Today President Donald Trump declared support for a new constitutional amendment to allow Congress to override the First Amendment and criminalize the burning of the American flag. The legislation for the amendment was reintroduced by Sen. Steve Daines (R- Montana) and Sen Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota). While I consider flag burning (of any country) to be deeply offensive, there is no need for such an amendment to combat the extremely few incidents of flag burning. It is certainly a popular political cause, but we should not amend the Constitution to reduce free speech, particularly given the low number of flag burnings.
Trump tweeted “All in for Senator Steve Daines as he proposes an Amendment for a strong BAN on burning our American Flag. A no brainer!”
Is the opposite of a “no brainer” a “brainer”? If so this is a brainer. Many of revere the flag and consider its burning to be a terrible act of contempt for those who gave their lives in its defense. It is the same reason that I oppose those protesting during the anthem. However, I do not think that we should clutter the Constitution with such narrow exceptions. I also do not support amending a constitution to limit rather than expand free speech. Free speech is already under attack in the West. We should not open the door to insular exceptions to this defining right.
What do you think?