Flag Burning Shows Conservatives Don’t Want Freedom, They Want Authoritarian Rule


On July 4, the day in which Americans celebrate its independence from England, a celebration of freedom for most, I decided to test said freedoms against those who defend it the loudest.

I tweeted a photo of a person holding a burning flag with the caption, “Happy Fourth,” and then awaited the results.


What I found was not all that shocking but instead, shows the deep contrast between those who talk about freedom and those who actually advocate for it.

Democrats and liberals either ignored the post or condemned flag burning while defending a person’s right to do it. Some found the post childish and felt the need to point that out, but by and large left it at that and moved on. No death threats, no asking me to leave the country, and no calling for my arrest.

Republicans, or conservatives, on the other hand, had a different response. As of this moment, the post has more than 1,200 replies, most of which are from this group.


As you can see from the sampling, I am told to leave the country, kill myself, or people want to come visit me — the only reason for which I can imagine is to cause me physical harm.

At the same time, many keep pointing out that soldiers died for my right to post such an image, or for someone to burn the flag.

So which is it? Did they die for my right to do so, or do I have to leave the country? It can’t be both. Either you support the freedoms you believe I have been given by these soldiers or you do not.

It is also important these are the same individuals who are upset over the left’s use of protest to shut down speeches from neo-Nazis and pro-fascist movements on college campuses. So what this says is they are okay with speech condoning the genocide of human lives, but the burning of fabric is too far.

Conservative hypocrisy is often astounding, and they often see no sense of irony in their statements. “Love it or leave it,” they say, all the while running succession efforts in states such as Texas, during eight years of President Obama.

It should also be noted that we don’t see this level of outrage over the rise of racial profiling and race-related murders, the potential loss of more than 22 million American’s insurance plans, or the ever-growing wealth disparity in the nation.

Instead of getting outraged and organized against these atrocities, the right are flipping out over a photo on Twitter and using it as a broader war against the so-called “left.”

So what is July 4 about then if not celebrating the freedoms Americans have if you don’t allow them to use said freedoms? Are African-Americans free in this country if they can’t legally carry firearms or walk home from the corner store? Are the working poor free if they can’t afford to see a doctor when they are sick? Is anyone free if they exercise their right to freedom of expression while causing no harm to others and are met with threats of death?

What July 4 means, to the modern conservative, is authoritarianism and absolute nationalism. You’re free to celebrate the freedoms they have approved for you. These freedoms are conditional dependent on the color of your skin or your political ideologies.

July 4, to these conservatives, is a celebration of oppression and dictatorship, and we must continue to fight tooth and nail against this form of white nationalism, disguising itself as patriotism because it has wrapped itself in an American flag

Written by Dan Arel

Dan Arel is a labor and political activist, bestselling author, and award-winning journalist. Follow him on Twitter @danarel.

Dan is a Guest Contributor to Progressive Army.

One Comment

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  1. So, you went on Twitter, home of every semiliterate right-wing lemming on the planet, posted an intentionally inflammatory picture, and are using that as justification that ‘the right’ are ‘insert horrible trait here’? You seem like the kind of person who would walk into a Catholic church during Christmas midnight mass, piss in the holy font, and then complain about religious intolerance. You’re a troll and an asshole. That’s what they do. We don’t need assholes like you on our side.

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Flag Burning Shows Conservatives Don’t Want Freedom, They Want Authoritarian Rule