Why Do Some Support The NFL When It Does Not Respect America

nfl-marshallThe Kaepernick nonsense of protesting America by showing disrespect to the American flag during the playing of the  national anthem continues. Its noxiousness spreads to other teams. The National Football League likewise shows its disrespect to America by allowing its employees to continue their actions. The great number of American fans who overlook the NFL’s and its employees’ vile actions also show disrespect for our country.

As long as they continue to support the NFL by buying game tickets, watching the games on television, and gambling on the games they are saying it is all right for the NFL to publicly show its contempt for America. This is so because they know that the NFL could stop these disrespectful actions in a moment’s notice. We know this because the NFL controls every aspect of the employees’ actions while on the field.  I’ve written before of all the restrictions it places upon an employees’ free speech rights by controlling even what one may wear under his helmet or on his face.

The NFL provides its employees the big stage upon which they perform. None has the right to be there. The NFL is allowing these employees to demean America. It sends a loud message to all Americans that it too believes the American flag can be dishonored during the playing of the national anthem by refusing to stop this.

Thursday night Brandon Marshal described as a key member of the Denver Bronco’s defense and an all-pro player took a knee when the national anthem played. The NFL said: “While we encourage members of our organization to stand during the National Anthem, we understand and respect it being a personal decision.”  Yet when a player wants to wear face paint that is prohibited.

The Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said he is supportive of Marshall’s decision not to stand. “Brandon is a great kid. He is a leader of this team. I believe in my players.” Too bad he does not believe in showing respect for the American flag.

This all started with Colin Kaepernick as you might recall. He was protesting the racial policies of the United States. It went on with a woman professional soccer player who was protesting the American treatment of gays.  The Denver Bronco’s Brandon Marshall gave as the reason for his showing of disrespect: “I’m not against the military. I’m not against the police or America. I’m against social injustice.”

Are we to assume all those who stand are for social injustice?  Isn’t it only logical that if you show disrespect toward a nation or person you do so because of some animus toward either one. Can you show your disrespect toward another person because you’re against animal cruelty? If Marshall is protesting against “social injustice” wouldn’t it have been more effective if he took a knee during some plays on the field?

If you disrespect the American flag then it must be because you feel it represents something you do not like. At least Kaepernick had the courage to say: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color, . . . “  Jeremy Lane a player on the NFL team called the Seahawks sat during the anthem. He said  he was supporting Kaepernick and: he was protesting police treatment of African-Americans as well as oppression of people of color.”

The protests will continue. A different Brandon Marshall (who ever knew there were two?) who plays for the team called the Jets gave a hint of his future action in a rambling speech earlier this week. He spoke about how Martin Luther King led the civil rights movement and now another civil rights movement is coming.

The pressure is on the players to decide who they respect more: Colin Kaepernick or America. Now there is talk that all the Seattle team will all show their disrespect for the flag on September 11.  Why is it that date rings a bell?

I understand these people in America have the right to express their opinions. I do not have to respect them for doing it. If a goon wants to do or say something derogatory toward a member of my family that his right. Do I have to respect the goon while respecting his right?  I think not. Do I have to respect those who show their disrespect for my country’s flag? I think not.

An NFL player on the NFL playing field has only those rights the NFL give to him. His differs from yours. You cannot go onto that stage. Like with a parade the owner of the forum controls the speech. An NFL player’s actions are controlled by the NFL. The NFL in not stopping this showing of disrespect is promoting it.

Some suggest I am making a too big thing out of this. I don’t think I am. I happen to believe that it is important to show great respect for America by honoring the flag during the national anthem. America is my home. It welcomed my ancestors. It has given me and millions others great freedoms. It is responsible for Europe’s freedoms. It is the one nation that has fought to keep the world’s tyrants from turning every nation into larger North Koreas.

It continues to be the land where oppressed people dream of coming to. It daily protects the freedom of the sea and air. If you do not respect our country despite all its faults, especially if you are a great beneficiary of it as are the owners of the NFL and all professional sports players, I do not respect you. If you allow others to do this then you do not deserve my respect.

Therefore I am puzzled by anyone who says he or she respects our country but then supports those who do not. This includes not only the players but the league which supports their disrespect. I understand many fear standing up against the NFL because it might interfere with their pleasures or obsessions. Sometimes, though, you have to make a stand and forego a little pleasure.

35 thoughts on “Why Do Some Support The NFL When It Does Not Respect America

  1. This skunk at the garden party, wear your politics on your evpensive sleeve, crying in your vanity grandstanding by Kaepernick et al is easily neutralized by showing the shot of the kneeling martyrs to conscience, once, and without more than a simple descriptive comment, moving on with the … sports event .

  2. Shutting down this nonsense is child’s play.

    WJM. White Jobs Matter.

    As soon as a single White player announces that he will not stand during the playing of the national anthem because he cannot abide the flag of a Racist nation that deprives a White man of an equal opportunity by his labor to put bread on the table for his White family, the media band will stop playing ragtime. Affirmative Action is Racism.

    If this happens we will see the brutal, crushing hand of censorship extinguish any ‘free speech’ concerns in a nonce. The NFL owners will crack down. The DOJ will threaten. Obama will pontificate. Hillary will cough to the point of choking.

    Tom Brady, be a hero for your people for the next four weeks and piss off Roger Goodell at the same time. Join WJM. Spread the word. End the hypocrisy .

  3. Matt, I agree 100%. NFL has the power to stop this disrespect and elects not to.
    2. I do hope many Americans choose to boycott the NFL! Boycott T.V. stations that carry NFL games. Boycott sponsors of the NFL.
    3. Here’s why: Please follow this analogy: NFL players have a constitutional right to curse but if an NFL player cursed (used foul language) on t.v. or made obscene gestures on television during an interview, the NFL would promptly sanction him. But its OK with the NFL that their employees disrespect the flag?
    4. By its acquiescence and inaction, the NFL is sanctioning disrespect of the flag.

