Day 7 – Our National Anthem
Ever since Colin Kaepernick staged his protest by sitting out the national anthem, it seems like what players are doing during this customary pre-game event has become more important than the game itself. Seventeen days ago, the Oakland Raiders were getting ready to play their first preseason game. The next morning, I googled “Raiders News” to see what people had to say about the ass-whooping the Raiders received. 8 of 10 of my top news stories featured the fact that Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem. 8 out of 10! They didn’t even mention the score, just the fact that he sat down!! The next week, the fact that Derek Carr’s hand was on Khalil Mack’s shoulder during the national anthem was all over the news. Is this really the world’s most important issue? What people are doing during the national anthem? “Brandon Marshall blew his nose when they said ‘Bombs Bursting in Air!’ He must hate his country!” “OMG Mark Sanchez picked his Wedgie when they said ‘proudly we hail!’ That’s treason!”
People… shut the fuck up, and realize…. people should be free to express their reverence for their country in whatever way they choose. Who are you to DEMAND that we all MUST show our reverence in the same way? What if we mandated people show their reverence for the people in their lives the same way? For instance, not everyone expresses their love for their spouse/significant other in the same way. Some people hold hands and make out in public. Some people are more private about it, yet lavish verbal expressions of love upon their significant other daily. Yet others go about expressing their love in the things they do for each other, not necessarily with words or affection. Should we MANDATE that every couple must make out with each other several times a day? Does that sound as stupid as you read it as it did when I wrote it?
Let’s look at other relationships we have since spousal/significant other relationships are not the only people in our lives for whom we show affection. When I was in college I stayed at a friend’s house for spring break. We went to visit his sister for a couple of hours. When we showed up, he said “hello,” and when we left, he said “goodbye.” There were no physical expressions of his love for her – no hugs, no kisses on the cheek – nothing. When I see my sister, my mom, or more or less any members of my family, there is always a hug hello and goodbye. Curious about it, I asked, “You don’t hug your siblings?” “No,” he replied, matter-of-factly. So should I have said to my friend, “Well then, you must not love them very much!?” Would it sound reasonable to assume that? Of course not! His expression of love for his family is no more or less a valid expression of love. It’s just different. We would never MANDATE, socially or otherwise, people to show a specific kind of affection toward each other.
As ridiculous as it sounds in this context, this is exactly what we are doing with the national anthem. If everyone doesn’t stand up perfectly erect, remove any hats from their heads, and place their hand over their heart, then they must not love their country, they are unpatriotic. This is not true at all. We should be understanding about the different ways people wish to show their love for country. Isn’t that part of what freedom is? Did all the people who fought and/or died for our country do so to give people the freedom to find their own way to express themselves, or did they do it so they can force people, either physically or through social pressure, to behave the same way? Here, you are looking for conformity, which is not a national value as far as I was taught. People are free to conform, but last I looked, not required. Stop trying to shame people into doing what you do by making bullshit into news. If people want to express their love for their country by sitting, standing, skipping, hopping on one leg, or shoving a pinecone up their ass – it’s not news. Shut the fuck up.