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I refuse to watch any NFL games while Kaepernick and other players continue to disrespect the flag. Symbols do matter –deeply to me – and this great nation God gave us matters

RESPECT FOR THE AMERICAN FLAG


By —— Bio and Archives--October 6, 2016

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Pres. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag.” Indeed. But with the start of the 2016 National Football League (NFL) season, Americans have become witness to a shockingly disgraceful – and in some quarters, mimicked – display of disloyalty.

You’ve all by now seen it. San Francisco 49ers backup-quarterback Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem. Defending and attempting to justify his actions, Mr. Kaepernick said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color… There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

In another statement, Kaepernick argued, “I mean, you have Hillary who’s called black teens’ or black kids, ‘super predators.’ You have Donald Trump who’s openly racist.”

.

Granted, Kaepernick has the Constitutional right to disrespect the American flag by taking a knee, but his actions also demand criticism. This should include a boycott of the NFL until it stops. Let me explain why this is that important.

First, Title Four of the United States Code of laws is clear: “The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. [Chapter 1, Section 7(j)].” 

Title Four further reads, “All other persons (not military) present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.”

The U.S. Code comports with First Amendment freedom of speech by using the term “should” and not “must.” Thanks to the protection of the Constitution, paid for in the blood of Mr. Kaepernick’s fellow Americans, Kaepernick himself is safe from any threat of prison for his disloyal behavior. And that’s an absolute protection (unique from many other nations around the world and throughout history) that Kaepernick and others of his same mind clearly take for granted. But that’s not the issue. This issue is what he “should” do as an American and high-profile celebrity, and what we “should” do in response.

Symbols are important. It’s why lawmakers provide direction for honoring our flag, and American schoolchildren are taught to honor the flag during the pledge of allegiance. The “idea” of these “United States” rests in the hearts of its citizens and is symbolized by the “living” flag. Without loyalty to America and our identity as Americans, the United States ceases to be a nation. It exists only as a defined landmass with inhabitants. Our great nation is solely in the hearts of its people. Were this not the case, our nation would have unraveled – and will unravel – as we have seen with other nations throughout history.

Unique among nations, we are “of the people, by the people, and for the people” as Pres. Abraham Lincoln put it. In America, we do not give our primary oath to a monarch, but the values expressed in our blessed Constitution. Also unique among nations, America is not held together by a shared ancestry, but we are held together by a set of values. The nation and its values are symbolized by the flag. For a citizen to disrespect the symbol of the nation is to disrespect the idea of the nation in the hearts of the people. Symbols matter.

Nothing justifies disrespect toward the flag, but Kaepernick’s justifications are particularly misguided. He is disrespecting the nation’s flag due to alleged shortcomings of individuals, whether law enforcement officers or presidential candidates. I will again quote from Pres. Theodore Roosevelt in putting Kaepernick’s argument to rest:

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”

If Kaepernick is so ill-informed as to these objective truths, and if he has such low regard for any Americans law-enforcement officers; he should criticize the individual to the extent of failing to stand by the country as Roosevelt asserts. By disrespecting the American flag, while making almost $19-million a year off fellow Americans and acting as a role model to others who are now also cavalierly disrespecting the flag, Kaepernick has become the type of American we have a duty to criticize. He could give up his salary and join the police force to make a positive change. Instead he brings us all down into the mire with him.

Kaepernick’s actions show particular disrespect to all of us who have sacrificed on the nation’s battlefields. We are part of the nebulous “evil” government Kaepernick so-hates, though many have perished in order to give Kaepernick the “right” to take his knee during the Anthem.

Pres. John Adams noted: “This Constitution is made for a moral and religious people, it is wholly unsuited for the governance of any other.”

We don’t use the force of government to compel respect for the symbol of America.  It is simply expected of American citizens. In his refusal to demonstrate loyalty and stand by America, it is our duty to oppose Kaepernick until he becomes the kind of citizen Adams described. I love football; always have. But I refuse to watch any NFL games while Kaepernick and other players continue to disrespect the flag. Symbols do matter –deeply to me – and this great nation God gave us matters.


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Col. Bill Connor -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Bill Connor,  received his Bachelor’s of Arts from The Citadel in 1990. After serving over ten years as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army he received his Juris Doctorate from University of South Carolina in 2005.

He is currently an attorney with Hamilton and Associates in Columbia, South Carolina.

In May 2008, he returned from a yearlong combat deployment in Southern Afghanistan. During that time, he served as Joint Operations Officer for the Southern Region of Afghanistan developing and implementing the US advisory effort for Afghan National Security Forces. This effort occurred during the 2007 Taliban spring/summer offensive.

Due to success in that position, he was promoted to take command of the US advisory effort in the volatile province of Helmand. Shortly after arrival in Helmand, he was promoted in rank from Major to Lt. Colonel. In addition to command of US advisory teams, he was the senior American working with the United Kingdom senior staff. Upon return from Afghanistan, he published the book “Articles from War,”a memoir of his experiences and thoughts in Afghanistan.


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