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Who Best Represents the American Ideals?

November 8, 2017 by Herbert Daughtry

art Four

It may be shocking to some that it wasn’t until 2009 that the idea of standing for the flag at sports events became sacred. On Wednesday, October 4, 2017, Ms. Julianne Malveaux wrote in an article published in the Daily Challenge entitled, “The American Flag is Soaked in Black Blood”:

“I am not sure why the National Anthem and the so-called American flag are part of our nation’s sports pageantry. Before 2009, while the National Anthem was played, sports gladiators were not required to suit up, stand up, and put their hands to their hearts; and why should they? The song that is sung is an insult to people of color. When I hear ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave,’ I think, ‘the land of the thief and the home of the slave.’ The Department of Defense paid the National Football League (seriously?) to promote a fake sense of cultural hegemony, and to spread the false notion that we are all on the same page when it comes to patriotism.”

Whenever and/or however, the National Anthem became sacred, it is viewed that way by what appears to be an overwhelming majority of Americans, and failure to stand is considered disrespectful and unpatriotic. There is a quote by a former US Navy Seal Robert J. O’neill, who gained fame in the killing of Osama Bin Laden on May 2011. He wrote on Twitter, “Let me put this in the simplest way: When you kneel during the National Anthem, you are insulting vets. Period.”

Granted he speaks for vets, but how many? Only God knows. He does not speak for all vets is indisputable. Mr. Fred Wellman, a West Point graduate and an Army veteran of Desert Storm and Iraq, tweeted, “This veteran isn’t insulted. Did I miss the vote when you became our spokesperson?”

Mr. DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association, released a statement on October 9, 2017, “No player is disregarding our country or our flag. As thousands have shown in the past, it takes bravery and courage to speak and confront these issues as our players have, especially when it is unpopular with some. There is room for management to do the same, and maybe then players do not have to risk the taunts and threats alone. This is their opportunity to lead as well and will be a true test of the motto that ‘football is family.'”

Vice President Mike Pence showed up at a game and left as soon as the Anthem was played and the players knelt or sat. It is reported that his vehicle’s motor was left running, thus suggesting that he would be returning soon. It was simply a stunt as many in the media defined it. It was to garner support from those who opposed the protests. It was consistent with the strategy of Mr. Trump to play to his base.

Two observations are worth emphasizing:

1) We all agree that the Constitution gives the right to protest as we have seen. This right has been exercised by countless men and women through the years. Therefore, those who deny this right to protest, and even subject those who do protest to the vilest insult and threats of physical harm are really flagrantly violating the Constitution that they profess to honor.

2) Those who agree with the Constitution, believe that protestors have a right to protest, but not at sports events or when the National Anthem is played. The National Anthem is the symbol to which we should all bow, they argue. But, I submit, that it is the height of arrogance and extreme pedanticism, and shows a superiority – to tell a person who is hurting or who has been subjected to the cruelest treatment, how he or she should groan, scream, or yell; or, how that person should show his or her feelings about how they are treated. How dare someone tells us who has been knocked down that we must stay there, not talk back, act a certain way, or act the way they want us to act! It is probably the deepest cut of all. What obnoxious gall, especially since nothing that is being done is illegal, physically hurtful, a threat to anyone, and is significantly constitutionally allowable!

It is comparable to religious fanatics who claim to serve a God who is the Creator of all human beings with no respect for persons and who love us all – then maim and/or kill people who believe in God differently. Somebody has said, “We can endure the evils which men do in the name of evil, but may God save us from the evil that men do in the name of good.” It seems that inconsistency, contradiction, or hypocrisy is a factor in us humans that we must learn to live with. It is found among the small and the great when our behavior is scrutinized.

Let us say I choose to show my patriotism, love, and loyalty for the country by kneeling and praying for the country and all of the soldiers, past, and present who have fought and died, and who at this very moment are on distant lands risking their lives to protect us at home and abroad.

Concomitantly, let us say that I choose to pray for the people of this nation that they will daily actualize the ideals of the founding fathers – “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”, and the loft words recorded in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

What is a more sacred symbol then to kneel in prayer? This act of kneeling, at least in most of the world, antedates by far and supersedes in meaning all human physical posture symbols. It means we bow our knees in humble submission to the Creator of us all. It promises to love and serve that Creator. In Judeo-Christian religions, that Creator has commanded us “to do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God…”; “to care for the least in society, to plead for the poor, and advocate for the oppressed.”

Perhaps, it would be the saving of America’s soul if we all knelt and believed the Scriptural promise, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

… to be continued.