My take on the Anthem Protests, the demands of so-called patriots that failure to stand for the anthem, say the pledge of allegiance or wave the flag, disrespects our military, and the true history of who and what our vets fought for in America’s wars.
All those objecting to the NFL national anthem protests on the basis that anyone who refuses to stand for the anthem is disrespecting the flag, our country and our military veterans who fought to “defend our freedoms” are full of it. My YouTube video at Steven D Speaks lays out a brief history of America’s wars and argues that rarely have our armed forces been used to defend our freedoms, rights, liberties, etc. Indeed, quite the opposite. Our armed forces have been used as pawns to protect the interests of the rich and powerful, of corporate interests overseas and, after WWII, the interests of the military-industrial complex.
As highly decorated US Marine General Smedley Butler once said, “War is a racket.” And the rich, our powerful corporations and financial interests and entrenched interests in the Defense and Intelligence Community have been the primary beneficiary of the wars fought by our veterans. In our history, it has been a rare event when our government sent our veterans to fight a war to defend the freedoms of Americans. Most of America’s wars were fought to advance America’s imperial ambitions and to protect powerful economic interests, and did little if anything to advance the freedoms and rights of American citizens. Indeed, our wars have generally been used to stifle dissent at home and limit the rights granted to us under the US Constitution.
You want to respect and support our veterans? Provide them better healthcare and pensions. And don’t send them to fight and risk their lives for corporate interests of the financial, defense and fossil fuel industries, the MIC, and/or despotic regimes like Saudi Arabia that represses the rights of their own people and actively promotes international terrorism, genocide and general mayhem. But don’t claim that protesting the flag or the anthem is unpatriotic because it disrespects veterans and our military unless you prefer fascism as the basis for our government.
The fights for freedom have been intranational for the most part. One of them is in progress right now, of course, and we are fighting Trump (and his) for our most basic freedoms. But the jingoistic bullshit is very attractive to the chest-thumpers. I find their rhetoric so infuriating that I no longer listen long enough to analyze or even critique it. You disrespect our military when you refuse to allocate the money needed to buy them adequate body armor; you disrespect our military when you send them out to rape and pillage and bring them back to commit suicide and die of neglect and PTSD. You disrespect our military when you USE THEM to bolster your flagging misdirected egostorm tantrums. You don’t disrespect them when you bend your knee to show that black lives matter (when so many black lives have been sacrificed in the military) or that police brutality, like other forms of bullying and abuse, is unAmerican and unAcceptable.
They argue the opposite of every true point and they mangle both language and meaning.