I want to make a few things VERY clear:
Veterans do not own the flag.
The flag is a symbol.
The flag is supposed to represent this country, and the ideals of Liberty and Justice FOR ALL.
Veterans and other service members who volunteer to serve the country have made a noble choice. These people deserve respect for that choice. The respect due these people is as individuals for their choice and commitment to be of service in line with the ideals of the country. Keep this in mind as you read the rest of this.
It is possible to “support the troops” while opposing the task to which they have been assigned.
The US military does not own the flag.
The US military is a tool intended for a specific use. While there are, and have been, appropriate times for this tool to be used, in recent history that has not often been the case. The US military has been used many times overseas for reasons which many people GREATLY disagree. The actions that have been taken in their name, with their money have increased social instability and decreased the democratic voice of citizens in governments in many locations around the world. Often the purpose seems primarily motivated by the greed of the military industrial complex. Although these operations are cloaked in the flag to promote them to the public, these actions may be the most disrespectful thing done with the flag.
When politicians talk of Medicare for All, or Free Public Tuition, they are called “socialist” and “un-American,” and funding for these programs is always called into question. Meanwhile the military budget’s annual INCREASES could easily fund these programs. This occurs without question, despite the fact that the U.S. ALREADY spends more on our military than the next ten nations combined. It should be noted that the military is a socialist entity, just like Police Departments, Fire Departments, Public Highways, Public Transportation, Public Libraries, Public Schools, and Public Universities.
The Star Spangled Banner (currently used as the US National Anthem) is A SONG. It’s not some magical thing.
It was written by a southern slave owner during the war of 1812 and the full lyrics to the song provide a hint at Francis Scott Key’s perspective. The further history of the song, and of Mr. Key’s perspective have been researched and documented.
Sports and politics have been intertwined for a very long time.
Jesse Owens went to the Olympics in 1936, and it was political. When Muhammad Ali protested the draft in 1967 it was political. When Tommie Smith and John Carlos went to the Olympics in 1968 it was political. Colin Kaepernick’s choice to take a knee during the Star Spangled Banner is no different from any of these protests. It is not a new protest. It is not meant to disrespect anything. It is merely the latest effort to bring attention to the fact that there still exists incredible inequality and injustice in this country.
It should also be noted that starting in 2009, the NFL was paid to have players on the field during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.
In 2015 Senator Flake and Senator McCain disclosed that the U.S. Department of Defense had spent $5.4 million in contracts with 14 NFL teams from 2011 to 2014. Some of those contracts disclosed that payment was for on-field flag ceremonies and tributes to welcome home veterans. One team, the Atlanta Falcons, had made more than $1 million from the department over those four seasons.
The National Guard, which spent $6.7 million on contracts with NFL teams from 2013 to 2015, dumped its NASCAR sponsorship of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car in 2014, after the last four years and more than $100 million spent failed to produce concrete information that the marketing led to more recruits.
It would be interesting to see if the populations in these cities shared any common traits compared to cities where that funding was not funneled.
In 2016 the NFL returned merely $700 thousand of this money.
This is political. Where is the outrage over paid patriotism, or the greed of the NFL owners?
Some people may offended by peaceful silent protest for justice, but we ALL own the flag, and should actively address the social injustices that are so clearly present today. At some point there will be Liberty and Justice FOR ALL.