While posting the latest episode of “Hot Under the Blue Collar” on his Facebook page, Mike Rowe, former host of “Dirty Jobs,” got to wondering about some Americans’ newfound contempt for the United States flag.
“As I flicked back and forth between my most trusted sources of cable news, I saw a number a college students setting fire to the American flag,” he wrote in the post. “Some of the students said they were ‘angry.’ Others said they were ‘disgusted.'”
He then pointed out a university, Hampshire College, that recently removed the U.S. flag from its campus because students felt “fear and discomfort” when they saw it.
“We will not fly the U.S. flag or any other flags on our college flagpole for the time being. We hope this will enable us in the near term to instead focus our efforts on addressing racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviors,” Hampshire’s president, Jonathan Lash, offered as an explanation.
Rowe found it ironic that this university felt the need to remove the “disgusting” flag, yet somehow feels no “disgust” in accepting federal money as a payment for tuition.
“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?” Rowe said. “Finally, I found myself wondering as to why the President of Hampshire College would allow his students to pay for their tuition with federal dollars – federal dollars provided by the same government whose flag was no longer suitable to fly at his school.”
He further exposed what he deems to be hypocrisy by explaining that a large portion of Hampshire College’s students qualify for federal financial aid, meaning that taxpayers are fronting huge bills to schools like Hampshire, which in turn allows them to raise their tuition prices. He argues that these schools are largely benefiting from money given to them by a country whose flag they refuse to fly.
“Tuition at Hampshire College is about $60,000 a year. That’s not a problem because it’s expensive – it’s a problem because 85% of Hampshire students qualify for some form of federal financial aid,” he continued. “That means that We the People are enabling schools like Hampshire to sell a liberal arts degree for approximately $250,000.”
In episode 11 of “Hot Under the Blue Collar,” Rowe interviews a graduate from a trade school, where to Rowe’s knowledge, “no one has ever burned a flag.”