Just before 7 this morning, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted a call to jail or denaturalize anyone who burns the American flag.

As is the case with most things Trump, theories about, well ... why he tweeted this have run the gamut — from an attempt to distract from a report on son-in-law Jared Kushner's conflicts of interest to a devious plan to incite people to actually do it and use the backlash to consolidate his support to a typically impulsive response to something he saw on Fox News.

Regardless, it's a pretty stunning — and frightening — proposal. For a man who wants to make America great again, the tweet demonstrates a complete disregard for what makes America great in the first place: the First Amendment.


That amendment guarantees that each and every one of us can do any number of highly inadvisable, morally suspect, un-American things — short of yelling "fire" in a crowded theater — and the U.S. government can't do a damn thing about it. Sure, your fellow citizens can slide you a massive side-eye, argue with you, or condemn you, but you won't be arrested or have your passport taken away.

Indeed, thanks to the genius of the framers and the First Amendment, in America, you can...

1. Belt Toto's "Africa" at the top of your lungs while everyone else sings the pregame national anthem at Fenway Park.

Photo via iStock.

No matter how deeply punchable this would make you, you can't be arrested for singing the first verse-into-chorus of this classic '80s jam.

2. Photoshop a giant thumbs-down into a picture of Arches National Park.

Thumb photo via iStock. Background photo by Harvey Meston/Getty Images.

It's one of the most stunning vistas in the entire world. And thanks to James Madison, you are fully free to heckle it at your leisure.

3. Enjoy the song stylings of the North Korean girl group Moranbong.

Photo by Ed Jones/Getty Images.

The propaganda K-pop knockoff quintet shouldn't be your favorite band, but if they are, you are legally permitted to do you in that regard!

4. Tweet "Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or a year in jail!"

As ill-advised and constitutionally suspect as this is, it's within your rights to do so, even if you're soon to be the most powerful person in the country.

5. Dump a full bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken down a storm drain.

Photo via iStock.

This is an obviously terrible idea, both as a practical and symbolic gesture. But you can still do it. Because America.

6. Call Vladimir Putin on his personal cell to tell him he's a swell guy.

Photo by Alexey Druzhinin/Getty Images.

As long as you're not giving away state secrets, if you've got his number, you're good to chat with America's biggest frenemy!

7. Reply "Nah, I'm good" when offered a slice of apple pie.  

Photo via iStock.

Thanks, though!

8. Sneak up behind a bald eagle and yell "I know at least three blue jays that could kick your ass!"

Doesn't matter how skeptical the eagle is. Photo by Lewis Hulbert/Wikimedia Commons.

He's probably too much of a wimp to nip your eyes out anyway.

9. Protest soldiers' funerals while yelling homophobic slurs at their grieving relatives.

Photo by Mira Oberman/AFP/Getty Images.

This is perhaps the most morally odious thing you can possibly do. And yet, you're allowed to do it in America, which, believe it or not, is kind of fantastic.

10. Say "Soccer is better than football."

Photo by Gabriele Maltini/Getty Images.

Hell, you can even say "Soccer is football." No one can throw you out of here for that.

11. Refuse to accept American Express for purchases at your hardware store, deli, or pharmacy.

Photo by Clemson/Flickr.

Just because they have "American" in their name doesn't mean you have to roll over for their 3% surcharge.

12. Decide, for some reason, to be a Nazi.

Nazis protest the opening of a Holocaust museum in Illinois because that's pretty much their beat. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

To be clear, you absolutely, 100% shouldn't be a Nazi. And if you are a Nazi, if you assault or murder any minorities, you're going to get nabbed by the feds and you will deserve it (hate speech and hate crimes are wildly different things, according to the law). But whether you're a full-on Nazi marching down Main Street to terrify Holocaust survivors in a Chicago bedroom community or a kind-of secret Nazi that dresses up and stuffs chicken parm sliders down your throat at a swanky conference in Washington, D.C., you're legally allowed to exist and shout out the terrible things you believe as the rest of us ignore you.

In America, you're allowed to be a Nazi.

13. Book a paid appearance on Russian state television.

Incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Not only can you cash in on that sweet geopolitical rivalry, you can still be a top national security official in the president's cabinet! Sweet!

