Recently the National Football League, or NFL, passed some new rules regarding the actions of the players during the playing of the National Anthem. Apparently, and I may be wrong because I don’t pay that much attention to football, every player on the field MUST stand during the playing of the National Anthem, but players do have the option of remaining off field while it is being played/sang.
The NFL chose to implement these new rules after the backlash that ensued when Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem. Shortly after Kaepernick began kneeling during the National Anthem players from other teams started doing it as well; causing fans to become upset at this public display of, what they believed to be, unpatriotic behavior.
Now I can’t say one way or the other whether the NFL did this because the managers are truly patriotic and felt the players behavior was disrespectful or whether the backlash by fans was sufficient to force them into enacting these new rules, all I can say is that I am torn over their decision.
On the one hand I believe, as owners of the NFL, or the individual teams, they have the right to impose certain restrictions upon the actions of their employees, (the actual players), I also believe that by implementing these new rules they are violating a person’s right to protest. Aside from fan backlash, what those players were doing did not harm or cause problems for anyone; unlike many protesters who choose to block off city streets and highways. I have a sneaking suspicion that the NFL did this more out of concern that if this type protest were to continue it would cut into their bottom line, (their profits), and they decided to take action before the situation got any worse; but then again I have grown quite cynical in my old age.
I know some people who believe this was too little, too late, and I know others who couldn’t care one way or the other if players kneeled during the playing of some silly song; as long as the game was played afterwards.
Regardless of all that, the other day I read, and shared a post on Facebook, written by a former U.S. Army veteran who served 2 tours in Iraq, discussing the reasons why he will not stand during the National Anthem. While I agree with most of what he said, I also feel that there are a couple other things that I believe that have caused me to no longer sing, or stand during the playing of the National Anthem, as well as recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I know this might offend some people, but either you’ll get over it or you won’t. But that’s not my problem, it’s yours; and as long as there is still some semblance of freedom of speech I’m going to explain why.
The National Anthem
While there may be many reasons one might choose not to stand during the playing of the National Anthem, my reason comes down to the last two sentences in the lyrics, “O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
The flag, or that star-spangled banner may continue to fly, but America has long ago ceased to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. Now I know that many people relate disrespect for the National Anthem to disrespect for our fighting men and women, but what is it these fighting men and women are fighting for? While I respect their decision to enlist and put themselves into a situation where they may, at any time, be asked to lay down their lives for their country, I also have some serious questions about why our government sends them off to these godforsaken countries in the first place.
You may say, but there are terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. Well good for Iraq and Afghanistan; if they want to fight terrorism, let them go for it; but it isn’t our job to be sending our fighting men and women all over the planet to fight other people’s battles.
I know I have a certain quote before, but the question is, have you really read and understood it? So I’ll repeat it for you to re-read. It comes from an address given by, then, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams celebrating the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity. She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice, and of equal rights. She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama the European world, will be contests of inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”
People want to be safe, but many also want to keep their precious politically correct feelings intact as well. It is safe to say that almost all these acts of terror are committed by radicalized followers of the Islamic faith; (that is if they aren’t false flag incidents caused to maintain a constant state of fear and justify more intrusions upon our liberty). If that is the case, why are we allowing immigrants, or refugees from the countries that practice Islam into the United States? That would have been like FDR opening the door and allowing SS or Gestapo forces to emigrate to the U.S. during WWII. After all, it’s nearly 6,000 miles from New York to Iraq; are they going to attack us from there if we stopped letting their immigrants come to America? I think not, so why are we OVER THERE fighting against them?
Yet people say you cannot discriminate, that we have freedom of religion and people are free to practice whatever faith they want, and that we cannot stereotype all Muslims. Is that so? Why is it then that whenever someone speaks out against how Islam is a danger to our way of life, or speaks out against the Zionist Jews they are quickly attacked and their views silenced, yet there has been an ongoing effort to take the Christian faith out of our culture and nobody has any problems with that?
Why is it that we cannot stereotype all Muslims and restrict their rights, yet every time there is a mass shooting the media and the brainwashed dead who believe them, want to stereotype every gun owner in America and further restrict OUR rights?
