flag/anthem/pledge blasphemy cuts only one way – either everyone or no one is politically correct

By ann summers


In the case of one of the SF 49er quarterbacks, the negative reaction to his personal act of sitting during the playing of the national anthem has been sadly opportunistic and disproportionate even as the scale of the documenting medium has amplified the media reaction.PC

Sitting or not standing is not disruption just as not singing the national anthem or putting one’s hand over one’s heart is not blasphemous and certainly is not about disrespect for anyone as it could be a comment on the viability of the representation which is symbolic and open to multiple reasons rather than an iconic and visceral meaning. Kaepernick has subsequently been quite clear about his reasons; those who condemn/condone them should examine their own motivations.

That some do take it as disrespect is as personal as the person who decided to perform the action, and while speech rights criticizing any action are protected, political correctness either applies to all “sides” or to no one at all, since not all meanings are guaranteed operative in any communicative action. Meaning only gets constituted in subsequent exchanges within discourse.

In a land of LIV reactionaries, the problem when one applies religious blasphemy rules to secular symbols creates a constitutional conflict over the protections for one’s right to dissent. Being able to dissent should be as important to being individually patriotic as fighting for the public right to dissent.

Political Correctness is often identified with a RWNJ criticism of a right to make racist, sexist, and other discriminatory hate speech against liberals, even if the producers of such speech step beyond conventional rules of civility.

The simplest example of how the norms have changed is how the seven words originally banned from broadcast television are now left unmodified on cable television programming.

In the case of national symbols, the etiquette can be formal and informal with formal and informal adherence at public events and with no enforcement required — certainly it’s the case that compliance is negotiable as are all informal conduct.

The venue isn’t an actual church, even as we have learned to set aside Sundays (and now Mondays and Thursdays (and Saturdays)) for some sporting events that violate some (and not all) religious practices that do not have prohibitions which bear Burkini-level penalties.

Flags, thankfully never have the same value as religious icons, even as some institutions try to manufacture that consent. That Americans have the right to burn flags in protest always demonstrates the superiority of US democracy in protecting speech rights rather than enforcing religious blasphemy upon which other more theocratic nations could apply capital punishment.

Those who would condemn a personal act with symbolic violence an action that does not in itself promote violence should be more circumspect.

The situations can become more complicated when firearms among other elements are part of the situation defining what counts as public, political communication. It’s not a two-way street as much as it’s a dispute over rights-of-way in the public sphere.

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5 Responses to flag/anthem/pledge blasphemy cuts only one way – either everyone or no one is politically correct

  1. There have been a number of really ugly cartoons making the rounds. One showed him shackled to a satchel of money marked $114 Million. Others have him standing with his white parents. Sarcastic heading about him being so put upon or discriminated against. I don’t believe some of those folks are paying attention to what he said. He was talking about all people who are being discriminated against, especially people of color. It is one thing for the guy out of a job and sleeping under a bridge to make a stand, and quite another when the guy who did manage to grab the gold ring makes a moral stand. Who has the most to lose when the “nattering nabobs of negativism” want him run out of town on a rail?

    Lest they forget, the Star Spangled Banner is actually an old English drinking song, written so that no normal human can sing all the notes. The way it went originally, a bunch of drunks try to sing it in the pub, and much hilarity ensues.

    It just happened to fit the words of a poem written by a lawyer on board a ship in the harbor.

  2. Carlyle Moulton says:

    “In a land of LIV reactionaries,”.
    What exactly does “LIV”here mean. The only meaning I can find on the internet is a Scandinavian female name.

    • Hi Carlyle, glad to see you back. We are trying to rebuild the blog with a variety of interesting content, and seeing familiar names is a good feeling. This place is going back to being the vibrant and stimulating blog it has the potential to be.

      To answer your question, I believe she is using the Internet acronym for “Low Information Voter.” We certainly have our share of those. The scary thing is that some of them are in college and don’t appear to have any clue about the world around them. Some researchers in Texas did on the street interviews with college students from Texas Tech. Watch this and if it does not scare you, we need to talk.

      This video was made at Texas Tech in 2014.

      • Carlyle Moulton says:

        Chuck, I am always lurking.

        Funny, I did the usual google search for “LIV meaning” and didn’t find in the hit list anything on low information voters.

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