Thursday, September 1, 2016

Wrapping Ourselves in the American Flag

We watch our Olympic athletes, in the moments after triumph, literally drape themselves in the flag. We listen to our politicians speak with huge red, white and blue reminders of their allegiance to this country looming in the background.

"Oh say can you see I am a patriot, oh say can you see I believe in everything this flag symbolizes." 

But what if the flag is tinged in the blood of injustice, in the words of hatred, in the acts of oppression? Do we have the same mandate to wrap ourselves in it then? Or do we have the right, as Mr. Kaepernick, to shed our blind adherence, to open our eyes and our mouths to the wrongs being perpetrated? Doesn't our flag allow us, even invite us, the right to express our dissatisfaction that the ideals envisioned in our anthem and symbolized by that flag are not being maintained?

There will always be visceral response to an athlete, particularly a black athlete, speaking his mind. "We pay you to perform for us, not to engage in discourse with us. Your job is not to make us think."

But it is the job of every American to put this nation's ideals to the test, and when that examination reveals our faults, to voice in ways deep and profound, the disappointment in our shortcomings. Mr. Kaepernick by his action and words is not abandoning us, but merely embracing what our flag, our anthem, intends.


Anonymous said...

I am sorry. Protest is American. Disrespect to the symbol of our country is disrespect nothing more.


Anonymous said...