The hypocrisy is so thick you couldn’t cut it with a chain saw! No, there is much more to our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan than just terrorism; but I doubt I’ll ever break through that patriotic bubble that shields people from the truth that our military men and women are being used by special interests to further their goals and make them rich. I’m all for a capable military to defend our borders from attack, but the fact that they are being used as pawns to further the agendas of special interests is no reason to honor their sacrifices.
But I don’t think the National Anthem was written just to honor the sacrifices made by our fighting men and women; it was written to honor the bravery of the people who inhabit this country of ours; but then again that is just my own opinion on the matter.
I bet many people think the Star Spangled Banner was written during the American Revolution; it wasn’t. The Star Spangled Banner was written during the War of 1812 and was in response to Francis Scott Keys witnessing the attack upon Fort McHenry while being held captive by the British.
Yet the lyrics say the land of the free and home of the brave; they do not specify that the brave are only those who were engaged in the actual fighting at the time. I truly believe Key was referring to the overall bravery of the American people; which has a correlation to the bravery the patriots of 76 exhibited when they sought their independence from Great Britain.
Where is that bravery today? Sure, there are some who oppose our government; some more than others; but where are those who are willing to lay down their lives or risk imprisonment by refusing to obey unconstitutional laws which violate the liberty government was instituted to protect? While I’m not saying I’m out there resisting every law I believe to be unconstitutional, I at least recognize these laws as being unconstitutional and obey them under duress. I am not a sheep who meekly obeys the law simply because it IS the law. I recognize that my rights are being violated and that the government established to serve us has become our master; our enemy.
Can you say the same? Naw, there are few truly brave people in this country anymore; not at least as I believe Key’s lyrics were referring to bravery anyways.
Then there is the fact that this is no longer the land of the free. What can you do today without requiring a license or a permit, or have some law or regulation attached to it; dictating how you must obey the laws of your government? Nothing, that’s what. The clothes you wear, the food you eat, the bed you sleep in, the TV you watch all have rules and taxes imposed upon their usage. On top of that, try building a home, starting a business, growing crops for public consumption, hunting, fishing, operating a motor vehicle, or carrying a sidearm on your person without a license or permit and you’ll see how truly UN-FREE you are.
That is why I refuse to stand, or sing the National Anthem anymore; because it honors a country that no longer exists. We are not free, and we certainly aren’t very brave; because if we were every member of our government would be in prison or dangling at the end of a noose and we wouldn’t have all these laws which restrict the liberty government was supposed to be protecting.
The Pledge of Allegiance
It took me awhile to come to this realization, but the word allegiance implies servitude; or at least unquestioning loyalty. I may not be the best Christian in the world, but my allegiance is to God only; and maybe my wife and family. I certainly do not pledge allegiance to an object, or the country that object represents…especially when the country that object represents has abandoned the principles it was founded upon.
Can you imagine Thomas Jefferson or Patrick Henry standing up and pledging allegiance to the Union Jack, (the British flag)? Neither can I. Their allegiance was to the principle of liberty, and that when government sought to diminish that liberty it was the duty and obligation of the people to resist. That is where my allegiance lies, not in some flag; especially when the Republic it represents has become so corrupt our Founders wouldn’t even recognize it.
Besides, and this is more a personal issue than anything else, the American flag is the flag that was flown by the conquering armies of the North when they invaded the South to subjugate them and compel their loyalty to a government that sought to tyrannize and oppress them.
If I were to pledge allegiance to a flag, and I’m not saying I would, I would pledge my allegiance to the Confederate Battle Flag and the principles the Confederacy were fighting for; the right to self governance and freedom from an oppressive government.
I don’t know if the pledge is still recited every day at the beginning of class, but it was when I was in school. I have come to the realization that this was a form of conditioning, or indoctrination in which students are slowly, through repeated recitals of the pledge, molded into submissive little drones who obey the dictates of their government without question. That is NOT the nature of a free man, and I refuse to acknowledge my loyalty, or allegiance, to any entity which seeks to take away my liberty.
So there you have it, the reasons I do not stand during the National Anthem, or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I know this may cause some to despise me even more, but as my friend Jeffrey Bennett so often says, “Phuok em!”