Tag Archives: National Anthem

Let anthem stand on its own

The older I get the more of a fuddy-duddy I become.

There. I’ve admitted it. What caused this admission? It’s the inclusion of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at professional football games which is now being sung alongside the National Anthem.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” has become a sort of de facto “black national anthem.” It’s a lovely song. I don’t know the words, but I do hear it on occasion and I like the melody.

Do we need to sing it at pro football games as a statement that we recognize the injustice being done to African Americans to this very day? I don’t think so.

I prefer to sing only the National Anthem — the “Star Spangled Banner,” if you will — at sports events. How come?

We have one National Anthem. Just a single tune. Its lyrics were penned by Francis Scott Key in the early 19th century. It stands as the song we all learned as children. We sang it in school. We sing it today at public meetings and, yes, at sporting events.

I don’t want to dilute the meaning of the national anthem, which proclaims we are the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” Do I ignore the injustice that continues to occur? Do I accept that some Americans are treated unfairly? That they face discrimination? No! I reject all of that!

However, this notion that we sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” alongside the “Star Spangled Banner” just doesn’t feel right.

OK. I’m a white guy. I also am a fuddy-duddy. Deal with it!


Mavs owner agrees to play the National Anthem

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Stop the presses!

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has backed away from his plan to forgo the playing the “Star Spangled Banner” at Mavericks home games at the American Airlines Center.

Huh? Hey, it’s OK with me. So, too, was his prior decision to skip playing the National Anthem.

But now the NBA has restated its pro basketball league policy that involves playing the Anthem. As The Associated Press reported:

The league’s initial reaction to Cuban’s decision was to say teams were free to conduct pregame activities as they wished with the unusual circumstances created by the coronavirus pandemic. Most teams don’t have fans at home games.

But the NBA abruptly reversed course with Cuban’s decision reverberating around the country, including a question put to White House press secretary Jen Psaki during her daily briefing. Athlete protests of social and racial injustice during the “The Star-Spangled Banner” became a flashpoint between then-President Donald Trump and various leagues during his administration.

“With NBA teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy,” the league said.

Mavs’ Cuban relents on anthem after NBA reiterates policy (msn.com)

Are we clear on that? My hope now is that Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, whose shorts got all twisted up because of Cuban’s decision to skip the Anthem, can concentrate now on legitimate legislative business, rather than pushing the Texas Senate — over which he presides — to pass a Star Spangled Banner bill that makes playing the Anthem mandatory at all sporting events in Texas.

Patrick strikes back at Mavs owner

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Maybe I should have seen this coming.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has declared a form of political “war” against Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. You need to know why. He is angry that Cuban no longer allows the National Anthem to be played before NBA games at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Patrick won’t have it. He wants to make playing the Anthem mandatory at all sporting events.


I’m tellin’ ya, the measures some folks take to insert government into matters where it really doesn’t belong. This appears to be one of those matters.

“It is hard to believe this could happen in Texas, but Mark Cuban’s actions of yesterday made it clear that we must specify that in Texas we play the national anthem before all major events,” Patrick said in a statement. “In this time when so many things divide us, sports are one thing that bring us together — right, left, black, white and brown. This legislation already enjoys broad support. I am certain it will pass, and the Star Spangled Banner will not be threatened in the Lone Star State again.”

Dan Patrick introduces “Star Spangled Banner Act” after Mavericks stopped playing national anthem | The Texas Tribune

I’ve already stated my tepid view on this matter. It remains so.

Cuban doesn’t want the Mavs to be inserted into political statements, such as when players “take a knee” during the Anthem to protest police brutality chiefly against African-American citizens. Given that the NBA comprises an overwhelmingly African-American roster of athletes, this form of peaceful protest has become standard among players.

Now we have the Legislature getting involved?

Give me a break. Please.

Patrick tweeted this: “Sell the franchise & some Texas Patriots will buy it. We ARE the land of free & the home of the brave.”

The land “of free”? Yes, we are. We are free to run our businesses as we see fit. Which is what Mark Cuban is doing. He isn’t making a choice I would make, but he’s the owner of the team. The lieutenant governor ought to butt out.

