National Anthem Protest Letter
How many times throughout history have people attempted to portray themselves as ultra-patriotic while categorizing those who disagreed with them as lacking in patriotism or failing to support their nation? Consider the case of at least one president who labeled peace protesters during the Vietnam War as enemies of the republic interfering with the noble effort of our soldiers. How much longer would the war have lasted with massive suffering if the protesters had not held the government accountable? Focusing attention on the futility and injustices of the war was a great service to our nation. The peace activists were not communists plotting America’s downfall or even performing unpatriotic actions. There are many examples of people claiming moral superiority while doing nothing concrete to address the many needs of our country. Instead, such people create smokescreens to obscure any beginnings to ameliorating society’s ills. Imagine what could be if only our citizens devoted their attention with the same energy to the reasons causing protesters to kneel during the playing of the national anthem as they do to questioning a legally and constitutionally protected action.
What is patriotism? Can a comprehensive list of all disrespectful and unpatriotic actions ever be assembled – or is it much like “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and different people see things differently? What should I conclude about people who greatly infer that they are better and/or more worthy Americans than others because they claim to be offended greatly by those who do not stand during the playing of the national anthem? What better first-step action could there be for athletes to publicize their complaints in front of huge audiences? Socrates stated that a critical early action to curing society’s problems is for gadflies to begin buzzing. Who is actually hurt by the legal tactic of these athletes?
In response to legal protests, the idea that some people have (inferring that they are more patriotic) is to advocate that the protesters should lose their jobs or even leave America if they are not happy and perform such a reprehensible act. Where would we be today if George Washington and others simply left the colonies instead of addressing their complaints far beyond what some athletes are now doing?
The national anthem is a very special song and our flag is a very special symbol, but are they as sacred as the ideas behind them? Would our soldiers’ success be enhanced if they sang our national anthem and waved our flag as they fought the enemy? The major factor for success in any sphere of American life is the place that our nation’s ideals truly occupy in the hearts, souls, and minds of our citizens. To what extent is one willing to act sacrificially in order to improve life in America? This is paramount! All of our national documents consist only of words and are useless unless the ideas are continually supported and enacted. Everything so far on both sides of the athletes’ protest is gesturing. Will the talkers please do something to address the very real concerns prompting the kneeling? If something is illegal, then arrest somebody. If not, why should protesters be vilified? What a waste of time, energy, and resources to concentrate on whether or not someone is patriotic by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem! Isn’t actually working to improve America’s condition more important? Too many people are simply posturing for their own personal agenda and advancement.