Kneel and Salute the Flag

A national anthem is but a song. A flag is a piece of cloth. Yet, like the wafer that turns into the body of Christ and the wine that turns into His blood, some transubstantiate these symbols into the idea of the United States as a country. Those who are not awed into submission by these symbols, they say, should be shunned by society and fired from their jobs.

Yet the United States of America is neither a religion nor a feudal aristocracy. Americans refuse to bow and scrape before monarchs, so why should we treat a song or a piece of cloth in ways that we don’t feel compelled to apply to human leaders?

The transubstantiation of a piece of cloth into the country is made explicit when we “pledge allegiance to the flag . . . and to the republic for which it stands.” Yet this pledge was written by a socialist who believed American children were too individualistic and needed to be instilled with a sense of collectivism. This makes it especially ironic that a political party that claims to believe in freedom insists on the pledge of allegiance and standing for the national anthem, while the more collectivist party accepts resistance to those traditions.

It is particularly interesting that this controversy has been raised over the use of the flag and anthem before games of gridiron–the name other countries give to the sport we call football. Few realize that gridiron, as opposed to soccer, has become our most popular sport because we have commercial television where other countries have government-owned, non-commercial television.

Soccer is played in two 45-minute non-stop periods, offering little room for commercial breaks. In contrast, the National Gridiron League–excuse me, National Football League–has specifically shaped the rules of gridiron to allow for frequent commercial breaks.

I’m not saying one way is better than the other, but those who support freedom should recognize that gridiron is a creature of free enterprise rather than government ownership and control, and is a commercial, not a political or religious, exercise. Just as we don’t genuflect as we walk into an automobile showroom or rise to salute every flag on sale in the local Walmart, there is no reason to confuse a game of gridiron with some sacred act of transubstantiation.

In the United States, at least, the flag and national anthem are not meant to command blind obedience but to inspire us to make sacrifices on behalf of other citizens. Such sacrifices seem particularly relevant today in view of the hardships recently imposed upon our fellow Americans in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

Yet, for most, those hardships will only be temporary. Another group of Americans has suffered more persistent difficulties: African-Americans, whose average per capita incomes have consistently remained under 60 percent of non-Hispanic white per capita incomes. While other groups, from Irish to Asians to Latinos, have arrived in poverty and yet been able to achieve the American dream within two or three generations, blacks have remained poor for generation after generation.

Whether or not you believe the police are systematically prejudiced against blacks, the economic numbers show something is wrong with our nation. That something is a racial bias throughout our political system.

White educators think blacks are ineducable, so many predominately black high schools don’t offer students enough basic courses to succeed in college. White social workers think blacks cannot hold a steady job, so welfare programs make black families dependent on government support. White urban planners think getting middle-class commuters out of their cars is more important than helping low-income people get to work, so they cut bus service to black neighborhoods in order to finance light-rail lines into white suburbs. White progressives pay lip service to solidarity with blacks but support land-use policies that make housing expensive and force blacks to move out of their communities.

I am white but even I can see these biases. Blacks who have to live with them every day can list many more. So it is no wonder that black gridiron players, and their white team members, respond to the national anthem differently from those who view the anthem and flag as a demand for national obedience.

In taking the knee during the anthem, gridiron players are inspiring people to make sacrifices for the benefit of their fellow Americans. In doing so, they are living up to the true spirit of the national anthem and paying more respect to the flag than those who demand conformity and undeserved respect for institutions that have systematically favored some people over others because of the color of their skin.

We live in a free country, and just as people are free to kneel rather than stand during the national anthem in protest of racial prejudice, others are free to boycott a sport that allows people to protest that prejudice. But those who truly believe in freedom will not castigate others for making choices that differ from our own.

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16 thoughts on “Kneel and Salute the Flag

  1. Frank

    In the United States, at least, the flag and national anthem are not meant to command blind obedience but to inspire us to make sacrifices on behalf of other citizens. Such sacrifices seem particularly relevant today

    Nope.

    “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

  2. Frank

    “White educators think blacks are ineducable”

    Wow.

    What a sweeping generalization with absolutely no support whatsoever, because they can’t be any for such a view.

  3. Sandy Teal

    My coffee was too cold this morning. I hate that Amazon commercial with the baby and dog — why is a lion less scary than a cute dog? Why is someone “on” TV but “in” a movie?

    These are all interesting topics, but not appropriate here and now. Same with the antics that-used-to-happen during the national anthem but-now-happen during the coin flip. Wrong time and place.

    And don’t pretend these antics actually accomplish anything. There might be three or four police officers in a nation of 330 million who shoot an unarmed black person in the next year — and this is a ridiculous way to reach or convince those few people to act differently But it would be better to get Starbucks to make sure their coffee is always hot!

