Stopping in for a quick pop and some live music, we discovered a great band at the Broken Oar in Port Barrington, Illinois.
Bella Cain's slick website describes them as "The 'hottest top 40 country group' in the area!" They are good and they play more than just country.
About an hour into their set a fan collapsed into the soundboard, bringing the show to a halt. A couple of band members did an great job filling the vacuum with a guitar and a fiddle and pretty soon the show went on.
Before the full band resumed however, the audience was treated to a lecture from the drummer, who I believe was band leader, Rob Harvey.
Harvey did not share with us the best way to evacuate in case of a fire or explosion. That would have been enlightening, maybe even useful.
Instead, Harvey lectured the crowd about how to behave should there be another equipment failure, as if that was our problem, not his.
The highlight of the lesson though, was when Harvey told us to remember that there were many people around us who knew more than we do.
I didn't see anyone who looked smarter than me (including Harvey), but that's another story. Harvey's lecture was imperious and self-serving, but also ridiculous and inane.
People around me were too drunk to care what he was saying. He might just as well have been speaking Chinese.
A few songs later, the bar manager came onstage with an American flag.
Harvey said that he was dedicating the next song to veterans and first responders, always a crowd pleaser.
Then he kept talking.
Harvey said that anyone who can't stand proudly for their flag should "pack up their shit" and (go somewhere else).
Every country has a flag; Russia, Iraq, even the tiny Republic of Maldives and they all love their flags. What then, sets apart the American flag from all others?
On June 6, 1944, 2,500 Americans died landing on a beach in Europe to liberate that continent from the tyranny of Fascism and Nazism. Thousands more died in the months leading up to the D-Day invasion.
Our flag stands for freedom, for dignity and for basic human rights.
Harvey, like Captain Bone Spurs knows that black football players haven't been kneeling to protest the flag or the national anthem (quick, anyone know the name of our national anthem?). Didn't think so.
Those black, millionaire football players are kneeling to draw attention to the plight of unarmed black men disproportionately shot by the police.
It is not only their 1st Amendment right to do so, it is their obligation as citizens.
To celebrate and honor our flag, you need to be willing to stand next to someone whose beliefs you detest and you need to defend that person's right to express those beliefs.
You need to defend that person's right to wear a Black Lives Matter tee shirt, because when black lives don't matter, no lives matter.
When you can do that, then you can stand proudly for the flag, or kneel in front of it, praying for a more perfect union.
Nothing on Rob Harvey's resume suggests any service or sacrifice for the flag he waves. He gets to voice his beliefs from behind a drum kit with a microphone to amplify his words. Black football players do not have that luxury.
They only have the football field.
The president, as much as the flag is a symbol of our country. The more ashamed you are of one, the harder it is to be proud of the other.
The flag stands for something greater than any of us, it stands for our ideals.
It took a lot of flag burning to get us out of Vietnam. If not for that, we might still be there and the death toll might be in the hundreds of thousands (it was 58,000 when we left in 1973).
I would still encourage music fans to see Bella Cain, at least once. Personally, I'd rather see Tributosaurus doing Talking Heads than Bella Cain doing talking rectum.
Note: I've previously expressed my feelings about the flag in this space and, if you're interested you can read that HERE.
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