On Tuesday morning, Donald Trump took to Twitter to share some troubling thoughts about burning the American flag — namely, that anyone who does it should be jailed or have their citizenship revoked. Trump's suggestions are, in fact, illegal and unconstitutional. The act of flag-burning is "symbolic speech" protected by the First Amendment, as determined by the Supreme Court.
Social media wasted no time pointing out the extremely problematic nature of Trump's tweet. That included actor and activist George Takei, who drew on his own personal history to share some powerful words for the president-elect on both Twitter and Facebook.
"I pledged allegiance to the flag every morning inside an internment camp," he wrote. "I would never burn one, but I'd die to protect the right to do so."
"I know how precious, and precarious, freedom can be," Takei added on Facebook. "So while I would never burn the flag, I and many others would die for the right of any American to do so." He added that he is a proud member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and encouraged others to join him.
Takei has been an outspoken opponent of Trump since before the election. He has shared his family's experience of being forced into a Japanese internment camp in the 1940s as an example of the potential consequences of Trump's proposed policies — particularly those against Mexican immigrants and Muslims.
The actor's experience became immediately relevant earlier this month when a Trump surrogate disturbingly cited the past internment of Japanese Americans as "precedent" for a proposed Muslim registry. "If it is freedom and our way of life that we fight for, our first obligation is to ensure that our own government adheres to those principles," Takei wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post. "Without that, we are no better than our enemies."
Cover image via Instagram