faux patriotism

Washington Redskins National Anthem Kneeling by Keith Allison

So let me get this straight; the primary way for Americans to properly respect our country, flag and all those soldiers who died for our right to say what we want, act the way we want, and worship in the manner we see fit is to attend a sporting event and reverently stand while an ode to a night of bombardment during a war we didn’t win, set to the tune of a British drinking song, is sung by some diva trying to sing it completely apart from what it was intended.

What if we don’t attend live sports? Do the people watching at home or at a sports bar have to stand and show respect? How many do? How many of those complaining about spoiled, millionaire players not showing proper respect actually listen to the anthem if they don’t attend games? How many will tune in just to hear the anthem and show respect for our brave soldiers’ spilled blood?

How many of those same people are registered to vote and pick a candidate that exemplifies the true Freedom we Americans are so privileged to enjoy rather than one that spews the rhetoric that will gain support from those angry, one issue voters?

Why don’t we do something more substantial to actually show proper respect for our military dead? How many people do more than place a bumper sticker when trying to show how they feel about patriotism? Most of those bumper ornaments these days are magnetic. Easy on, easy off. Perfect for changing political attitudes.

How many of us light candles during Memorial Day, or visit military cemeteries during Veteran’s Day and clean up the grave sites? How many of us organize Readings of the First Amendment or the Declaration of Independence on holidays to honor our Freedom, rather than just our flag?

Why didn’t Richard Petty, Richard Childress, Joe Freakin’ Walsh, and countless others get riled up when the Tiki Torch protesters in Charlottesville wore the same emblem hundreds of thousands of American soldiers died to defeat? Why wasn’t that disrespecting the memory of our soldiers’ blood?

When someone calls in to a political, or these days, sports talk show, and claims that demonstrating but not standing during the anthem shows disrespect for the soldiers that died for our freedoms, I get whiplash. If folks can’t demonstrate as they wish then there are no freedoms to disrespect.

First Amendment – Religion and Expression. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This seems simple and easy enough; although very radical when first considered. In a truly free country, every citizen has the right to speak, worship, and demonstrate as he pleases, and Congress has no authority to make laws limiting those rights. Every person has the right to believe and act as he thinks proper; and the responsibility to respect the opinion of every other citizen, especially if it is different.

Why are there so many questions?

Image Credit: Washington Redskins National Anthem Kneeling by Keith Allison (Flickr/CC).
Mike Cox

Mike Cox

Mike Cox currently writes a weekly column in South Carolina for the Columbia Star called "It's Not a Criticism, It's an Observation." He is trying to grow old as gracefully as possible without condemning the current generation in charge to doom. Each day this task gets harder as the overwhelming evidence mounts. He currently has two published books; Finding Daddy Cox, and October Saturdays. His columns have won three South Carolina Press Association awards since 2003. Mike has three sons and two grandchildren and lives in Irmo, Sc, just outside of Columbia.

  1. Eileen Dight

    You ask all the right questions.

  2. Trevor Stone Irvin

    Why, why, why don’t millions of Americans understand this? It’s kinda important, you would think they would grasp it.
    Good piece, though I strongly suspect it will be lost upon most people.

  3. I built and remodeled houses for 30 years. I never got into politics with my clients and I’m sure we differed on many issues. Never would have occurred to me to use their lawns as a place for my NO NUKE signs etc. I went to many marches, wrote many letters to the editor, engaged in many dissuasions , but never took advantage of my customer’s venue to express my views. I still like the phrase: “Shut up and sing.”

  4. Eileen Dight

    I think I’ve got what you’ve got: Whiplash. How many people are concerned about the lack of respect and healthcare for Veterans, and their pitiful high rate of suicide? And how are the widows and orphans coping? Well said, Mike Cox.

  5. Jeffry Scott

    Excellent piece Mr. Cox. And of course it will be lost on the people who don’t get it because, as you point out in the last graph, what’s difficult to get, unless you’re one of those people who never entirely gets ANYTHING.

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