American veterans who fought and died to protect freedom must be rolling over in their graves. The student government of the University of California at Irvine recently voted to remove the American flag—as well as all other flags—from the lobby of the student government’s building. Before proceeding, let me be clear. I have spent more than 38 years to date as a college professor. Consequently, I am accustomed to the—what shall I say—occasional stupidity of college students. For college students who essentially know nothing to think they somehow know better than the rest of the world is hardly a new concept. Consequently, I am more patient and forgiving of the misguided actions of college students than most. My attitude toward the stupidity of college students can be summarized in these words: They will sing a different tune once they grow up, leave behind the fantasyland of higher education, and have to live in the real world like normal folks.
But not this time. I find the decision of the student government at UC Irvine not just unacceptable, but downright offensive. I wonder what Matthew Guevara—the student who sponsored the bill to remove the American flag—would say to the grieving families of the seven Marines and eleven Army personnel killed last week in a training accident near Hurlburt Field, a military base in Florida’s panhandle. The coffins of the deceased soldiers and Marines will be draped in the very flag Guevara finds offensive. Their widows or parents will be presented those flags at their funerals. These brave young men died defending that flag.
Matthew Guevara should be required to do something he probably never had to do in public schools. He should be required to study Washington’s campaigns in our War of Independence; the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I; Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, D-Day, and the Battle of the Bulge in World War II; the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War; Khe Sanh in Viet Nam; and the various current and on-going battles to combat terrorism in the Middle East, to name just a few. Having studied these battles in which thousands of young Americans Guevara’s age died before even getting a chance to attend college, I want him to explain to the families, friends, and loved ones of American veterans why the flag these veterans died defending is so offensive to him. Then I would like him to explain why an entire country came together under the huge American flag raised by firefighters and emergency personnel at the site of the former twin towers in New York City after terrorists flew two jetliners into those buildings on 9-11 killing more than 3,000 innocent people.
I am more forbearing than most when it comes to the exigencies of college students being young and dumb, but in all my years of dealing with sometimes naïve, self-righteous, ignorant, and misinformed college students, removing the American flag from an American university financed by American taxpayers and enabled by the sacrifices of American veterans, is just too much to take. Guevara tried to wrap his treasonous actions in a cloak of multiculturalism. He does not want to offend anyone who might visit the student government building at UC Irvine. How about offending those of us who treasure the American flag as an honored symbol of freedom and liberty. The obvious point this foolish young student is missing is this: Anyone who visits or attends UC Irvine and is offended by the American Flag should be escorted off campus immediately and invited to go elsewhere—perhaps to one of those “freedom-loving” countries like Russia, China, or, better yet, Iran.
I am proud to say that in Florida, the Legislature requires—not suggests, not recommends, and not encourages—but requires an American flag to be displayed in every classroom. One of the goals of the current governor and his colleagues in the Florida Legislature is to ensure that Florida is the most military and veteran-friendly state in the United States. The Legislature and Governor established the Florida Defense Support Task Force to ensure that this goal is achieved. I am honored to have been the founding Chairman of the Task Force. The leaders of the Sunshine State appreciate the sacrifices made to ensure our freedom and they honor those who made and are still making those sacrifices. But what a difference a state can make. Apparently the so-called leaders of the State of California as well as administrators at UC Irvine agree with Guevara and the University’s student government. Their silence on this issue can be interpreted only one way—as approval.
Let me be clear, removing the American flag to avoid offending anyone is not a free speech issue. There should be few exceptions to the exercise of free speech, but how we treat the American flag should be at the top of the list of those exceptions. Taking offense to the American flag is the height of ingratitude for American college students. If Guevara and company are concerned about offending students from other countries who attend UC Irvine, the answer is simple. If foreign students are offended by the American flag, let them go to college in some other country—preferably their own. If American students are offended by the American flag, let them go back home with their buddies who are foreign students.
Guevara actually claimed that displaying the American flag in a space that seeks to be “inclusive” could be interpreted as “hate speech.” Really? By whom? Any American citizen who believes displaying the American flag constitutes hate speech needs his IQ checked and his exit visa stamped “no return.” This attitude is not just the normal stupidity of college students who—we hope—will one day grow up and know better. This is a destructive attitude of ingratitude that should be confronted strongly by college professors and administrators at UC Irvine. But, of course, professors and administrators at this California institution of anti-American propaganda probably agree with Guevara and the student government.
The solution to this problem is really quite simple. If the student government of UC Irvine finds the American flag offensive and the administration of this institution goes along with the student body, tax-paying citizens of California should undertake an effort to have their taxes withheld from the university. Further, all American taxpayers should demand that not one dime of their hard-earned tax dollars be sent to UC Irvine in the form of federal financial aid, federal grants, or any other type of federal entitlement to higher education. In addition, if Matthew Guevara is collecting any type of federal financial aid or student loan, he should be required to repay them immediately and seek other ways to finance his education that are not supported by American taxpayers.
Let’s see how offensive Guevara and UC Irvine administrators find the American flag when their pernicious, destructive views actually cost them something. For too long American colleges, universities, professors, administrators, and students have been allowed to get away with living off of state and federal tax dollars on one hand while slapping American taxpayers in the face with the other. It is time that this attitude of ingratitude and this mentality of expecting to have it both ways be confronted by an appropriate level of accountability. It is easy to slap in the face those who make your life choices possible when doing so costs you nothing. But in the real world, everything costs something. This should also be the case in the liberal fantasyland that passes itself off as the University of California, Irvine.