When 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did not stand for a recent playing of the National Anthem at a pre-season game, he set off a firestorm on social media.
In fact, writes Jon Schwarz at The Intercept, the anthem is a celebration of slavery. From Schwarz re: the third verse of the song (which we never sing):
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Is it possible that someone who stands for the National Anthem is not a racist?
I believe so. I stand for it and don’t consider myself one.
So it’s possible, then, that reasonable people today can find a contemporary message of inclusion in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, (“all men are created equal”), another document written by slaveholding racists a couple hundred years ago? Just like they might in the “land of the free, home of the brave” written by another slaveholding racist from the same era?
If that’s so, then doesn’t Schwarz’s regurgitation of forgotten National Anthem history seem just a little opportunistic and specious? As it implies just the opposite? And doesn’t Schwarz’s article actually distract from the contemporary meaning and importance of Kaepernick’s statement? And its historical connection to other such protests by American athletes, (and whole lot of non-athletes)?
Personally, I found it illuminating. I’m ok with people sitting or standing during the anthem. I do ask them not to be chatting out of respect for me and my anthem.
History is always interesting. And often illuminating. But in this case it’s being exploited as a derisive distraction.
I haven’t stood for the anthem, recited the Pledge of Allegiance, or taken a traditional legal oath, (so help me God), for more than 50 years. I’ve been beaten, spit on, cited for contempt of court, and even arrested once because of it. So when I see a celebrity behave likewise, I’m more interested in the contemporary meaning and actual historical connection than the distraction.
Every country’s got a flag. Every country’s got an anthem.
I was talking to a Trump supporter, who like me is not a veteran, about this. He says people have died defending the flag we salute during the anthem. When I point out that soldiers take an oath to defend the constitution not the flag he says, “another liberal lie”. I think I’m going to avoid eye contact with everybody until this is over.
I think I have to get offa Twitter, myself. I’m too evil.
Leave a comment