TDS? Who … me?

(AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A frequent and persistent critic of this blog has accused me of suffering from something called “Trump derangement syndrome,” whatever that means.

I don’t actually know this fellow; we’ve never met face to face, but he reads my blog and I presume he thinks he “knows” me better than most folks. Whatever.

I’ll cop to a couple of points he keeps making. He thinks I am driven exclusively by my “hatred” for Donald J. Trump. I won’t attempt to change his mind on that point, so we’ll just agree to disagree on this matter: I do not hate Trump; I do hate what he stands for, which to my eye is self-enrichment. To the extent that I hate the kind of presidency he has cobbled together, I will acknowledge that it has consumed me for the past, oh, four years.

There. I hope my critic will acknowledge my, um, acknowledgment. I won’t expect it.

I have sought to make this point about Trump, which is that my constant criticism of him is driven by my love for the United States of America. I am going to presume that the point has been lost on my critics, all of ’em!

I went to war for my country. I stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I will never “take a knee” during the National Anthem to lodge a political protest; it ain’t my style, man. I have voted in every presidential election since 1972. I pay my taxes on time; oh, and I have paid my “fair share” of taxes for as long as I’ve been a working stiff, unlike at least one prominent politician who happens to be seeking re-election to the nation’s highest office.

So, there you go. I am angry at Donald Trump not because I hate him, but because I love my country.

Are we clear on that? Good. Now, let’s get over this election.

It’s ‘phony patriotism’

If the National Football League and the National Basketball Association are able to get their seasons started, we should prepare ourselves for another round of what I call “phony patriotism.”

It will come from those who object to players “taking a knee” while they play the National Anthem. Americans will object to the demonstration of peaceful protest against police brutality. They will assert that kneeling during the Anthem disrespects the flag, the men and women who fight to defend it as well as our way of life.

Donald Trump says he will turn off football games the moment he sees players kneeling. No doubt he will wrap himself in the flag, perhaps even hugging and kissing the cloth stitched in red, white and blue. He’s going to pitch for legislation making flag-burning a violation of federal law.

Except for this bit of history: The U.S. Supreme Court has stood firmly behind what the flag represents. The court has ruled that burning the flag is a form of political protest, which the Constitution protects in the First Amendment.

I want to stipulate once again that I revere the flag. I stand proudly for it. I went to war in defense of what that flag represents. No one who ever seeks to make a political point by burning that flag should do so in front of me.

But the return of pro sports may well be upon us. Major League Baseball has begun — more or less — and yes, players have knelt during the Anthem. The NFL and the NBA seasons are scheduled to begin soon.

I will await the phony patriotism and will dismiss it for what I believe it is: a demonstration of cheap showmanship.

Whether to salute …

There they are, the commander in chief and the first lady, standing for the playing of the National Anthem.

Donald J. Trump is offering a hand salute, which I am sure is going to prompt some discussion about whether it is appropriate for a president who never served in the military to do such a thing.

I’ll weigh in with this: There is no rule against it, which means it is up to individual presidents to decide whether to salute while playing the Anthem. I guess Trump thinks it’s OK. Fine.

It has been established that it’s all right for veterans to salute while they play the Anthem. I choose instead to put my hand over my heart; I am just not comfortable saluting the flag while standing in civilian clothes. This is just me, but I find the sight of a civilian saluting the flag to be off-putting. It’s as if the individual who salutes the flag is trying to call attention to himself or herself, rather than granting full attention to the flag we honor and cherish.

I suppose that would apply to presidents of the United States.

Barack Obama would return a salute when service personnel saluted him; President Obama never served in the military. George W. Bush did the same thing; he did serve in the Air Force Reserve. Same applies to Bill Clinton, who also didn’t serve in the military. All of those men, though, place their hands over their hearts while standing for the National Anthem.

President Bush 41 would salute occasionally. President Reagan would return the salute. Neither of those men, though, would stand while saluting as the Anthem was played.

I am not going to belabor the point, except to say that Donald Trump’s role as commander in chief grants him the opportunity to salute while they play the Anthem. I get, too, that not all veterans agree with his decision to do so.