14. Say "I'm moving to Canada" every time your preferred political party loses an election.

No, you're not going to, but go nuts saying it!

15. Post anti-immigration screeds on Facebook even though all four of your grandparents were immigrants.

It's hypocritical as all hell — and it is your right as a hypocritical American to go there. Thanks, freedom of speech!

16. Root for Ivan Drago in "Rocky IV."

GIF from "Rocky IV"/United Artists.

Snap!

17. Root for Team Iceland in "D2: The Mighty Ducks."

GIF from "D2: The Mighty Ducks"/Walt Disney Pictures.

Boom!

18. Root for the aliens in "Independence Day."

GIF from "Independence Day"/20th Century Fox.

Ka-blam!

19. Fly the Confederate flag.

Photo by Mark Hazlett/Getty Images.

It's the banner of actual traitors who killed hundreds of thousands of Americans in the name of enslaving millions of other Americans, and you can celebrate it as long and hard as you want here.

People will probably yell at you, as is their right, and that's also great. Super American 5000 all-around!

20. Tell anyone who will listen that paying taxes is B.S.

A Brooklyn woman meets with a tax preparer. Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

Sure, it's cool to have roads, bridges, schools, fire departments, a military, and health care, but you're still allowed to hate on the IRS with total impunity. You know, as long as you do pay your taxes.

21. Back your truck up over a copy of the "Hamilton" original cast recording.

"Hamilton" is, without question, the patriotic feel-good album of the year, revitalizing interest in America's founding while boasting such instant classics as "My Shot," "Satisfied," and "The Room Where it Happens." And you are perfectly covered if you choose to smash it to bits under your four-wheel drive.

22. Burn the American flag.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Torching the Stars and Stripes is not particularly safe, nor is it generally an effective means of protest. Honestly, you should definitely think twice before burning the flag (unless you're a Boy Scout).

Still, you are fully, unequivocally, 100% within your rights as a citizen to light that baby up if you so choose. Which leads to...

23. You can totally call out a tweet from the president-elect of the United States for being ridiculously un-American.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Just because a person is powerful doesn't mean they're above criticism.

Just because a president-elect floats an idea doesn't mean we have to accept or agree with it — liberal, conservative, or otherwise.

Just because the head of the executive branch of the U.S. government issues a statement doesn't mean it reflects the values we hold in common.

The president can say whatever he wants. Just like every other citizen.

In return, Americans can (and should!) remind him when things he says are wrong, dangerous, and — frankly — un-American.

This is America, after all.

Courtesy of Elaine Ahn

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The energy in a hospital can sometimes feel overwhelming, whether you’re experiencing it as a patient, visitor or employee. However, there are a few one-of-a-kind individuals like Elaine Ahn, an operating room registered nurse in Diamond Bar, California, who thrive under this type of constant pressure.

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Prior to baby formula, breastfeeding was the norm, but that doesn't mean it always worked.

As if the past handful of years weren't challenging enough, the U.S. is currently dealing with a baby formula crisis.

Due to a perfect storm of supply chain issues, product recalls, labor shortages and inflation, manufacturers are struggling to keep up with formula demand and retailers are rationing supplies. As a result, families that rely on formula are scrambling to ensure that their babies get the food they need.

Naturally, people are weighing in on the crisis, with some throwing out simplistic advice like, "Why don't you just do what people did before baby formula was invented and just breastfeed?"

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Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

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Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

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Your cat knows you better than you think.

Cats are often seen as being aloof or standoffish, even with their owners. Of course, that differs based on who that cat lives with and their lifetime of experience with humans. But when compared to man’s best friend, cats usually seem less interested in those around them, regardless of species.

However, a new study out of Japan has found that cats may be paying more attention to their fellow felines and human friends than most people thought. In fact, they could be listening to human conversations.

"What we discovered is astonishing," Saho Takagi, a research fellow specializing in animal science at Azabu University in Kanagawa Prefecture, told The Asahi Shimbun. "I want people to know the truth. Felines do not appear to listen to people's conversations, but as a matter of fact, they do."

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There’s also a feeling that the current state of pop culture is lacking as well. Nobody listens to new music anymore and unless you’re into superheroes, it seems like creativity is seriously missing from the silver screen.

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