Ehm, that just might be taking patriotism a bit too far, Don:
Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016
Some of Trump’s supporters on Twitter defend this tweet by arguing that burning the flag is akin to “inciting a riot.” Nice try, but it’s not a very convincing argument. As blogger David Burge (also known as IowaHawk) points out:
.@SlowLaneLodge this is the same argument used by people who want to ban burning Korans.
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) November 29, 2016
I have no sympathy for anyone who burns any flag (unless it’s the Nazi flag or a communist flag), but I believe there’s this little thing called “freedom of speech.” Yes, American citizens can burn the American flag. Those who do are idiots, but hey, people have the right to be moronic. It’s all part of this grand “freedom” thingy. And, again yes, as a Dutchman I’m also fine with Dutch people (or others) burning the Dutch flag. I’ll get angry with them and tell them they should be ashamed of themselves, but that’s not quite the same as throwing them in prison or taking their citizenship away from them. The latter punishment should only be used in exceptional cases such as treason or terrorism.
Let’s hope (for American citizens and liberty worldwide) that Trump will be surrounded by people who have slightly more respect for freedom of speech than the president-elect himself. I get that he likes to present himself as a “strong man” with an “iron will,” but let’s not overdo it, shall we? It’s a fine line between “strong leadership” and “authoritarianism.”