I'm not sure any civilization that has ever existed is as passionate as America when it comes to Patriotism. Most of you remember back in the 60s and 70s hardly a day went by that somewhere in our Country the streets were swarming with protesters. The Civil rights movement was in it's infancy and folks needed to be heard, it was long over due. The war in Viet Nam was raging and war protesters were in the streets and on College Campuses day and night. Some Cities had to be contained by Federal troops it got so bad. Americans at that time were broken into two groups as far as the war was concerned. The news media dubbed the two sides, the "Hawks and the Doves" as if it were that simple. During these tumultuous times Families were at odds, friendships were broken or strained and the shouting past each other continued for years. Yet here we are some 50 years later and that passion is raging once gain.
In the last two years the issue of "Kneeling" at NFL football games while the National Anthem is being played has, to say the least, caused an uproar that likens me back to those 60s and 70's. I will be honest and say that it breaks my heart to see it happening. I'm an ex Marine and a 33 year veteran of the Chicago Police Department who knew up close, scores of Men and woman who had their lives taken from them in Service to either their Country or for the City they loved and lived in. Patriotism is in my blood and will be forever. However we do have to really consider what our country really stands for and that is " Freedom and justice for all" not hollow words that's for sure. It's almost impossible for our great diversified Country to have everyone on board even when it comes to challenging the loyalty and patriotism of others.
No matter how vile we believe a really small minority is by impugning our National Anthem we would be hypocritical as a Nation to stifle their decent whatever it may be. It seems to keep changing. America's first amendment rights are to valuable to pick and choose who, or what issues, we decide to let be heard. It's kind of an ironic situation that those who we are remembering with the Anthem have given their lives for that very freedom the kneelers are exercising.
If we have survived the 60s and 70s in my opinion we will survive the kneelers. America is resilient, we can think back to 1989 when the Supreme Court of the United States invalided the prohibitions on desecrating the American flag, at the time enforced by 48 of the fifty States. That ruling included the burning of the flag. We had to endure shouts of "Red White and Blue We Spit on You" "You stand for plunder and you will go under." Very painful for All Americans who love their country. We all know we are not perfect, who, or what is . We will grow and evolve, this two shall pass as they say, We Americans can be proud we are made of the right stuff. We are bigger for believing what we do, it only matters who stands and pays tribute to those who made our Country what it is today "the greatest Nation on earth". We are big enough to ignore those who think differently, let them be.
I'm hearing the anger almost on a daily basis.Close friends saying they will cancel their NFL packages, friends who are passionate about their Sunday Football and their beloved teams. Some say the owners are fools, the Commissioner is complicit for letting the demonstrators "GET AWAY" with protests that hurt and anger us. Remember this, the overwhelming majority of players, and coaches, and NFL employee ,are not at fault. Look to the good that the players have done in our communities. Millionaires yes, but the hero's abound, Anthony Rizzo, Bo Jackson,Greg Maddux, Michael Jordan, Jerry Rice, 100s of NFL players who donate their time and millions to worthy causes. Since January of 1967 when Green Bay defeated The Kansas City Chiefs, billions of Americans have enjoyed that unannounced holiday, Super Bowl Sunday. Let them kneel, as long as we stand tall, America will always be the greatest nation on earth. If we boycott they won, we are not hypocrites, anger never is a good option if we give up something we love.
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