  4. Sandy Teal

    Is there any topic that has been more overexposed over the last four years than the handful of black males who were shot and actually innocent? Certainly it was not the birth of BLM — Ferguson — everybody knows and agrees with that proven fact. Either that or you are calling Obama the biggest racist in the history of the nation.

    Nobody thinks innocent people of any color should be shot. No police officer has been shown to deliberately set out to shoot an innocent person. Yet this topic has received more attention than almost any other, thankfully deflecting liberals away from more damaging ideas, but still not progressing toward anything.

    But go ahead and kneel and wear your pink ribbon — they don’t cure cancer and they don’t impact split second life and death decisions, no matter what your ridiculous belief system might be.

  5. pokep

    You’re looking for deep meaning in a situation that is really, really simple. The NFL is a business, the players are employees, and the customers are the fans and advertisers. The product is excitement and escape. The product is about being able to kick back on a Sunday, relax, have some nachos and beer, and watch a game without worrying about whatever is going on in the rest of the world, whether that be work, politics, or world affairs.

    And if the NFL can’t provide that product, it will lose customers. That’s all there is to it.

  6. transitboy

    Sandy is very mistaken. According to this article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/black-people-killed-by-police-america_us_577da633e4b0c590f7e7fb17 258 black people were killed by the police in 2016. Of course, it is the Huffington Post – I would like to quote Fox News but they ignore the issue.

    Protesting at the NFL is a way to get noticed by the very people who do not think police brutality is a problem. In any case, since Republicans like making the flag and the national anthem a political issue every NFL (and other sports) open with a political statement.

    Anyway, I applaud the antiplanner for this post.

  7. LazyReader

    …………..Even if the police never shot another black person ever again. They’d still be on call to zip up a couple thousand body bags filled with black people. Black men are 6.5% of the nations population, they’re responsible for 54% of the nations violent crime, including murder, rape, robbery and assault. Violence aside, they’re also responsible for a third of the nations white collar crime including embezzlement, fraud, forgery. 50 years ago, they were virtually responsible for almost none of that. Was it racism or liberalism………..Liberalism is the only thing besides eating lead paint that lowers your IQ equal to the outside temperature.

  8. prk166


    Sandy is very mistaken. According to this article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/black-people-killed-by-police-america_us_577da633e4b0c590f7e7fb17 258 black people were killed by the police in 2016. Of course, it is the Huffington Post – I would like to quote Fox News but they ignore the issue.
    ” ~transitboy

    I think someone invoked false equivalences already. That article is a shit for that very reason. There is an important difference between the dozen __UNARMED__ blacks killed by police last year ( down by half from the previous year, BTW ) and the the other @220 that were _ARMED_. They are clearly 2 different situations.

    They take a handful of dramatic situations — a handful in a country of 320,000,000 + people — and declare an epidemic. THere are situations where injustice may occur and do need to be dealt with. But to throw this stuff out there like it’s so obiovus when it’s not. To fail to disclose Alton Sterling’s loaded gun. They create a false reality implying that since a poorly shot video doesn’t clearly show a gun in his hand, that there was no need to shoot him ( the question isn’t if the gun is in his hand, it’s if he was going for it; something quite likely given multiple video evidence alone). They gloss over this and talk about there being nothing more than a gross injustice, failing to acknowledge the nuance and the complexity of the situation.

    And Michael Brown? You can’t seem to have mindless propoganda from the antifa’s cabana boys ( and cabana girls and cabana zhes or whatever they think they are ) without them bringing up Michael Brown. It’s a great acide test to know how much or how little someone’s looked at facts. The court trial evidence clearly demonstrated that Michael Brown attacked the officer and was threatening the officer’s life. It’s overwhelmingly obvious. BUt they cling to a couple eyewitness reports of X or Y and run with it. Ignorning all the other eyewitness reports that reported something quite different. And ignorning the physical evidence.

    And of course they don’t mention Jamal Clark. Like Michael Brown, Clark tried to take the life of another human being. But writers like Julia Craven don’t bother to tell you that. She never bothered to write an article outlining how Clark tried to take the lives of those officers, let alone how on at least one previous occasion he tried to take the lives of other human beings. In that case he literally tried to burn alive a woman and her child because she wouldn’t date him anymore.

    But I’d expect nothing less than mental diahrea from the HuffPo. And that article delivers it in droves, including such rich pieces of a excrement as “…..and the fact that modern-day policing, at least in the South, can trace its lineage to slave patrols”. That’s the sort of thing people who were tin foil hats claim. And it clearly demonstrates the writer had no interest in exploring the subject, only a desire to create propaganda.

  9. prk166

    Here’s a little more on Alton Sterling for those interested. I expect and demand that peace offices, that law enforcement, continues to learn from these situations and learn and train techniques and approaches to avoid the situations in the first place. Nevertheless, the situation itself is clearly not an obvious article.

    This article points out what the justice department had to say of the situation. Including what I previously pointed out, that the videos do not show him going for his gun but they do not not show it either, they don’t show everything that’s going on.

