Trump’s Fascist Tendencies, Pt 1: Flag Burning

Per the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, fascism is defined in this manner:

a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

Nation above the individual. Forcible suppression of opposition. Which brings us to this tweet from the President-elect:

It’s not surprising Trump believes this, as do a lot of self-styled “patriots.” Soon, the United States will be handing the daunting powers of the Executive Branch over to a man who hasn’t the faintest idea what liberty means, much like these “patriots.” The oath Trump will take includes the provision to “defend the Constitution.” There’s this tiny little amendment in that Constitution, the first one, that reads something like this:

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.

Flag burning is political speech at its most basic form. Noisy, abrasive, offensive political speech is the most American of American values. As libertarian entertainer (and former contestant on “The Apprentice”) Penn Jillette eloquently wrote,

Without the right to burn the flag, without that freedom of expression, the flag is just a piece of cloth. It means nothing. With that freedom, with our Bill of Rights, it’s the greatest symbol on earth. It’s magic.

Will the American flag eventually come to represent the very fascism America fought against in World War II? I hope that answer isn’t left up to Trump and his ilk.

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