Monday, September 25, 2017

Patriotic Theater on teh Facebook.

So much patriotic theater on teh FB today. Everybody's getting their Star Spangled  indignation on. I just laugh.

So many problems this country is facing. Natural disasters, racial division, a health care  crisis, economic inequality, mistrust of law enforcement, an incompetent President heading an equally incompetent Congress, the possibility of war with North Korea, with China waiting in the wings, and people are getting their panties in a bunch over a group of football players kneeling at the playing of a song that has to be one of the worst national anthems ever created.

Give me America the Beautiful over the clusterf**k that is the Star Spangled Banner any day.

It's like one of those meetings where the participants spend most of their time passionately arguing over the color of the paper the agenda is printed on, rather than the subject of why they were meeting in the first place.

People swearing that failing to stand for the National Anthem will bring about the downfall of the republic. Nonsense.  Neither the flag nor the anthem are holy objects that must be worshipped. Honored, revered, respected, yes. But not worshipped.

In case you're wondering about how I react when subjected to the National Anthem.  When I'm at an event, and the national anthem is played, I stand, remove my hat, and reverence the flag. Sometimes I take advantage of a little- known clause in the National Defense Allocation Act signed by Pres.  Bush the Younger in 2008 that allows veterans to remain covered and salute the flag as if they were still in uniform. Either way when the song is over, I recover, give a salute to the flag, and sit back down. I do love this country, I'm proud of my service , as undistinguished as it was. I did what I did.

Understand one thing. In the oath that US military personnel take upon induction, there is only one thing that we are charged to support and defend...the Constitution. Not the flag, not the anthem.

Don't get it twisted. I respect the flag, I honor the flag,  I'm not a fan of the Star Spangled Banner, it's not my  choice of music for our National Anthem, but it is what we as a country decided on so I'll stand  for it.   But there is only one American institution that has earned the distinction of explicit support and defense by those who served in this country's Armed Forces. And that is the Constitution. The document that seals the rights of every American to peacefully protest against those things that bother them or that they feel is unjust. And I tend to think that police brutality against unarmed​ citizens in general, and Black people in particular falls under that category.

Colin Kaepernick said that when he first knelt at the anthem that his protest was about police brutality against Black people. He said that he was not disrespecting the military or vets until he was blue in the face.  But because he upset the apple cart by not standing like a real patriotic 'Murican, everyone jumped to the tired conclusion that he was disrespecting the flag, the veterans, military personnel, etc. I really do wish that people would stop using vets and military personnel to advance their political agenda. We're not a monolith, nor are we fetishes that must be handled with kid gloves. As many vets took a knee with Kaepernick as decried his actions.

But I don't get bent out of shape if someone chooses to kneel, or sit, or turn their back to the flag during the anthem. I don't get angry, or self righteous. It's none of my business. Your patriotism (or lack thereof) is none of my business. That is between you and your God or your conscience. I've got a helluva lot more important things that make my hair gray than what you do at the anthem.

If you choose to refuse to stand, because you feel your cause is just, God love you. That's what living in America is all about. The right to peacefully assemble and or protest. Emphasis on PEACEFUL. Kneeling at the National Anthem instead of standing qualifies as peaceful protest.

All I ask is that you be peaceful and don't try to FORCE me to accept your reasoning. Tell me politely how you feel and what drives you to take the action you take. I'll respectfully listen. I may not agree, but I owe you at least the opportunity to be heard.

I saw a bumper sticker on a car that said 'Wag More, Bark Less.'   I agree wholeheartedly.  We need to stop shouting and do more listening.  You don't have to agree, but I've never heard of anyone being hurt by listening. #JustSayin