

    Nic (896fdf)

  27. Cutting somebody’s belly open with a knife is not aggravated battery. It’s the proper way to perform an appendectomy.

    nk (dbc370)

  28. A flag, be it the American flag or any other, has no more objective intrinsic value than any other similarly sized piece of cloth. What makes any flag meaningful is the symbolism that people project onto the flag.

    There likewise is no objective intrinsic value to burning a flag, no more than any other piece of cloth, the only value in the act being, again, the symbolism that people project onto that act.

    Every year for many decades, at the Texas-OU game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, there is a smattering of fist-fights, and occasionally worse confrontations, that are triggered by people making the very same hand gesture — tucking in the middle and ring fingers beneath the thumb, with the index and small fingers still extended — depending on whether the metaphorical ‘Horns symbolized by the gesture are pointed up or down.

    Symbols and symbolism are indeed powerful for reasons that aren’t objectively rational. They speak loudly but metaphorically. Allowing government to regulate symbols and symbolism based on its content is as pernicious an idea as allowing government to regulate spoken or printed speech based on its content.

    Every argument that a special rule should be made for the U.S. flag because of its special significance is merely a restatement of the observation that it is especially imbued with symbolism. Demonstrations using it, whether reverently or disdainfully, are intended to take advantage of that imbued symbolism to make intensify one’s argument, whether it’s an argument of reverence for the U.S. and its government or an argument that’s disdainful. But there is an asymmetry; ultimately, on close and prolonged observation of the symbolism and that which is behind it, the reverent people are celebrating a symbol that also stands for the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and especially including its guarantees of free speech. And by contrast, the disdainful people — the Bill Ayers with their arguments made in both words and symbolic conduct — are always, always undercut on the merits by the fact that those folks very ability to show disdain for the flag is as protected as my speech celebrating the it.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  29. If I go up near the front of the church and kneel in front of the cross, it is proper respect for the cross. It is still proper respect to the cross if I’m kneeling there through services as a protest to a church scandal (it isn’t proper respect to the church, of course, but it is proper respect to the cross) and making a church rule against kneeling to the cross would be ridiculous and silly.

    Nic (896fdf)

  30. By the way, I’m pleased that the #1 Google search return for the phrase “twisted dollop of evil scum” is something I wrote about Bill Ayers in 2008.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  31. Beldar (fa637a) — 6/15/2019 @ 8:45 pm

    Well said, Beldar — especially the concluding sentence.

    Munroe (c9d085)

  32. TR, great comment. Nail on the head. The flag itself is just a flag. The concepts it represents are important, but we’re not literally worshiping a flag itself.

    I’m pleased that the #1 Google search return for the phrase “twisted dollop of evil scum” is something I wrote about Bill Ayers in 2008.

    That’s pretty sweet.

    You should have linked it to help google remember.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  33. A flag protection amendment would supersede the Supreme Court, as if such an amendment is a reality.
    But for Christ’s sake, on one day Trump is hugging the American flag and on another day Trump is endorsing the the un-American act of getting intel from a hostile foreign power on his political opponents, so there’s your cynical reason for Trump’s flag amendment proposal right there.

    Paul Montagu (cbbfc4)

  34. Supreme Court lineup in Texas v. Johnson.
    Majority:
    Brennan — Harvard
    Marshall — Howard
    Blackmun — Harvard
    Scalia — Harvard
    Kennedy — Harvard
    Dissent:
    Rehnquist — Stanford
    White — Yale
    O’Connor — Stanford
    Stevens — Northwestern

    Hmm?

    nk (dbc370)

  35. A fklag protection won’t happen, but if it did you would have something narrowly confined to one specific thing, which people shouldn’t miss, but there always be poor fools who would burn a U.S. flag and they don’t draconian penalties. (we valie free speech so highly so that there are no small speech crimes.)

    Sammy Finkelman (d542b2)

  36. yet ‘the twisted dollop’ has prevailed in large measure, writing the curriculum, much like another fellow, a career Marxist behind the single payer system, has made great strides,

    narciso (d1f714)

  37. “on another day Trump is endorsing the the un-American act of getting intel from a hostile foreign power on his political opponents”

    Given that the players who acquired the anti-Trump intel were, in fact, almost all high ranking bureaucrats using their connection to foreign diplomats acting in the finest Ted Kennedy tradition, I’d say it’s the most American act of all!

