This is the last thing I will say about this. Alright, it probably isn’t, but humor me for a moment.
I like the flag. I think it’s a lovely design and my hat is off to Mrs. Ross. I don’t mind standing for it and I don’t mind singing the National Anthem. It’s more of a tradition than a rule like it is in, let’s say, N. Korea. In other words, my life is no worse or better for rising any more than the flag is less respected when that enormous one is rolled up and stored on the ground, waiting to be unfurled during that opening NFL ceremony (paid for by the US Government to bolster enlistment).
I can like and appreciate the flag because I understand that a piece of fabric does not truly and accurately represent the fabric of this country. I’m not “flag hypocritical”. I enjoy that our flag is a symbol of power and pride and it is admittedly exciting to await its arrival during the Olympic opening ceremonies. It can be a heart-swelling experience to see fellow citizens walking proudly, displaying The Stars and Stripes. To me, it can be a comfort when traveling abroad and you catch a quick glimpse of one. For all intents and purposes, it is the universal sign of democracy and I am proud to be an American even when America doesn’t always love me back.
Like I said, I am not “flag hypocritical”. I fly one at my home, but I don’t bring it in each evening, nor is it up lit. At some point or another, I have probably purchased a t-shirt at Old Navy around July 4th and worn it. I do somewhat follow protocol when disposing of a tattered flag, but I do not perform the ceremony in its entirety (or even close). I just burn it. I’m not even really mad when I see girls wrapping their vaginas in bikini thong stripes with star covered areolas. Hey, it’s a free country.
I am the daughter of a WWII veteran who was also a POW in Germany during 1944-1945. Dad flies several flags including The Red White and Blue, POW MIA, 457th Bomb Group and 8th Air Force, to name a few. If you ask him, he will tell you that he enlisted, yes left college and enlisted, to protect our Freedoms. However, Freedom means different things to different people. Several men he knew, enlisted to avoid incarceration. When he left on that ship crossing the ocean into uncertainty, Dad was certain of his mission to secure America’s Freedom and defeat the Axis of Evil. When he returned, he learned Freedom was merely an interpretation of an individual or group agenda.
You see, I’ve seen my father cheered and revered for his bravery and heroism. I’ve also seen him called a nigger lover and a disgrace to his race, each by people waving an American flag. I’ve heard him called an All-American Boy and I’ve heard him called an Un-American race mixer, each by people waving an American flag. I’ve watched my parents carefully plot travel routes resembling a covert spy operation when driving to Disneyworld because there are places they dared not venture through; places where “patriots” fly the confederate flag as high as Old Glory. I’ve been in situations where I am considered less than deserving of rights and civil liberties by officers wearing an American flag patch on their uniform shoulder.
Freedom is subjective.
I would like you to marinate on this for a while. When you see someone taking a knee during the National Anthem simultaneously with another guy to your left wearing a baseball hat, or kids talking and laughing under Friday night lights, remember “flag hypocrisy” and that your American experience does not define the experiences of others.
Will I take a knee? Probably not (mainly because I’m not sure I could get back up) but I won’t berate those who choose to exercise their Freedoms in such a manner any more than I would slap the hat off that man’s head. Do you have to agree? Of course not. Can you be offended? Of course, you can. In the grand scheme of things, does it really alter your life’s plan? I’m going to guess no.
The ultimate act of Patriotism and American strength would be if we would stop and listen to WHY instead of concentrating on how.