In America the flag is one of the most iconic symbols we have. It provides a sense of pride, unity and love for our nation. We hang the flag everywhere possible, we wear clothing with the flag on it, we have bumper stickers proclaiming our love for the stars and stripes, some even get tattoos of it. Today is Super Bowl 52, the last game for a season mired with controversy over players kneeling during the national anthem. A large group of people claimed they were disrespecting our flag, our troops, and our nation. Another group claimed they were protesting police brutality and that they felt betrayed by the nation the flag represents. The flag meant to bring people together is now doing the opposite and I believe this is due to a false sense of patriotism.
Patriotism is defined as;
One word sticks out to me personally in that definition, country. The flag itself is a symbol meant to represent our great country.
Country has multiple definitions;
This is where I believe it’s important to draw the distinction that patriotism can be interpreted as both; the devoted love, support, and defense of our nation, but also the people that make up the nation. We as a nation are a large group that can’t be pigeonholed into one race, religious belief, ancestry, or political ideology. We as a nation represent that diversity and should feel pride in that. We as a nation should care and protect the people who make up this country.
As stated before, some have taken the kneeling as disrespectful and I can see the logic behind that, but I wholeheartedly disagree. The idea of kneeling during the national anthem, a form of protest, as disrespectful is a half-baked argument with no merit. The national anthem is supposed to be a proclamation of our love for our country, our people. If people are being hurt by those who are meant to protect our country, our people, what is there to love? When a group of people are being systematically treated as the dregs of society and constantly hear that, as Americans their natural born instinct is to protest. Protesting is in our blood as Americans, we protested Great Britain to gain our freedom. Protesting by nature isn’t supposed to be popular, just read about the civil rights protesters. People who are willing to fight, die and make their voice heard to protect their neighbor represent the American spirit the most.
When those same people say that the troops are being disrespected, I would argue that the troops don’t fight for some symbolic flag, they fight for the constitution. The flag doesn’t give anybody freedom, the constitution signed by men who had no idea what the nation would be like in 2018 gives us freedom. This idea of fighting for the flag is idiotic at best and goes to show that some people think that the flag is this almighty beacon of what makes us American. People don’t go to war and give their lives for some piece of cloth, they fight and bleed for an intangible sense of freedom, the American dream and the constitution. For those who believe they fight for the flag and never give a second thought to the constitution, I question your dedication and love for your country.
Patriotism is honestly a dedication and love for the people of the nation, not some respect to a flag. We can be a nation without a flag, but we can’t be a nation without people. I praise the athletes that are taking a knee and becoming a conduit to convey this message that needs a spotlight in national discussion. They have brought attention to police brutality and racial inequality. This topic needs discussion because it is getting out of hand. It’s absurd we still need to argue on whether or not somebody who has different colored skin should be treated the same as somebody else. We should strive for equality no matter what.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;