I suppose I am one of them … but it’s a small thing. The current president’s desire to make a spectacle of himself in that context only highlights the Vietnam War draft-dodging chapter in his life that so many of us find objectionable.

God bless America, warts and all!

My friend David Stevens, a New Mexico newspaper publisher and all-round good guy, has it right.

He said on Facebook he has no intention of protesting anything on the Fourth of July. He intends only to salute the country, even with all its flaws.

I have to concur with him.

I make no apologies to anyone for my love of this nation. I am the grandson of immigrants who came here with virtually nothing. They reared their children — 10 of them all told on both sides of my family lineage. They all enjoyed success and brought families of their own into this world.

I, of course, was one of them.

We hear so much these days about the divisions that run deep throughout our society. I admit they exist. They make me mightily uncomfortable. I don’t like the tone of the political discourse these days. However, not a single aspect of it makes me love this country any less than I always have.

I am a sucker for Independence Day pageantry. I love parades. The patriotic music makes my soul soar.

I’ll admit that I do not stand and salute the Stars and Stripes when they play the National Anthem. I have seen my fellow veterans do that. Such outward public displays of patriotism look to me to be a form of showing off, of making a spectacle of oneself. I prefer instead to take off my cap, put my hand over my heart and sing the anthem loudly … even if it’s more than a bit off tune

The protests over shoe companies, over the late Kate Smith’s “God Bless America,” over athletes “taking a knee”? I take no part in any of that. None of that interests me in the least.

I stand and salute the nation I love without condition. It’s not the perfect nation. It merely is the best one on Earth. I am proud to be one of her sons.

Penalize players for kneeling?

I saw this Twitter message from Donald J. Trump.

He asks whether the NFL player contract requires players to stand with the hand over their heart when the National Anthem is being played.

Then he suggests that players should be suspended for the season without pay if they kneel a second time.

Hmm. Interesting. That kind of reminds of when the boxing authorities denied the late Muhammad Ali the ability to make a living because he refused to enter the U.S. Army; he protested the Vietnam War on religious grounds.

The Supreme Court would rule later, unanimously, that Ali’s suspension from boxing was unconstitutional. He was being denied the right to protest the government.

Aren’t the players protesting local governments’ treatment of African-American offenders? Isn’t there a parallel here between today’s protests and the one that The Greatest made a couple of generations ago?

Trump tells Eagles to stay away? Good grief!

Donald J. Trump’s petulance has reached an astonishing level, although it’s hard any longer to keep up with his guy’s sense of outrage.

He has told the Philadelphia Eagles to stay away Tuesday from the White House. The Super Bowl champions were supposed to show up for a little ceremony, some happy talk from the president about their athletic prowess. They were going to have a few laughs, exchange some good tidings with the sports fan in chief.

Oh, but that “take a knee” matter got in the way. Some of the Eagles were going to boycott the meeting because of Trump’s public shaming of pro football players who kneel during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” before a game. They protest police conduct and their enforcing the law when it involves African-Americans.

According to NBC News: In an unusual statement early Monday evening, Trump said the Eagles “disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country.”

The National Football League has just instituted a policy requiring players to stand during the Anthem’s playing. Trump applauded the NFL decision.

Good grief. Now the president has taken it all to a new level by telling the Philadelphia Eagles to, um, just stay away.

I just want to remind the president that the players’ protest has nothing at all to do with honoring the “great men and women of our military.” It has to do with a perception of police brutality. The athletes, as near as I can tell, are protesting peaceably.

And I am quite certain that every single one of them loves our country as much as the president does. They just want to see some changes made.

What is so terrible about that?

Speaking of disrespecting the flag

Now that Roseanne Barr is back in the news thanks to that hideous tweet she fired off about Barack Obama and one of his senior presidential advisers, I thought I would share this video of the comic’s rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.”

She offered this hideous version of the National Anthem in 1990.

So I am moved to ask whether this is more or less disrespectful of the flag, of the nation, and of our veterans than professional athletes “taking a knee” to protest police treatment of some U.S. citizens.

I’ll inclined to side with those who think Roseanne’s “singing” of the anthem is the more more egregious example of disrespect.