Saturday, June 15, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He brought up the subject of flags, with which he has an interesting history.

This morning, Trump tweeted this:

This is an unusual approach for Trump to a free-speech question in that it actually respects Constitutional law. The Supreme Court has found that flag burning is protected political speech, but an amendment to the Constitution could change that. (Previously, Trump called for stripping citizenship from people who burned flags, which is a whole other kind of unconstitutional.)

But Trump's call for a flag amendment today appears to be in response to yet another controversy he stirred up yesterday, when the official White House Twitter account posted this image in celebration of Flag Day.

It shows Trump hugging the flag, next to advertising for conservative groups. It's one of many images showing Trump literally wrapping himself around the flag.

Technically, there's nothing in the U.S. Flag Code that prohibits fondling or caressing the flag. But there's a reason that virtually every other American politician has stopped short of getting literally wrapped up in the flag: it's a favorite move of authoritarians. For example, both the current Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro and his notorious predecessor, Hugo Chavez, used their own embrace of national symbols to prop themselves up politically.

Image result for maduro trump flag 
Image result for hugo chavez kissing flag

Kissing and hugging the flag is also a standby for petty dictators like the Philippines' Rodrigo Duterte.

Image result for duterte hugging flag -trump

Trump's latest wrapped-in-the-flag self-promotion was poorly received by conservatives,

veterans' groups,

and pretty much everyone else who noticed.

Why should I care about this?

  • The flag of the United States is the symbol of our country, not the personal trademark of Donald Trump.
  • It's not a good sign when presidents take their cues from dictators' style books.