Tag Archives: Old Glory

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.

Support the flag … and what it ‘represents’

Check out this social media meme that showed up today. Read the text carefully … and then bear with me while I offer a brief interpretation of what it means to me.

First of all, I am a huge fan and supporter of Gary Sinise. I honor his commitment to our nation’s veterans and as an Army veteran myself — one who went to war for my country in the late 1960s — I thank him for his support; it means a great deal to me.

Now comes the “however.” He stands for the flag, puts his hand over his heart and salutes “what that flag represents.” It represents a lot of things to me as well.

It represents liberty, freedom, honor, sacrifice and the right of citizens to dissent, to oppose government policy.

So, when individuals choose to, um, “take a knee,” they do so in full compliance with what the U.S. Constitution allows them to do. The flag, thus, represents the Constitution, it symbolizes the greatness of this land.

One of the elements of our nation’s greatness rests in the rights we have as citizens to protest peacefully without recrimination from our government.

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.

Mr. President, there’s that First Amendment thing

Donald Trump has weighed in on professional football players’ conduct while listening to the National Anthem being played before the start of NFL games.

Fire ’em if they sit or kneel while “The Star Spangled Banner” is being played, he said at a Huntsville, Ala., political rally this week.

According to CNN: Trump said NFL owners should respond to the players by saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!” 

Well …

This whole discussion began a year ago when former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel during the Anthem to protest the country’s treatment of African-American citizens.

Count me as one American who was appalled at Kaepernick’s disrespectful display. I thought he acted stupidly at the time. He is free to express his political views, but I just didn’t like the manner in which he chose to do it.

However, what he did was legal. Not only that, it’s guaranteed under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees citizens the right to protest in any peaceful manner they wish. If they want to burn Old Glory in the town square as a form of political speech, that’s allowed, too. Just don’t do it in my presence.

The president’s urging of NFL owners to fire players who sit during the Anthem ignores the First Amendment guarantee of a cherished civil right.

I could argue that the president simply should keep his trap shut when it concerns such matters, except that the First Amendment damn sure gives him the right to speak his piece, too.

Then again, Donald Trump isn’t just your average Joe. He is the president of the United States of America, which gives his words a lot more weight than those that come from some shmuck blogger out here in Flyover Country.

Oh, the price of living in a free society.

Standing with this Vietnam vet

I’m with John Ackert.

The Tallahassee, Fla., resident has been told he must remove an American flag from his mailbox. The edict has come from the homeowners association to which he belongs. The HOA has rules that prohibit member homeowners from decorating their mailboxes — even with patriotic colors.

What a stupid rule!

Ackert served in Vietnam. He had been drafted, but then joined the Navy, where he made it a career of military service. Ackert retired with the rank of lieutenant commander.

I get that the HOA has rules its members must follow. But this one? This rule about donning red, white and blue colors on a mailbox? I believe that’s a bit too strict.

According to The Washington Post: “Recently, he said, the homeowners association wrote to him, saying the flag mailbox violated the community covenant and had to go. If he did nothing, the letter said, the HOA would fine him and could ultimately place a lien on his home.”

Place a lien on his home? Are you bleeping kidding me?

Read more of the Post story here.

The HOA has clammed up, saying that it is talking with Ackert and that it wouldn’t comment specifically on the dispute until after it is resolved.

Here’s a thought. How about waiving that stupid rule and let people decorate their mailboxes as they see fit, providing they don’t do so with images some would find offensive; you know, nude pictures and that kind of thing?

But decking out a mailbox with colors depicting Old Glory? Please!

Stand tall, Lt. Cmdr. Ackert!

Now comes Louis Farrakhan to weigh in on flag

Rush Limbaugh said on his radio show the other day that liberals are next going to seek to take down the Stars and Stripes.

The conservative talk show voice was making some point about the furor over the Confederate flag in the wake of the Charleston church massacre.

Now comes a voice from the equally remote far left of the spectrum. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said we, indeed, need to take down the American flag.


Those who march under and behind Old Glory have been subjugating African-Americans, Farrakhan said.

That is utter crap!

A former colleague of mine said I owe Daddy Dittohead an apology for tweeting that he should “shut the bleep up” over his remarks about the Stars and Stripes.

I’ll pass on the apology. As for Farrakhan, he, too, needs to shut his pie hole.


'Secede' from our beloved country?

I keep seeing this bumper sticker on the back end of a pickup.

It’s next to another one. Their juxtaposition means that neither of them makes sense.

One is an American flag, Old Glory, the Stars and Stripes. The fellow who owns the truck is a “proud American,” I’m reckoning.

The other one says a single word: “SECEDE.”

OK, so which is it? Is the guy a patriot who loves this country? Does he want to break up his beloved United States of America?

You see these “SECEDE” bumper stickers and other signage around the Texas Panhandle every so often. I’m unsure — as I haven’t mustered the guts to actually question someone displaying the signs — whether the secede messages are to be taken literally.

I’d ask, except that in Texas we allow people to carry concealed handguns, so I’m afraid of getting shot … OK?

The secession talk ebbs and flows. I think it’s beginning to flow once again with election season coming on and tea party folks in Texas and elsewhere touting their candidates for public office.

The “SECEDE” sign next to Old Glory on the back bumper of the pickup sends a mixed message. I trust the owner of the truck is as proud of his country as I am, but I don’t know it, given the sign calling for Texas to pull out of the country.

I believe that’s called “sedition.”

In this country, though, it’s OK to say you want to secede; it’s quite another to actually do it. Eleven states did that once. It didn’t work out for them.