Democratic Lawmaker Wants to Criminalize Flying the American Flag Upside Down


There has been much ado being made in the media about those who flew the American flag upside down in protest of former President Donald Trump’s conviction in the Manhattan case. Now, it appears this bizarre controversy has made it to at least one state legislature.

Illinois State Rep. Harry Benton recently introduced legislation making it a criminal offense for local or state government officials to fly the flag upside down for political purposes. He argued that the flag “is an enduring symbol of our national spirit and pride and of the sacrifices made by every generation of Americans.”

Benton is responding to a local incident in which a Will County official flew the American flag upside down after Donald Trump was convicted on 34 felony counts.

Steve Balich, supervisor of Homer Township in Will County, reportedly ordered the national flag outside the Homer Township offices to be flown upside down after the conviction of former President Donald Trump.

“The public official who made this sad choice – to disrespect our nation’s flag and everything it stands for – may be disappointed in the outcome of a certain criminal trial, but that is no excuse,” said Benton. “That he then attempted to deflect rising outrage by draping himself in the very same flag he’d just finished spitting on makes his actions all the more pathetic.”

State Rep. David Friess opposed the measure, arguing that when a person believes the country is in distress, the state should not be able to stop them from flying the flag upside down. “Even as a veteran, I don’t lose my cool … I understand that one of the greatest freedoms we have is free speech and I may not agree with an individual if he or she flies the flag upside down, but I absolutely respect your right to do that,” the lawmaker said.

If the law is passed, which is unlikely, it would slap offenders with a fine of up to $25,000.


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Imagine squandering taxpayer funds to put forth a silly bill intended to use state power to punish local governments for making political statements with which you disagree. It would be one thing to establish such a rule, but fining people up to $25,000 for such an “offense” is beyond the pale, especially since the First Amendment is still a thing for the time being.

Benton’s actions are empty virtue signaling at best and raging authoritarianism at worst. Ironically, the lawmaker is arguing against government officials making political statements, yet he seeks to weaponize the state specifically against those expressing viewpoints that contradict his own.

The bottom line is that if a community does not appreciate a government official flying the flag upside down, they can remove the individual at the ballot box. There is absolutely no need for criminalizing such activity. If this law were to be enacted, it could easily pave the way for Illinois’ government to pass other legislation intended to punish speech.

This story further illustrates that the authoritarian left isn’t only focused on using federal power to suppress speech; they are also pursuing similar objectives at the state and local levels as well.

Las Vegas News Magazine

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