With his tweet stating that those burning the American flag should have their citizenship revoked and/or face a year’s imprisonment, Trump again went to war against the First Amendment. Let’s have a look at it, just in case anyone needs a reminder:
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 to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for redress of their grievances.
I have pondered the question of whether or not he actually knows what it says. If yes, then he is more machiavellian than I care to contemplate and is very deliberately setting about challenging it. If no, which is what I suspect, then he needs a refresher course in basic American civics. Despite what he may think, even the POTUS is not above the law. He is reportedly considering a registry for Muslims and during his campaign ran on the promise to ban all Muslims from entering the country; he has threatened repeatedly to open up libel laws, sue various news media, thrown journalists out of his rallies, ridiculed a disabled jounalist, and made insulting remarks about news media that published articles he found less than flattering. Since the election, he has held few press conferences, abandoned having a press corps, and instead communicates by tweets. He has shown his usual hostility to coverage that does not cater to his ego (CNN-how dare they report factually!) and then went on further to show his contempt for the FA with his flag burning tweet.
This is all part and parcel of a disturbing pattern. Trump does NOT LIKE anyone having the power to disagree with him or show him in any light that is less than wonderful. That would be fine, were he just a businessman. But he will be POTUS. He lashes out immediately via twitter to vent his ire. Will he be able to translate his consuming ego and its march upon the First Amendment into real action? Will the the press (and even perhaps blogs like this one) lose their voice to dissent? Much depends upon his Supreme Court appointee(s). He doesn’t have the power as POTUS that he might wish; there ARE checks and balances. Yes, he does wield executive order, but that only carries for certain things. The next four years will be interesting. (I’m reminded of the Chinese curse-“may you live in intersting times!”