It seems that the National Anthem protest is the story that keeps on giving. From a family shooting during the Thanksgiving holiday to cheerleaders taking a knee, the National Anthem protests seems to just keep on coming.
This particular protest seems to focus on different social problems in the U.S., including police brutality and social inequality on one side and the other side seems to take offense from a perceived insult to the military and police forces. Between the two, battle lines have been formed.
Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about so called Fascists, both perceived and real. However, at the heart of fascism is the desire to make the masses act as one. Almost universally at every professional sporting event everyone is told exactly how they should act with Mr. Announcer proclaiming in amplified tones, “Please stand and remove your hat.” but what is happening when 10,000 people or more sing the same words in unison while all trying to hit the same notes? The masses are acting as one. In fact, singing the National Anthem in this fashion is, in fact, a fascist undertaking.
Should an NFL player be allowed to take a knee during the National Anthem? The operative phrase here is NFL player. Someone in the stands should have every right to sit, stand or kneel as they so choose. The truth is, allowing those choices is the moral thing to do, morality being a guide for human choices and actions. However, such a moral choice does not come without a social price, sometimes in the form of dirty looks and jeers from the surrounding masses like peer pressure echoing from beyond the schoolyard. An NFL player is an employee and is bound to adhere to the rules put forth by the employer. So, if the league or a team has rule forbidding such practices, the player still retains his choice: He still remains free to walk away and take his protest into the stands with the spectators.
There are issues of loyalty involved. Should the person in the crowd that refuses to stand be regarded as disloyal to the flag? To the military? To the United States as a whole? The truth is the ones who demand any person to stand are betraying fundamental American principles. The distinction of being American is that we all, to a degree and in the right context, have the inalienable ability to choose. Forcing someone’s choices or actions is not only unamerican, it strips their morality from them. Worse still, those who act that way are arrogantly claiming their choices to be superior to the choices of someone who doesn’t want to stand for the anthem and force their unamerican actions unto those who choose not to stand.