Last week, we reported on the fact that Hampshire College (a very small college in Amherst, MA) removed the American flag from their flag pole, in addition to banning all flags on campus, as a response to some students burning the American flag. It was a controversial decision at the time and remains one to this day. In fact, this past weekend a group of Vietnam veterans appeared on campus at Hampshire College to protest the removal of all flags.
Hundreds of veterans, veterans’ family members, and American flag supporters showed up on campus to protest the decision. Although it was a peaceful protest, there seemed to be a feeling of “we’re right, you’re wrong” in the air. Maybe the protestors missed the memo, but the college students at Hampshire College might be the most liberal, artsy students I’ve ever seen in my time here at COED. War veterans protesting at their school doesn’t really strike me as the best way to prove their point, but they’re certainly welcome to make it.
“They took down my flag, they have a right to that, I’m here to defend their right to do that but I want them to understand how bad that hurts me,” veteran Jerry Maguire told WWLP-TV.
But the big news of today is that many people believe the coverage of this flag protest is what prompted President-elect Donald Trump to tweet this:
The tweet was sent at 6:55 A.M. EST, which corresponds with Fox News’ coverage of the event Tuesday morning. Flag-burning is something that’s protected by the Constitution of the United States of America. Although it’s certainly a sign of disrespect and hostility, it’s not illegal. One teacher in Fayetteville, North Carolina tried to teach that to his students in class but was immediately suspended.
We’re not a fan of the removal of the American flag, burning of flags, or putting the flag at half-mast in response to Trump’s victory, but these are forms of protest that college students should be learning. Let them also learn how to deal with people protesting on their property. That’s America. That’s how this works. But threatening to throw people in jail for burning the flag isn’t just illegal according to the Constitution, it’s a serious step towards radical authoritarian nationalism (aka fascism).
You can see photos of the Hampshire College protest below: