Over the weekend US president Donald Trump went on public quest to get fired National League Football players who refuse to stand during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner, calling it a sign of disrespect to the country and its banner.
But kneeling isn’t the only way Americans mistreat their flag and anthem. Title 4, Chapter 1, Section 8. of the US Code, called “Respect for the Flag,” spells out the dos and don’ts when it comes to the national symbol. Like another section of the US Code, which describes the proper behavior during the singing of the national anthem—“all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart”—the “Respect the Flag” portion is a guide. There is no federal punishment for violating it.
Here are a few other things Trump ought to do to get Americans to respect the honor of the flag:
Take the flag off apparel
Tell his supporters to stop wearing MAGA caps that have American flags on them. According to code, the “flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.” That would seem to include those Make America Great Again, or MAGA, caps worn by many Trump supporters.
Not a marketing tool
“The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever,” the code reads. Trump should advise sellers of MAGA merchandise and other businesses using the flag in their ads to find other eye-catching ways to promote their wares.
Aloft and free
The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally—as is sometimes done during football games, including this weekend. On Sept. 24, a huge flag was held over Soldier Field in Chicago as that city’s team, the Bears, interlocked arms. Trump approved of the locked arms practice in a tweet, but failed to remind the NFL that the flag should be held aloft.