The burning of the American flag by a U.S. citizen is not a new concept. Protesters over the last hundred years have burned the flag whenever they were unhappy with some aspect of their government or the way it’s being run. But to veterans who fought for the country, it hurts them to see their fellow American citizens burning the flag they fought so bravely to preserve. That is why President-elect Donald Trump is toying with the idea of punishing those who burn the American flag by taking away their citizenship or possibly putting them in jail for one year.
This recent American flag discussion all started after Fox News reported on a dispute taking place at Hampshire College, which is in the state of Massachusetts. The dispute was in regards to Trump winning the presidential election and how many students felt afraid of what would happen to them in the future with Trump as president.
According to the president of the college, many students at the college are from marginalized communities who felt the American flag was a symbol of fear. So, at first, the college lowered their American flag that normally hung on their flagpole. However, that didn’t seem to calm the students down because the flag was eventually removed and then later burned.
Donald Trump responded to the flag burning on Twitter by writing: “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”
Trump got criticized for this tweet because his proposed punishments would be a violation of people’s First Amendment rights which gives them freedom of expression. Not only that, the courts have already decided that no one’s U.S. citizenship can be taken away from them no matter what they do. You can fine people or imprison them, but you can’t revoke their citizenship.