>> Tuesday, November 29, 2016
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
It has been observed, of course, that this would be all kinds of unconstitutional. Not that the Great Orange Creature has read the Constitution since he was a schoolboy, not that he much cares what is in it, not that he has any more interest in the founding document than he does in the daily operations of the office he is now the heir presumptive to.
|Photo ©NBC via Rob Beschizza.|
But what is--perhaps--getting less noticed is that the Orange Man is the type of demagogue who would say--or tweet--the same thing even if he did know better. He doesn't seem to much care what he himself says, for one thing; he does care what others say, when they are being disrespectful, when they are puncturing his hot air balloon ego. So there's that. But, thing is, even if he did care, he'd go on and Tweet things like that anyway, because it's chum for his frenzied base. It's the kind of thing a certain kind of political beast would toss over the side of the boat just to set the dumb fish thrashing and chewing everything and nothing--seawater, empty air, a mouthful of blood and reeking fishguts, whatever.
For the sort of person who ardently supported the Bankruptcy King (I don't mean those who merely aided and abetted, voting for racism and misogyny and religious bigotry and bullying for "reasons"; these people have their own accounting to do, eventually, especially if there is a God and He's just), the kind of American who doesn't say the Pledge, who kneels during the National Anthem, who burns a flag in protest, is already suspect. You should keep this in mind when reading the above tweet and all the other tweets like it and hear him say similar things. The ardent supporter of Mr. Pussygrabber most likely, I think, takes it on some deep lizard level as already given that a protester or critic isn't really a citizen in the first place, and depriving her or him of citizenship would really be more a formality than anything else. Real Americans don't do such things; Real Americans show a little respect; Real Americans love this country or ought to leave it, and to "love" implicitly means that it's your country, right or wrong, and you don't say even a word against it.
In Real America, patriotism is a facile thing, the blind devotion of the dog that licks the boots that kick him.
I do not really believe that DJT particularly cares about free speech or the flag, you know. I strongly suspect he cares about being adored, and that he knows who his audience is. Knows that if he says the things his core supporters believe in their deepest hearts, they will shout and chant and shake their fists. This doesn't make him less dangerous, it should be said; it may well make him more dangerous. You wonder what the Great Prevaricator might do if he lies his way into a corner; do consider that he is already walking back many of the impossible promises he made: the wall is becoming a fence, the Muslim registry may be little more than a reinstatement of the Bush-era NSEERS program for tracking foreign visitors, he may not be as interested in repealing the Affordable Care Act as previously advertised, his "swamp-draining" appears to involve offering appointments to a "Who's-Who" of washed-out Washington insiders like Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani. At some point, it's conceivable that his Truest Believers will start removing their "Make America Great" redcaps to rub their foreheads in confusion, asking "What gives?" as they notice that the man who tells it like it is isn't quite how he tells it. And when that happens, does he shrug and admit there is nothing behind the curtain, that Oz The Great and Terrible is really just a two-bit real estate grifter from Queens whose daddy was rich enough to keep him from having to make a start in a boiler room with all the other jive turkeys, or does he start desperately trying to deliver?
I worry it will be Choice B. And it may well be that whatever he does to deliver something so that he can hear the cheering over the jeering again will be terribly naughty and astonishingly illegal, but of course we have a country that is built upon deliberative processes--this was a feature in the original design, a way to keep a new nation from getting itself into trouble through hastiness and over-zealousness, but a feature that has become a chronic bug, regularly crashing the system; and so the people who become the chosen victims to be made examples of may get acquitted, or freed, or reinstated, or may receive reparations eventually (or their heirs might), but in the meantime their cases wind through the courts, or Presidential actions are brought before subcommittees and then committees and then one of the houses and then before the full Congress, or decades of shame pass until some future leader issues an apology or is authorized by the legislature to cut a check.
There's that. Oh, and there's also the way Orange Crush's tweets and pronouncements galvanize the Real Americans. Hate crimes are up, and we'll acknowledge that Deej is tepidly against them and he'll quietly ask his supporters to stop, "If it helps." Unsurprisingly, he puts much less effort into stopping anyone than he did into winding them up in the first place; less a matter of sincerity than it is simply the fact that winding somebody up until they are frothing and shouting and shaking their fists in the air like they're at a pretty fantastic heavy metal concert is a lot less fun than telling people to pipe down; people like feeling excited and part of a throng, they like being part of the movement (it is part of being social creatures), telling them to cut it out suggests to people they're doing something wrong, that they might even need to feel some nebulous shame, which is not a pleasant feeling, much less the unbridled joy of cheering and chanting along with a roaring murmur of cheerers and chanters.
If you're not a citizen, if you ought to be locked up, then being approached by some nearly-violent, instigated wacko to be yelled at and perhaps even assaulted is really the least you could expect, yeah? You have no rights, so you have no recourse; you shouldn't even complain, really, really you should be grateful that all you got was spat on and your silly little sign torn out of your hands and your ear clouted from behind, instead of going to a camp or prison, or being deported, or being whatever else a disloyal, traitorous, un-American, sad bitch ought to receive. Being shamed or injured is less than you deserve, you don't even belong here.
That OJ hasn't come right out and said that, well, there's his moral cover he can pull over himself to keep himself warm and secure in his suite in Trump Tower, Man of the People that he is. He didn't say the protesters weren't citizens, only that they shouldn't be. And he went on CBS and he asked them to stop, if it would help, which it didn't, but he tried. And then at three in the morning, when most of the east coast of his country is asleep, and he is lying awake thinking of the adoring mobs with their signs and their hats, he reaches for his phone and he will tweet another idle incitement, not because he means it, but because it's good to be loved.