Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Forced Patriotism

Well today the President rescinded his invitation to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Super Bowl champs, to come to the White House – and the Champs said, “we didn’t want to come anyhow”. 

Frankly, I don’t care who goes or does not go to the White House!  Either action will not keep me awake tonight. 

However, I truly wonder if this ‘forced patriotism’ is really what we want?

You must stand and salute the flag; you must stand at attention for the National Anthem; you must march in a straight line; you must honor the leader; you must …well you get my point.  I see ‘forced patriotism in North Korea, Iran, China and the now defunct Soviet Union – and frankly when I see it, it creeps me out!

I personally, will always stand for the National Anthem with my hand over my heart or saluting if I’m covered.  I will always honor the flag, for what it stands for and I will always look for ways to make this Country better; but forcing patriotism and threatening those who don’t do what I do, is not my way and in fact is not the way of the United States Constitution.

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. (first amendment of the US Constitution)

What does that say?  It says that that Congress is not allowed to establish a religion or to interfere with anyone’s ability to practice theirs.  It also says, that Congress can not interfere with our speech or our right to peaceably assemble and petition the Government for redress of grievances – which means our right to protest in any way we choose, as long as it is peaceful, and we don’t break any other laws or statutes, our protest is protected by law.

I hear so many people saying, “it they don’t honor the flag they should get out”!  But there is no mandate to honor flag, song or person, in the Constitution.  We are not, in the United States of America, put in prison, death or kicked out of the Country if we don’t honor flag, song or person.  To do that would be ‘forced patriotism’.  It may be the way of other countries, but it is not our way.

On the matter of football pre-game ceremonies, I’d rather not see the political protests as I just want to watch the game.  But if some of the players choose to take a knee during the National Anthem, I hope they are saying a prayer instead of just making a statement.

When I played football back in the ‘good old days’, we took a knee to listen to the coach – and we’d better keep our mouths shut and not try to make a statement.  Then we stood and faced the flag for the National Anthem.  Not because we were forced to, but because we wanted to.

No, I don't think we really want 'forced patriotism'.  So, let's embrace the Constitution as it is; and change it where it needs changing.  But let's stop calling each other names, even though it is permitted by the Constitution; Mom and God said it was wrong, so I believe it is wrong!  Who am I to argue with those two people?

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