Trump Is Gleefully Pushing America Towards Fascism
When Donald Trump was elected to office, I brushed off most of the accusations that he was a fascist, or that he would destroy the country, or even the world. Give the man a chance, right? Trump’s recent comments calling for Americans who burn the flag to lose their citizenship and/or spend a year in jail, however, have crossed a line that I cannot ignore. Is Trump a fascist? I don’t know, but he’s flirting with some very dangerous lines.
You don’t have to like or agree with people who burn the American flag. While I sympathize with some of the causes that flag burners have supported, I personally despise the practice. It’s disrespectful, sure, but more importantly (to me) it’s also divisive, and rather than raising awareness, it’s more likely to shut down debate. Extreme acts have a tendency of increasing tensions, and thus the gap between disagreeing parties.
Regardless, the right to burn the American flag is enshrined in the American constitution as part of our right to free speech. The burning of the flag is a symbolic and emotional act, rather than physically violent, and two separate Supreme Court rulings in both 1989 and 1990 have protected Americans’ rights to burn the flag. As much as some might disagree with it, the act of burning a flag possess no threat to anyone, and is a symbolic act to express feelings and political sentiments.
Not only that, but in 1958, the Supreme Court also rejected stripping Americans of their citizenship as a form of punishment, citing the practice as “cruel & unusual.” If Americans were stripped of their citizenship, many would be left stateless, essentially lacking any legal way to live.
If Trump were to pass laws prohibiting flag burning, it would an assault on the First Amendment and our rights to free speech. Freedom of speech, and specifically to criticize the government, is a right our founders fought for, and now Trump apparently wants to toss that aside. Maybe Trump isn’t a fascist, but some of his stances certainly border of fascism.
Alt-right outpouring supports flag burning punishment
So far, Twitter and various alt-right websites and comment boards, as well as some zealous pundits, are backing Trump. This, is perhaps the scariest element of it all. Trump’s election campaign was laced with fascist comments, and instead of turning people away, it seemed to rile much of his base up.
With the outpouring of support for yet another fascist policy stance, Americans need to be worried. If Trump pushes forward with his proposed plans, it could radically alter the trajectory of America’s political course and irreparably restrict the freedoms that many Americans enjoy and possibly take for granted.
Many supporters of Trump also point out that Hillary Clinton had previously tried to introduce a bill that would outlaw flag burning. This is an interesting tidbit of historical knowledge, but Clinton isn’t going to be our Commander-in-Chief and her law never came to pass. Either way, multiple wrongs never add up to a right.