    “prominent voices on the Right are currently demanding the government police social media platforms, and tell them what speech can be allowed.

    This is, to put it very kindly, rather the reverse of the situation described, the type of verbiage I’d expect from a company PR department rather than someone interested in the public’s right to know.

    All those who pronounce publicly on this flag-burning issue shall be judged in their seriousness by their prior public positions on Andrew Anglin v. Godaddy, Youtube v. Alex Jones, and Twitter v. anyone to the right of Howard Zinn. If executive authority over obvious monopolies is unlimited in every case except the actual elected Chief Executive, we do not live in a country of laws, but a country of lawyers.

    “Every argument that a special rule should be made for the U.S. flag because of its special significance is merely a restatement of the observation that it is especially imbued with symbolism.”

    This is the type of paper-thin justification that I’d normally expect to hear at an Andre Serrano art exhibition on how dipping the crucifix in urine really shows how much he RESPECTS the power of the image and its symbolically loaded blah blah blah…

    No. Revoking citizenship for public desecration of the American flag is not an assault on free speech, but simply taking your free speech seriously at its face value and honoring the mental decision it represents.

    Echidna (ce58cb)

  38. If someone from Venezuela in 2008 had tried to alert John McCain about what Bill Ayers was suppoting there, should he have refused to listen? It would not even ne a U.S. crime.

    Sammy Finkelman (d542b2)

  39. Good. Get the Democrats and RINO’s on record of being in favor of burning the flag. Get all the D’ POTUS candidates to talk about how they are 100 percent against the flag burning admendment because its “racist” or something.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  40. I would prefer a more general amendment, one that granted Congress the power to define what speech was allowable ant which was not. That way Liberians conservatives could support it

    Rip Murdock (3a7c4f)

  41. I would prefer a more general amendment, one that granted Congress the power to define what speech was allowable and which was not. That way liberals and conservatives could support it

    Rip Murdock (3a7c4f)

  42. Good. Get the Democrats and RINO’s on record of being in favor of burning the flag. Get all the D’ POTUS candidates to talk about how they are 100 percent against the flag burning admendment because its “racist” or something.

    rcocean (1a839e) — 6/16/2019 @ 1:43 pm

    You either misunderstand the argument or the people offering it. I’m not in favor of your comment claiming “RINOs” are in favor of burning the flag, for example. But I would oppose any law banning such a comment.

    You shouldn’t conflate supporting the right to make a political statement with being in favor of that statement. Anyone burning our flag in protest of our country is being disgraceful. But people have the right to say disgraceful things, and especially if they are talking about their government. Any government that controls criticism of the government is a tyranny.

    Interestingly enough, you reference how accusations of racism and political correctness wrongly are employed to control political speech. But you also seem to see what’s really going on here. It’s more about short term politics and getting political opponents to explain a principle that runs against nationalist pride.

    Dustin (6d7686)

  43. “You shouldn’t conflate supporting the right to make a political statement with being in favor of that statement.”

    Tell it to the moderation team with a dead email address situated half a continent away, bigot.

    “Anyone burning our flag in protest of our country is being disgraceful. But people have the right to say disgraceful things, and especially if they are talking about their government. Any government that controls criticism of the government is a tyranny.”

    Guess the presence of the Secret Service and their ability to investigate and prosecute individuals who regularly frame their incitement as criticism means that we’re already a tyranny. Or maybe it means that you’re a man who makes overly broad absolute statements for rhetorical effect instead of generalizations based on what reasonable people could agree on.

    “Interestingly enough, you reference how accusations of racism and political correctness wrongly are employed to control political speech. But you also seem to see what’s really going on here. It’s more about short term politics and getting political opponents to explain a principle that runs against nationalist pride.”

    The term you’re looking for is “tit for tat”, “sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander”, and “Alinsky’s tactics are fair game for all players.” After all, you shouldn’t conflate the right to use a political tactic with being in favor of that tactic, eh?

    Boulevard (a4f7c2)


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