Mike Rowe knows a lot about dirty and disgusting jobs, but it’s flag-burning college kids who have him feeling gross these days.
The “Dirty Jobs” star wrote a 500-word Facebook post late Wednesday attacking students for recent protests in which they burned the American flag. Rowe had seen college students on cable TV news saying they were angry and fearful about the direction of the country. The TV star then added that many students at Hampshire College, an expensive school seized by protests in recent days, qualified for federal financial aid.
These students, Rowe, whose Facebook page has nearly 4.4 million followers, wrote, “will happily take money from a country whose flag they despise.”
But he saved some of his harshest criticism for Jonathan Lash, Hampshire’s president, who decided to remove the flag from the college’s central flag pole as a way to cool some of the tensions. Instead, the removal led to more protests.
“I couldn’t help but wonder if President Lash was unaware that billions of people around the world are routinely subjected to horrific levels of racism, misogyny, and bigotry that far exceed any injustice in modern-day America,” Rowe, whose other work includes CNN’s “Somebody’s Gotta Do It,” wrote.
“Furthermore, I was curious to know if President Lash really believed that removing our flag is a better way to assuage the fears of his frightened students, than simply educating them about the undeniable fact that no country on the planet affords its citizens more liberty than this one,” he added.
An email message to Lash’s office was not immediately answered.
Debate over flag-burning — a staple of American political discourse since the late 1960s — has resurfaced again following last month’s election of Donald Trump as president. Trump has floated the idea of revoking the citizenship of flag-burners.
At least Rowe has a glimmer of a sense of humor about the whole thing. Signing off his long Facebook message, he advised: “Don’t play with matches.”