I had thought that Richard Dawkins was the prime example of old, white, straight male privilege spilling out all over Twitter like toxic waste. We have a new winner for that position, one Donald Trump. For fuck’s sake, if he can’t control himself on effing Twitter, what does that say for when he’s handed the keys to the country?
Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016
Adorable, isn’t it, electing a jackass who doesn’t know one thing about government, history, the constitution, or the bill of rights. These are things you should know from grade school, but as we’ll see in an upcoming post, Trump doesn’t think that sort of thing matters, no. It’s just as well to keep in mind that this may well be another smoke screen, give the rubes something to watch, while I do this next evil thing. It’s best not to forget the proposal for legislating “economic terrorism“, aka protests. Everyone in the resistance has to keep all this in mind. Okay, back to the current idiocy:
But even setting aside Trump’s unconstitutional call to criminalize flag burning, which became a staple of American conservative politics long before Trump emerged as a presidential candidate, Trump is calling for something even more extraordinary. He wants to strip citizenship — and with it, voting rights — from political dissidents. Federal law does permit Americans to lose their citizenship after “committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States,” but flag burning is a far cry from treason or armed rebellion. It is a political statement, and democracy depends on the free expression of political ideas.
The president-elect of the United States has proposed stripping a political protester’s very status as an American. In the process, he would take away that person’s ability to vote — and thus to vote for someone other than Donald Trump. Today, Trump proposes this consequence for a very specific category of speech that most Americans view as odious. But once a person’s voting rights can be made contingent upon their beliefs, or their silence, then elections become increasingly meaningless.
We have to remember that Trump isn’t done appointing people as of yet; we have to remember that people with truly repugnant views control the senate and congress, so there’s little point scoffing with a “can’t happen”. We’ve seen what can happen. If that “economic terrorism” bill goes through, and there’s no particular reason to think it won’t, especially given Standing Rock, this isn’t quite as impossible as it seems right now. It doesn’t even matter whether or not Trump means what he says, he said it, he said it in a very public manner, and all the bigots, white supremacists, and other weak people who are desperate for a chance to kick others will embrace it. Welcome to the Nightmare.