Flag Represents the Best in Us

For several days earlier this month, Brown University offered a counseling center on campus, serving hot chocolate and cookies to students made uncomfortable by events on campus Nov. 11.

Following Brown’s lead, several universities posted “trigger warning” notices in dormitories. Students were advised they need not leave their rooms to go to class, for fear they would witness someone burning an American flag. Safe zones where any talk of burning flags was banned were established.

None of this happened. I made it all up. As far as I know, no U.S. college or university did any such thing.

That says something about the state of higher education as well as many young people in our country.

In case you missed it, some students at Brown, in Providence, R.I., seized American flags set up for a Veterans Day ceremony, tore them up and threw them away. It needs to be added that some other students stepped in to protect the remaining flags.

At campuses and in cities throughout the nation, people have been burning American flags in protest of the result  of the Nov. 8 election.

For several days after Donald Trump was elected, you may recall, students at some institutions of higher learning were so upset that professors were canceling classes and college and university officials were holding special programs, complete with refreshments, to calm the poor dears down.

This is nothing new. Many colleges and universities go out of their way to keep coddled young men and women from having to think about anything unpleasant.

What’s interesting is that apparently, no one in the Ivory Towers thinks watching a flag being burned is unpleasant enough that steps need to be taken to soothe students’ hurt feelings.

Flag burning itself is nothing new, of course. I’ve seen it once or twice with my own eyes. Cookies, hot chocolate and being excused from going to class would not have calmed me down.

But flag burning is a protected form of free speech, under the First Amendment. That is right and proper. One thing that safeguards our freedom is our right to say just about anything, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else.

It has been pointed out that burning a flag is merely destroying a scrap of cloth. It is only a symbol of our nation, after all.

Exactly. Old Glory is not a symbol of Donald Trump. It is not a symbol of the conservatives so deplored by many in academia.

The red, white and blue is a symbol of us, past and present, as a nation. At Brown, it was a symbol of men and women who have given much, sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice, so spoiled brats could have the right to destroy the flag.

What part of that don’t the self-described intellectuals get? Are they that stupid? Or would they truly prefer a regime similar to that run by one of their heroes, Fidel Castro?

Did anyone at the colleges and universities where Castro was praised after his death worry about Cuban-American students who might be upset at being reminded of loved ones put to death by the dictator? No.

We’ve allowed colleges and universities, most of them supported directly or indirectly by our tax dollars, to become hotbeds of selective outrage. That, too, is nothing new.

But what is different is leftists’ new strategy for suppressing dissent and even discussion: If it upsets the right people, ban it. If it pleases the right people, support it or, at the very least, pretend it didn’t happen. What flag burning? What students who shouted down a speaker?

Thoughtful people understand we Americans have done terrible things. Our treatment of both African-Americans and Native Americans comes to mind.

But our flag represents our ideals. It is a symbol of what is best in us. Desecrating it is spitting on that for which we stand.

How difficult is it to understand that, not to mention why burning a flag might upset someone?

Very, to judge by activities on some campuses. Ever wonder why they call themselves “intellectuals”?

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.

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