Saturday, September 17, 2016

Colin Kaepernick’s Protest and America’s Fascism

Hailee Buterbaugh holds the flag
while her kindergarten classmates recite
 the Pledge of Allegiance
 at Seipelt Elemenary School in Milford, Ohio.
Credit: Cincinnati Inquirer, photo by Dick Swaim
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand when the national anthem was played in protest of what he deems are wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States.

Social media went berserk with messages of hate over the incident.

I was condemned by most because of my support for not only Kaepernick’s right not to stand, but for my stance against the childish, culturally and socially expected act of standing during the national anthem.

Because it’s expected, I do stand, but I don’t see a need to stand for the national anthem, or salute the flag, or make a pledge of allegiance to the flag, or do anything to ostensibly prove my respect for and loyalty to the United States of America.

I love and want my country to be the best. By this, I don't mean supreme. That country, however, is very different from Donald Trump’s, Fox News’, or either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party . . . any political party. To me, respecting my country is more than standing/saluting the piece of cloth it represents, a national anthem that doesn't represent the country I want it to be, or honoring the U.S. military, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, saying prayer in schools, pledging allegiance to the flag, hanging a Flag outside my home, or affixing it to my car or pickup truck. These things certainly are patriotic, even jingoistic, but they are not things that should make you proud of the United States. As a matter of fact, these things are part of the reason we are failing as a nation. It's the reason we have a nation divided and not united.

I was asked, “Then please tell me how you respect your country?”

I show respect by supporting and upholding all of the values that the United States says she stands for. Over the years, there have been many times when she has seriously violated those values, by taking, in my view, inappropriate actions. I make sure, through the processes available to me, that I voice my disapproval when she doesn’t and my approval when she does. I make sure I vote and participate in the political process. I do my best to tell her, and everyone who is willing to listen, why I think she is acting poorly or properly, and am willing , in good faith, to discuss the pros and cons of her behavior and how we should direct it moving forward.

My perspective is better explained this way: I love and respect my wife. How can I ever prove to you that I do—better yet, why should I have to? Well, I have been married to my wife for 53 years. When I married, I solemnly promised that I would make her a significant part of my life from that day forward; for better, for worse, for richer , for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish her till death do us part. My vow and relationship with my wife is pretty much the same relationship I feel for my family and home, as well as my country. I have been married to my country for 79 years and I don’t need to prove to anyone my love for her.

These criticisms of Kaepernick are reminiscent of a nationalism that is associated with fascist governments, like Hitler’s Third Reich.

The flag of the United States is a beautiful flag. I have no objection to the flag or that for which it stands. What Kaepernik did, is what it stands for. The “Star Spangled Banner,” in my view, is not what the United States should stand for.

Copyright © Horatio Green 2016