Our new President-elect apparently has no understanding of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. I have previously pointed this out when he advocated depriving people of their right to keep and bear arms without due process if they were placed on the onerous “no-fly” list.
He proves it once again today with yet another demonstration of his lack of understanding and respect for fundamental rights. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifically protects free speech from government prosecution and persecution. The nation’s courts over the years have also ruled that state and local governments cannot infringe on these basic, fundamental liberties.
Amendment I. 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 the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
That means that political speech is protected. That means the government cannot punish you for speaking out, for expressing an unpopular opinion, for criticizing your leadership, or even your country by burning her flag in effigy. That means no politician has the right to use government force to limit your criticism of America.
But hey, apparently Trump’s respect for the First Amendment lies somewhere below his respect for property rights.
It is a right. By its very nature a right does not infringe on others’ rights when exercised. The great Walter Williams wrote that rights exist simultaneously among people.
As such, a right imposes no obligation on another. For example, the right to free speech is something we all possess. My right to free speech imposes no obligation upon another except that of noninterference. Similarly, I have a right to travel freely. Again, that right imposes no obligation upon another except that of noninterference.
Burning our nation’s flag – as repulsive as it is to me as an Army veteran – is a right. It places no obligation on another when exercised and violates no one else’s rights by force.
You may be offended by the gesture, and I can’t say I blame you.
It’s offensive to me as an immigrant. It’s repugnant to me as someone who has served this nation and is willing to die for the principles it enshrines. But as I’ve so often told Special Snowflakes, you have no right not to be offended, and this fact holds true for everyone, including those of us who find flag burning a disgusting and disrespectful act, which it is.
Burning a flag is a symbol that expresses an idea, said the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
The pertinent part is at around the 8:00 mark. The man Trump will seek to replace on the Supreme Court understood the Constitution and recognized that burning the flag, as distasteful as we find it, is political speech. Protected political speech.
The great thing about this country is that our right to be the most pernicious of warts is protected by the Constitution. Our right to scream from the rooftops that we hate our government, that we abhor our troops, and that we despise our flag is enshrined in the Bill of Rights, because it is the most odious of expressions that need the most protection.
If we don’t strive to protect speech and expression with which we disagree, we will wind up being censored in the end.
Freedom is hard. Freedom means understanding that even the most repulsive expression is protected from government prosecution.
I honor the flag. I have served to protect the symbol of liberty – not the cloth – but what it represents, which includes the right to criticize our government in the most offensive way possible!
If we begin prosecuting individuals for speech we find abhorrent, just think of what the SJWs will do with that power!
“The idea that you have to be protected from any kind of uncomfortable emotion is what I absolutely do not subscribe to.”
― John Cleese