The Flag and National Anthem


Thomas Jefferson at age 16 attended the College of William and Mary. At age 19 he studied law for five years starting under George Wythe. At age 23 was elected to the Virginia House of Burgess. Age 31 he wrote and distributed, “Summary View of the Rights of British America.” He became a delegate to the Second Continental Congress at age 32. At age 33 he wrote the Declaration of Independence. He was elected second Governor of Virginia at age 36, succeeding Patrick Henry. He served in Congress for two years starting at age 40. He became the first Secretary of State under George Washington. At age 53 he was Vice President then President of the American Philosophical Society. At 57 he was elected third President of the United States. At 61 he was elected for a second term. When he was 80 he helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine. At age 81 he created the University of Virginia and served as its first President. He died at age 83 on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He has been credited with many great accomplishments and comments. I quote just one here.

“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

THIS is another reason I support those who kneel during the National Anthem. I stand to honor my uncle, Lenny Rubin, who was killed on June 6, 1944 during the Normandy invasion. It is not only their First Amendment right to kneel, but also their obligation as Americans. Of course, I’m sure there are many people who are smarter and more accomplished than Thomas Jefferson who will disagree. I support their right to believe and say as they wish. Doing so absolutely doesn’t make them better Americans.

There is actually another aspect of the National Anthem which is or should be, in my opinion, considered even more disrespectful than kneeling.

Singers glorify their voices rather than the lyrics and meaning of the song. It should be a showcase for this nation, not how great their voice range can be.
There are also those who stand, hand over heart and begin cheering loudly LONG BEFORE the National Anthem has ended. This has also become the accepted custom. Again, it disrespects the lyrics and meaning of the National Anthem and cheapens its meaning.

Both are very disrespectful. However, such disrespect is acceptable, but kneeling, as a response to the “sinful and tyrannical” behavior of our government and a large percentage of its citizens is singled out as being disrespectful.

Choosing which parts of the Constitution, amendments, Bill of Rights, meaning of the Statue of Liberty and various laws that one likes and ignoring others certainly does not make them better Americans.

The Pledge of Allegiance says as follows: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”

Indivisible? This nation is more divided than any time since the unCivil War (if for no other reason than there are so many more people, but lots of other reasons as well).

Liberty and justice for all? If it weren’t so sad, it would be a great punch line for a political joke. Whites get off for raping a girl, but people of color get essentially a life term for the same crime. Blatant racial profiling being pardoned by the President of the United States. People waving the American flag AND a Nazi flag are just exercising their constitutional rights, but those demonstrating against them are responsible for any physical altercation.

Eligible people are prevented from voting. Presidents and Congresses steal money from Social Security to pay for unnecessary, unwinnable wars and cover related budget deficits.
The United States being the ONLY industrialized nation to not have a single payer universal health care plan for all its citizens.

The very meanings of the Flag and our National Anthem have been severely diluted.The Statue of Liberty is virtually meaningless. As mentioned above, we have accepted the general disrespect shown our National Anthem, but choose to condemn those who kneel. However, according to one of our greatest founding fathers, they are not only exercising their constitutional rights, they are obligated to do so.

As I have said in the past, I am a disciple of George Carlin (without all the bad words). He was and still is, in my opinion, America’s greatest philosopher and social conscience. He said, “Question everything you read (see, hear).” I try my best to not get caught up in the emotional aspects of social/political issues. I try to intellectually analyze what is going on. What I have written above is an example of such an approach.

I believe the extremes in this country, both far Left and far Right are more dangerous to our constitutional way of life than any foreign terrorists. We need more moderates who are more willing to work together to solve important issues. In my opinion, number one on that list should be term limits for members of Congress. But that’s a topic for another blog.

One thought on “The Flag and National Anthem

  1. Your poignant article caused me to do a Google search — asking a question I’ve never asked: Why is our national anthem played at sport events?
    After browsing through the history of our anthem (past and present) I’ve sadly concluded: patriotism has become too politicalized and commercialized.

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