The late unpleasant anthem bruhaha.

Here are my thoughts on the recent debate surrounding football players who kneel during the playing of the National Anthem.

My stepdaughter’s father was murdered in Iraq in 2005 by a soldier under his command. This soldier issued hundreds of threats behind his victim’s back, but no one who heard these threats had the presence to hold this soldier to account before his rage rose to murder. In 2008, a military court acquitted this soldier. Nothing rational explains it. Few would be bold enough to argue that the government didn’t prove its case. So as I and many others see it, the Army allowed an innocent man to be murdered and allowed a guilty man to go free.

My stepdaughter will soon be an adult. What if she decides because of the injustice dealt her late father that she wants to take a knee during the anthem? What if she decides that she does not wish to recite the Pledge of Allegiance because the “justice for all” part rings hollow for her? Apparently, some would tell my stepdaughter that while America is the land of the free, she’s not free to do that. Because…well, veterans.

I don’t agree with the football players who take a knee during the anthem. I believe they make a great many errors. But at least they point to dead bodies and say, “these people should not have died.”

The people upset about football players kneeling for the anthem—all they point to is a lack of sufficient piety. And in my view, when piety is demanded above all considerations—to include one’s judgement—it’s undeserved.

Moreover, I don’t think we should let Donald Trump twist the anthem from something most people celebrate into something we choke on. A self-confident nation ought not to wilt in the face of dissent. If the country deserves it, good people will honor it. And if some don’t, I doubt the matter requires presidential attention.


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