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Having each other’s backs

Abstaining from our Pledge of Allegiance and our National Anthem has become all the rage in the morally confused culture of globalism and leftist anger at Americanism.

ESPN “First Take” co-host Max Kellerman said that the NFL injects politics “by playing the national anthem and putting pressure on you to stand for it.” — Kent Strobel at The Daily Caller

How ironic. The game of football is entirely an American idea. It reflects the whole concept of rugged individualism placed in the context of a team effort. It is a microcosm of Americanism. In a world of tribal warfare and constant upheaval, NFL football brings it all into focus as an entertainment medium. Two teams fight it out without anyone dying or any city getting burned down (except after winning the Superbowl of course).

The best of the best, determined by constant competition, put aside their selfish ambitions and work as a team to achieve a goal only teamwork can achieve. They demonstrate their skills while fans cheer and scream invectives at their adversaries while spending small fortunes on hot dogs and adult beverages.

In the end, a team is declared the winner, and we offer congratulations to the victors, shake hands and start the process all over again. The players get rich, the owners get even richer, the fans love it and the world avoids more conflict. Truly a ‘win-win’ concept only Americans could invent.

“Just like wearing a wedding band doesn’t make you a good husband or wife, standing for the national anthem isn’t what makes you a good American. Instead, a true American listens to, loves, and helps our fellow Americans.”

 – Tamara Holder  FOX News

Wrong. What makes for a good American is demonstrating respect for the sacrifices some of your fellow Americans made, so you could be so self-centered and clueless about the cost of freedom. Besides taking freedom for granted, Ms. Holder confuses citizenship for Americanism. Being a good American demands much more than just listening, loving and helping. It demands sacrifices way beyond the everyday, because absent those commitments, our easily under-appreciated freedoms won’t survive. It has demanded dying, thousands and thousands of times. Being a good American is understanding the elusiveness of our God-given freedom. Ask the citizens of Cuba, Brazil or Venezuela.

Failing to stand for the National Anthem or to repeat the Pledge of Allegiance is a right every American has. America stands for individual rights and freedom of choice. A few symbolic moments of respect are not meant to enslave or brainwash anyone; our Pledge helps bind us together as one massive family holding out against all odds to preserve liberty and justice for all.

I liken it to a football team gathering along the sideline before the kickoff, and putting their hands into a ring. “1, 2, 3, Go Americans!”

But making the choice not to participate does not mean you will escape accountability. If you want to be different, a nonconformist, an off-the-grid individualist, or whatever your motivations might be, and you decide to protest the significance of standing at attention and recognizing the exceptional privilege of being an American, you are well within your rights.

Just like a child who talks back to his parent, or berates an elder, you will likely be yelled at for disrespecting our country. You may well be shamed, or vilified or even verbally assaulted. You are, in effect, telling your fellow American siblings, that you do not want them to shed their blood for you, and you resent being made to feel guilty about those that already did.  There is nothing illegal about being selfish and pompous.

NBC Sports writer Craig Calcaterra complained that “the entire right-wing media” (FOX News?) came after him after he complained about the use of American flags at Major League Baseball games. —Douglas Ernst, Washington Times

Is it callous and disrespectful of Calcaterra to suggest that our flag, the symbol of our union, does not deserve a few seconds of his time and a measure of his support? Unfortunately, many are no longer here to answer that question. They didn’t stop to check in with Calcaterra before they gave up their one chance at a long and happy life, a chance to see their kids grow up, to experience their trials and tribulations and hopefully their successes, before they sacrificed their existence so a few could be so petulant.

As I noted in my book, “Turn Right at Lost: Recalculating America,” the Pledge of Allegiance and refusing to stand for the National Anthem has become divisive issues. Too many of our brothers and sisters are conflicted about their patriotism, or at least uncomfortable expressing their passion for Americanism. I am suspicious of my fellow American family members who refuse to identify as my national sibling, or who suggest that they are not willing to give anything other than lip service to our ‘Mother,’ as flawed as she may be.

Like any family, we all have our problems. The relationship between members is never perfect. But when the chips are down, when you need that squirrely and annoying little brother to make that field goal as time runs out, or when you are pinned down by ground fire and all you have is that kid right out of boot camp crouched down in your foxhole, it helps to know that you are like family, and you both have each other’s back….

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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