13 September, 2016


     A trend seems to have blossomed among professional athletes who have chosen to ‘act out’  their perception that they are not represented by our national anthem. Some choose to remain seated or kneel when the anthem plays instead of standing, as do other teammates, to acknowledge fondness and support.
     That’s one of the great things about America isn’t it? Everyone is free to indicate their beliefs. To have an opinion.
     I would much rather these athletes come to perceive the intangible greatness of a nation that struggles to improve itself. Such is the full measure of our Flag and our National Anthem.
     America has matured from the unwieldy nation it was when the flag first appeared. The Flag, like our National Anthem, is colored with principle. The blue field of stars represents a new constellation. The red stripe indicates valor and the white stripe purity. If you can disagree with these virtues then I’m glad I don’t know you!
     It's been more than 200 hundred years since Francis Scott Key viewed our embattled Flag during the War of 1812 and was inspired to compose our National Anthem in all it’s majesty.
     We have come a long way from 'Wounded Knee' and 'Rosy the Riveter' or 'Four Dead in Ohio'. The Viet Nam War is behind us just as 'Watergate' and 'Rodney King'. And yet those historic events are now woven into the very tapestry of American history. These issues now have a place in the ‘Stars and Stripes’; each in their own subtle corners. There for each to uncover.
     Are we perfect yet? I'm going to go with 'NO'! Are we better now? For the most part... Do we constantly toil to improve? No other option. Is government easy? Nope. Just ask Barack. Do some feel invisible, neglected or unrepresented? Hell yes! You don't have to be gay or a person of color for that. Just talk to a Musician, we don't even show up in the employment stats!
     Sometimes it all seems like a load of ‘nothing good’ to me as well, but you have to admit; Our  Flag is still here. And the community of Nations is better for it. Maybe America should get a new domain name: ‘Foreign Aid’.
     If you hold America up to ideal standards you’ll likely be disappointed. Compare America to the conduct of so many other nations and you will be awakened.
     Why would so many thousands who yearn for a better reality want to crash our borders? Stay here illegally? Fly under the 'social' radar? Risk their lives and their families in flimsy rafts just for the hope of reaching a shore filled with tangible promise and a workable future? Go figure. Are they crazed?
     These iconic symbols of America have been revered for nearly ten generations. When you reject the 'Star Spangled Banner' or 'Old Glory'... you are revealed. You are like Donald Trump blithely accepting the donation of a Purple Heart. You did nothing to earn it and so it lacks meaning in your life.
     You affirm ( by way of action ) that you do not expect to be included in the way forward. You declare that American inspiration and potential is not present in your life even as thousands clamor at the gate.
     Be reminded that you are also role models. You may be enabling the impressionable young to behave in the self same way. What would Tupac say?
     The National Anthem is patriotism… period. We embrace the Flag, not only for all it has been through, but for all the possibilities that lay ahead and beyond.
     One of the great things about America is that we have no prisoners here. We are all free to move along.