I have officially had it with this bullshit!
A football player protests the government of the United States by not standing for the pledge of allegiance before games. That’s it. Nothing malicious. Nothing illegal. It’s peaceful and non-violent. So what’s the big deal?
Well, it seems the big deal is that he’s done so on national TV, and that’s the inexcusable part. Why? Because how are you supposed to raise little closed-minded bigots without maintaining the vacuum around them? I mean it’s dangerous to let a black man do something this un-American in front of the children! They may get the idea that they can think for themselves!
Seriously, the people who fought and died for this country did so with a belief in our freedom. The freedom to walk down the street without having to show your papers to the authorities. The freedom to worship God as you wish, or the freedom to express that there is none. The freedom to rise above your station in life, and the freedom to fail at entirely new levels. The freedom to burn the flag, and the freedom to die for it too!
But admit it, the people who are pissed off about this protestor are never going to tell their kids that what this athlete is doing is not only legal, it’s constitutional. It’s patriotic! They’re not going to tell them that what this man is doing is in the spirit of this country far more than the idea that we all must be required to pledge our allegiance no matter what, like the starving countrymen of North Korea lined up to impress Kim Jong Un on the anniversary of their dear leader’s birth. That instead what we should do is question our leaders and public servants when we feel they are abusing their power. You can’t tell them that! Well, not all the time…
It’s okay to sick dogs on Native Americans who are protecting their ancestral lands, you won’t hear them complain about that. It’s fine if a bunch of gun-toting nut jobs take over a wildlife refuge and threaten the hurt to people all over some stupid land! See, those are okay because they show power, force, and good Christian values taken straight from the Sermon on the Mount. You know, gems like: “Blessed are the gun owners, for they shall rule the lands.” That’s the kind of patriotism that these people can get behind! Not some namby pamby thoughtful black man expressing his concerns over the treatment of defenseless American citizens.
Let’s face it, this thing has blown up because it’s meme-able. And it can be easily demeaned on social media because no one stops to think about the flip-side of blind patriotism versus good old patriotic ideas. It has spread because for the last 15 years the idea of patriotism through strength has been more appealing than reliving the horrific events of that day.
Patriotism is like very fine sand. The tighter you grasp it the more it slips through your fingers, but if you hold it in an open hand you can preserve it a little while longer. At least until another strong wind comes along.
(Edit: In my mind I actually wrote the National Anthem, instead of The Pledge. I was pretty upset. The sentiment is the same though)