Opinion: Old Glory is more than a scrap of fabric

June 20, 2020

Last week, I spent this space dedicated to my mother’s birthday and my 25th anniversary at The Madera Tribune. What I failed to recognize is that last Sunday was both Flag Day and President Donald J. Trump’s birthday. I’m sure the anti-Trump forces found his birthday on this very patriotic holiday as one more annoying reason to hate him. 

 

According to the History Channel, school teacher Bernard Cigrand of Wisconsin devised the idea of an annual Flag Day to be celebrated throughout the country on June 14, 1885. That year he and his school held the first formal observance of Old Glory’s day.

 

Discussion of what constitutes respecting and disrespecting the American flag has been in the news for a couple of years. It started when an overrated and overpaid biracial quarterback knelt on one knee during the National Anthem to oppose police brutality and the racial inequality aimed at people of color especially his African American brothers and sisters, he said.

 

As an infant his African American father and white biological mother placed him for adoption. The adoptive white parents, Rick and Teresa Kaepernick of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, moved to Cali when the child was 4 years old.

 

Now I find his excuses for first sitting and later kneeling during the National Anthem highly specious. I firmly believe the showboating 49er did it as a publicity stunt. While his sitting during the Nation Anthem failed to generate much notice, the following season he knelt and probably had young and hungry journalists as his accomplices.

 

It was an effective stunt as two years later he is still in the news and every time there is a racial incident anywhere in the USA, his name is invoked and revered by some segments of our population.

 

Initially, the NFL appropriately punished him. When he became a free agent, the San Francisco franchise declined to offer him a contract. The rest of the league followed suit and no other team offered him a contract to play. The 49ers have since negotiated a new six-year contract with him, according to Google.

 

The NFL lost a good portion of its patriot fan-base because the league didn’t punish him earlier and more severely. The “deal” to bring back Kaepernick will no-doubt cost them many more.

 

As a spokesmodel for athletic manufacturer Nike, he continues to make money. He even got a shoe bearing his likeness and a covert NFL insignia on the soles. They became an instant hit, selling out the shoes the day they were released.

 

Recent events have brought this whiney athlete back into the spotlight with the Black Lives Matter movement. The racial unrest surrounding the death of George Floyd has inflamed the nation. Floyd was a man with a lengthy list of prior felony offenses and was driving under the influence when stopped by police that fateful night. He didn’t deserve to die although he also doesn’t deserve the adoration his death has created. This martyr was not an upstanding citizen.

 

As an example, in 2009, wearing dark clothes to imitate a government employee, Floyd led a crew of five other men into a pregnant woman’s home pointing his gun at her baby bump. While he ransacked the house, an accomplice hit the woman in the head with a handgun when she tried to scream for help. The six-foot six-inch Floyd served five years in prison for the assault and robbery in Texas. If his short stay in a Texas prison was too lenient a sentence that is a discussion for another time. Had he been still in prison, he might be alive today.

 

Most law enforcement officers do fine work, given the danger it’s near impossible assignments require. Keeping the public safe and getting criminals off the street requires a very special mindset. Imagine going to work everyday not knowing if you will return home after your shift is over. To paint all law enforcement officers as criminal thugs just waiting for their turn to shoot somebody is shameful and wrong. The bill to defund the police force is irresponsible and dangerous.

 

Going back to the idiot quarterback. Anyone who believes the United States flag is just a scrap of cloth is sorely missing the point. It is not just a scrap of cloth. Thinking that compares to believing a church is just a building or that religious statuary is just a hunk of rock.

 

Old Glory is a symbol for what being an American is all about. The National Anthem is more than just a song that is hard to sing well. I enjoy watching as entertainers attempt to sing the anthem. Afterwards, I say either good job or missed the mark. The Star-Spangled Banner is neither a pop or a torch song. It offends me when performers attempt to make it one. But I am the wrong demographic for my being offended to matter to anyone but my husband me.

 

As for the Black Lives Matter movement and the riots it incites, I believe all lives matter, especially the officers’ lives. Domestic terrorists are being supplied with bricks, gasoline and explosives. I have read on Google that these items are placed on a pallet near a scheduled “peaceful protest.” It is hard to envision those responsible for this as having lives that matter.

 

Student Rohini Sethi the vice president of the University of Houston student government association faced a 50-day suspension of her office for posting on her social media #ForgetBlackLivesMatter; More like #AllLivesMatter. She wrote this a few hours after five Dallas police officers were assassinated. The president of the student government has since lifted the suspension as she too was exercising her right to free speech.

 

Sunday is Father’s Day. Those fortunate enough to still have your fathers enjoy him while you can. After a parent dies they are dead for a very long time. I miss my father a great deal and will remember him affectionately on Sunday and every day for the rest of my life.

 

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Have a blessed and safe weekend.

 

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing tamijonix@gmail.com or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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