    Were the actions taken by the officers reasonable?

    Two independent use-of-force experts “concluded that the officers’ actions were reasonable under the circumstances and thus met constitutional standards,” the Justice Department said.

    “The experts emphasized that the officers were responding to a call that someone matching Sterling’s description had brandished a weapon and threatened another person; that Sterling was large and strong; and that Sterling was failing to follow orders and was struggling with the officers,” the statement explained.

    https://patch.com/us/across-america/baton-rouge-police-shooting-alton-sterlings-death-caught-video-prompts-outrage

    “The experts noted that the officers also attempted to control Sterling through multiple less-than-lethal techniques before ultimately using lethal force in response to Officer Salamoni’s perception that Sterling was attempting to use a gun.”

  10. CapitalistRoader

    While other groups, from Irish to Asians to Latinos, have arrived in poverty and yet been able to achieve the American dream within two or three generations, blacks have remained poor for generation after generation.
    Whether or not you believe the police are systematically prejudiced against blacks, the economic numbers show something is wrong with our nation. That something is a racial bias throughout our political system.

    This black man says otherwise. Excerpts:

    From 1900 to 1954, blacks were more active than whites in the labor market. Until about 1960, black male labor force participation in every age group was equal to or greater than that of whites. During that period, black teen unemployment was roughly equal to or less than white teen unemployment. As early as 1900, the duration of black unemployment was 15 percent shorter than that of whites; today it’s about 30 percent longer. To do something about today’s employment picture requires abandonment of sacred cows and honesty.

    The typical answer given for many black problems is racial discrimination. No one argues that every vestige of racial discrimination has been eliminated. But the relevant question is: How much of what we see can be explained by discrimination? I doubt whether anyone would argue that the reason for lower unemployment, higher labor force participation and shorter duration of unemployment among blacks in the first half of the 20th century was that there was less racial discrimination. I also doubt whether anyone would argue that during earlier periods, blacks had higher education and greater skills attainment than whites. Answers must be sought elsewhere.

    …A major reason is the minimum wage law, which makes hiring low-skilled workers a losing economic proposition. In 1950, only 50 percent of jobs were covered by the minimum wage law. That meant the minimum wage didn’t have today’s unemployment effect. Today nearly 100 percent are covered. Today’s child labor laws prevent youngsters from working in perfectly safe environments. The minimum wage has destroyed many jobs.

    …According to a 2001 report by Abigail Thernstrom, “The Racial Gap in Academic Achievement,” many black 12th-graders dealt with scientific problems at the level of whites in the sixth grade; they wrote about as well as whites in the eighth grade. The average black high-school senior had math skills on a par with a typical white student in the middle of seventh grade. [In the decade following 1986 t]he average 17-year-old black student could only read as well as the typical white child who had not yet reached age 13. That means an employer hiring the typical black high-school graduate is in effect hiring an eighth-grader.
    Walter E. Williams, ‘Townhall’, 10 April 2013

    The soft Marxism of the Democratic Party has a vested interested in keeping blacks down and pulling the ‘D’ lever. Minimum wage laws and corrupt teachers unions are just a couple of the ways Dem’s do that.

  11. metrosucks

    The soft Marxism of the Democratic Party has a vested interested in keeping blacks down and pulling the ‘D’ lever. Minimum wage laws and corrupt teachers unions are just a couple of the ways Dem’s do that.

    Amen. The constant sewage spewed by Hollywood and the media doesn’t help, either.

  12. JOHN1000

    The Antiplanner is partially correct when he says that some whites see blacks as ineducable.

    But it is not the conservatives or NFL fans who believe this, but the liberals who control education. It is called “the racism of low expectations” or similar terms. Black children’s lives are controlled by groups (like the NEA and the Democratic party) who want nothing but the power, control and enormous sums that come through the education system.

    They oppose education reform like vouchers, charter schools, etc., all of which are aimed primarily to help black children. And they then teach the children to hate, to be victims and to equate kneeling at football games as some heroic response to racism.

    The kneeling issue has been enflamed by the liberals in the media, the schools etc. –and then they blame others for reacting to their constant streams of hate.

    The Antiplanner should not fall for this.

  13. Frank

    “The Antiplanner is partially correct when he says that some whites see blacks as ineducable.”

    Except that’s not what he wrote. What he wrote was: “White educators think blacks are ineducable”.

    You’ve added the “some.” The AP makes a sweeping generalization about ALL white educators.

  14. CapitalistRoader

    Dr. Williams’ thoughts yesterday on the matter. A slice:

    For a race of people, these crime statistics are by no means flattering, but if something good is to be done about it, we cannot fall prey to the blame games that black politicians, black NFL players, civil rights leaders and white liberals want to play. If their vision is accepted, we can expect little improvement of the status quo.

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