“You’re on fire! You’re on fire, stupid!” yells a Cleveland cop to a protester burning the American flag.
There are few things that get Americans so riled up as burning the American flag. But, how about burning the American flag, setting yourself on fire and then catching bystanders on fire as well with your arson? That surely has to be illegal, right?
At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland earlier in the month, protesters did exactly that at a flag burning demonstration.
Gregory ‘Joey’ Johnson, who lit the flag on fire which led to himself and others getting burned started a violent scuffle among protesters and police resulting in over a dozen arrests. But Johnson is not new to this game. In 1989 his case Texas v Johnson set a precedent which protected flag burning as 1st amendment protected speech.
With flames, punches and screaming protesters were arrested. Onlookers, delegates and Republicans sang ‘America the Beautiful’ and waved their American flags at the protesters causing the heated atmosphere to increase in rage. Two police officers suffered minor injuries but none required medical treatment.
Stupidity and disrespect run throughout all political factions. Watch the video of the protestors doing the exact same thing at the Democratic National Convention. Here we see an unnamed man set fire to the flag and then catch himself on fire with the flag.
Flag burning… is never so simple. We expect at this point, as Americans, to see ISIS supporters burning our flag and destroying effigies of our presidents because we are in an ideological war with them. To see it from our own citizens is enough to push people over the brink. As we fight for our freedom and for our detractors to have the right to burn our symbolic unity- we need to remember that we are all Americans and to respect each other in our dissent of policies. We are one nation.
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