Stand for the Anthem 

Debates raged on Sunday about the decision by many NFL players to kneel for the national anthem, and the field is littered with the bodies of massacred straw men. So let’s get some of the easy stuff out of the way.

Of course the players have the right to kneel during the anthem. That is indisputable. Kneeling during the anthem is a form of political protest and I would absolutely oppose anyone who says they shouldn’t have that right. But that is not the question. The question is should they kneel.

Second, criticizing the kneelers is not the same as supporting what Trump said. I’m not going to quote the president here because this is a family friendly site, but the chief executive should not call for private businesses to fire their employees. It was wrong when Democrats went after Chick-Fil-A, it’s wrong when Trump goes after the NFL.

That being said, instead of taking the high road, many players decided to double down on a protest that disrespects America. The national anthem does not represent Trump, it represents our country. If you want to register disapproval with Trump, the national anthem is the wrong venue to do so.

Finally, some have pointed to the US flag code to obfuscate the argument by saying it’s the people who wear the flag on their clothing who are really disrespectful, not those who kneel. That would be a great gotcha moment if the debate was over adhering to a flag code most people have not heard of. But it’s not. It may be in violation of the flag code, but wearing a shirt or hat with the US flag on it is designed to show support for the flag and for America. Kneeling during the anthem does the opposite.

So let’s walk through step by step why so many people are upset over the anthem protest.

The Star Spangled Banner is not just any song. It is the US national anthem, and as such it represents America the same way the flag does. It represents not just the soldiers manning Fort McHenrey in 1814, but also the Minutemen who guarded Bunker Hill in 1775, the Union troops who repelled Pickett’s Charge in 1863, the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in 1944, and the soldiers I know who patrolled Iraqi villages. It represents the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that “all men are created equal,” and the abolitionists, suffragettes, and civil rights leaders who fought to uphold that revolutionary idea. It represents a country that, while not perfect, has done more than any other to spread the message of political and economic freedom to the world. It represents the 320+ million Americans who make up this great country.

As such, we treat the national anthem with respect. Whenever the anthem is played at any event, an announcer generally asks everyone to stand, remove any hat they may be wearing, and place their right hand over their heart. All of this is done as a sign of respect to the anthem and by extension to the country it represents.

Before the anthem is played at football games, fans are usually sitting in their seats and players are standing on the sidelines. When the anthem starts, fans stand up to show respect. For players who are already standing to kneel means they have decided to make an effort to not show respect for America. Make no mistake about it, going out of your way to avoid showing respect is a sign of disrespect.

The players who kneel are actively disrespecting our country.

For evidence of their thinking, lets go to the man who started this ordeal. When he began this protest over a year ago, Colin Kaepernick said “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” This is not a case of players simply taking advantage of the biggest stage they have to make a political point; the intentional disrespect of America is an integral part of the protest.

NFL players have plenty of opportunities to promote political causes. Their celebrity guarantees if they held a press conference or organized a rally it would get attention. Many of them are frequently interviewed for TV, radio, newspapers, and websites; they could talk about their concerns then instead of how impressive they are or the product they are paid to promote. But no. They have chosen the one moment reserved to honoring the United States.

Kneeling during the national anthem cannot be done surgically. It is not possible to only oppose what you don’t like while disrespecting a symbol of the whole nation. By kneeling during the anthem they are not just saying they don’t like racism or police brutality. What the country hears is that they don’t like America.

America is not now, was never, and will never be perfect. But we have done more good for this world than any other country. America began the modern democratic movement. America has invented products and systems that have saved tens of millions of lives and vastly improved hundreds of millions more. For close to a century, America has been the worldwide bulwark of democracy and liberty. Over the course of our history we have developed a society in which the adopted son of immigrants can found a world changing company in his garage and the black son of a single white mother can become president.

America is a country worth honoring, and we should all stand for her anthem.

#america, #patriotism, #protest

America – The Best There’s Ever Been

Let’s start this off with a simple fact: America is the greatest country that ever was or will be. Qarth can suck it.

America is, without question, the richest, most powerful, most influential country the world has ever known. But more than that, modern society would be impossible without the United States. I am currently writing this post on my phone, which would not have been possible without America. An American did not just invent the specific iPhone I am using, but the genre of cell phones itself. Nor is the cell phone the only American invention that has transformed our daily lives. Far from it.

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#america, #patriotism

When Partisanship Destroys Your Soul

Last night, President Trump addressed a joint session of Congress. These events are usually filled with a certain amount of theater. Much of the night is spent with congressmen from the president’s party regularly interrupting the speech with applause while members of the opposition sit silently. But there are always moments of national unity when everyone cheers. Last night, several congressional democrats broke with that tradition in a disgusting way.

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#military, #patriotism, #trump

American Exceptionalism

“Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.” ― Margaret Thatcher

American exceptionalism is a concept that is easy to misunderstand. When President Obama was asked if he believed in American exceptionalism, he famously responded “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” This is how many people understand that term, as just another expression of patriotism; that saying one believes in American exceptionalism is just a louder way for an American to say they are proud of their country. This is false.

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#america, #democracy, #government, #patriotism, #principles

Is it Unpatriotic to Want the President to Fail?

“Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.” – Mark Twain


There is a false narrative that has been accepted as truth by many on the left. As the story goes, before Obama was even sworn in as president, then Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he wanted President Obama to fail, and then set out to obstruct all of his proposals as part of a political vendetta. There are numerous problems with this version of history, not least of which is that McConnell didn’t say he wanted Obama to fail before he was sworn in (although Rush Limbaugh did say this). Almost two years later, before the 2010 midterm elections, McConnell did say he wanted to make Obama a one-term president. These two stories are often confused, and then used to begin the narrative of intransigent GOP obstruction.

To hear the more extreme elements on the left tell it, this was downright treasonous. Without going quite so far, even more establishment sections of the left said that “Republicans want Obama to fail more than they want America to succeed.” Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, said that in opposing the president, Republicans were putting their political interests ahead of the country. This is patently absurd. From the conservative point of view, Obama’s policies were harmful to the country.

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#government, #obama, #patriotism, #principles, #trump

American Patriotism

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” – Harry S Truman


In college, my favorite professor was Prof. Mitchell. So much so that I took three different classes with her. Like most college professors, she is a liberal and opposed the Iraq War. But she never tried to impose her views on the class. In fact, she would make a point of calling on me so that the class would hear conservative ideas. This is not relevant to the topic at hand, but I feel obliged to make it clear I am not attacking her in any way.

Like I said, I took three classes with Prof. Mitchell on three different subjects. But in all three classes, she brought up a poem by Wilfred Owen. The poem ends with what Owen calls “The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori.” Translation: it is a lie that “it is sweet and right to die for one’s country.”

I thought about that poem a few years later as I prepared for my first tour in Iraq. It is a strange thing for a healthy 24 year old to contemplate his own mortality. But in doing so, I fortified my belief that it is not a lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori.
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#america, #military, #patriotism, #principles