This “debate” we’re having about NFL players taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem, has nothing to do with the anthem, or loyalty to the flag, or honoring our veterans, or our active-duty military.
It’s about protesting racial injustice, and specifically the rash of killings of unarmed African Americans by police under circumstances that are more than a little dubious.
But what if it were about the anthem, or the flag, or the military? I’d still take a knee, and support the right of anyone else to do likewise. Because, as an American, I’m not loyal to any of those things.
Back in January, when president-elect Donald Trump was said to be imposing personal loyalty tests on those who sought jobs in his administration, and those who were planning to protest Trump’s inauguration were denounced as disloyal to the office of the presidency, I wrote about what I was, and was not, loyal to.
Here’s some of what I had to say back then:
I am loyal to the values that our country claims to stand for, that our presidents vow to uphold, that our symbols – like the flag and the anthem – are intended to represent.
I am not loyal to any of these people, or offices, or things for themselves, but for the ideas they serve and embody.
So if I feel I need to burn a flag, or take a knee during the anthem, or turn my back on a president, or rally against another’s inauguration in order to stand up for the values that make us who we are as a people, then that’s what I’ll do.
I meant what I said in January, and I mean it today, nearly 10 months later. If we’re not loyal to our values and ideals, why be loyal to the symbols we claim they represent?