    1. Bill You are 100% correct and I hope to see your analogy many times more in many different locations in the hope people starting with Roger Goodell can understand the difference between a persons right of free speech and an employees obligation to not bring shame onto the company they work for. Besides I do not understand the association between the allegation of police brutality towards blacks and our Nations flag. Have we forgotten that our flag is a symbol of equality? this seems very hypocritical to me and shame on all who support these disrespectful actions as they sit in front of their TVs and watch these players make millions playing football where else in the world would they be able to do that. I think they should start being thankful they live in a nation where this is possible…. Thank You Bill I like what you are saying!

  4. ugh!

    in other news

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/07/critics-ignoring-of-documented-record-of-frisco-police-abuse-proves-kaepernick-right/

    SEPTEMBER 7, 2016
    Critics’ Ignoring of Documented Record of Frisco Police Abuse Proves Kaepernick Right
    by LINN WASHINGTON JR.

    A month before the police union in San Francisco sent a blistering letter to NFL officials recently demanding that the professional football league apologize for the “ill-advised” criticisms of police by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick that union was the target of scathing criticism for supporting police misconduct.

    That criticism of the San Francisco Police Officers’ Association came in a report from a panel that conducted a yearlong investigation into policemen in that city caught sending racist, sexist and homophobic text messages. One member of that blue ribbon panel, a retired judge, blasted the police union for having established an “ugly” tone that infected the entire police department.

    The same San Francisco police union that has lambasted civilians for not cooperating with police to solve crimes had directed its members to stiff-arm that panel through refusal to cooperate

  5. America’s new religion: the confluence of the NFL and patriotism.

    I find it hard to fathom how so many usually rational folks just lose their shit when some pouty bozo makes a poorly thought out, meaningless gesture toward a cause-of-the-day.

    Listen carefully. This means nothing. It only affects your blood pressure and the ratings of Fox and the sports channels who endlessly regurgitate the same 20 sec video loop, while screaming “How dare he!!”

    Ignore it. When the TV lights go out, the world will move on to more fruitful things.

    One of the problems I see in this downward cultural and political spiral that 24 hour screaming news has brought us, is that we avoid discussing an actual issue and just argue murderously to our preconceived, one dimensional, ideological positions; ie. liberal, or conservative, or just grumpy older men who feel that the youth of today just do not measure up against my rose colored memory.

    1. Jeff, quit acting like a pansy and show some respect for your Nation. If you do not see this as a real issue and something worth standing for then you are representative of the problem you describe with the downward cultural and political spiral!

  6. Matt: “The president of San Francisco’s board of education (Matt Haney) wants to remove George Washington and Thomas Jefferson from the names of all taxpayer-funded schools in the city because the forefathers owned slaves.” He was inspired by hearing a discussion at a Baptist Church praising Colin Kaepernick’s protest.
    The Purity Police, the Purge Police, and the Historical Revisionists are on the march.
    I suggest that the Colin Kaepernick matter is not a trifle. It’s an insult to America which will be amplified by leftist radicals into a cause celebre.
    2. CK may be a vain, egotistical non-entity trying to get some publicity, and perhaps as Jeff and Hutch suggest, he should simply be ignored. But CK’s posturing and its glib acceptance by many, are symptomatic of deeper and more widespread Anti-American sentiments in this country. “Spit on the flag!” Who cares? “Call the flag a rag” Who cares? Portray Washington, Jefferson, Madison as uni-dimensional evil men? Who cares? Purge all those who historically opposed emancipation, women’s suffrage, feminism, the eight-hour work day?
    3. As some sage said, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
    4. Today, as we sit in our easy chairs, we are falling and failing, and we say, as Hillary did, “What difference does it make?”
    5. Each voice makes a difference. CK raised his voice. I raise mine in opposition to his public disrespect:
    6. As the old song said, “Give me ten men who are stout hearted men who will fight for the Right they adore; Start me with ten who are stout-hearted men and I’ll soon give you ten-thousand more . . .”

  7. Matt,

    I have been trying to find a home for this article I wrote (which cites your blog), but haven’t found any to bite yet, so I’ll post here. I have a slightly different take, but I agree with you:

    Colin Kaepernick Hits the Wrong Target

    I disagree with President Obama on many public policy issues. In some cases, vehemently. But given the visceral intensity behind some of my disagreements, I often feel it necessary to state explicitly that I respect President Obama as a man, husband, father, fellow human being, citizen of the United States, and, finally, as President of the United States. I extend this same respect to all people in the political discourse, whether it be candidates for office I support, candidates I dislike, candidates I ignore, or all American citizens who engage in the political discourse.

    There are sentiments and opinions and positions we all hold with varying degrees of factual and logical foundation to support us, passion to motivate us, and principle to gird us. The common denominator is we are participating members of a free society. As someone who has read my fair share of philosophy, I understand that freedom can be a complex and nuanced concept if we want to dig and analyze. But let’s just take it for granted that to live in a free society as we do in America is to enjoy the absence of general constraint on the free expression of what we think and believe. Free expression can spawn complications of misunderstanding and division, but even when we are dug into our tribes and factions and staunch positions, we are engaging in the kind of dynamic and fluid discourse of society that is one of the greatest checks against tyranny. We are human though, which means sometimes we lose sight of a basic respect we must have for our opponents and adversaries even when they hold ideas and positions we are inclined to designate as ‘crazy’ or ‘outrageous’ or ‘unpatriotic’ or whatever, a respect that is not only a matter of common decency but also a matter of obligation, a way to engage our opponents on terms conducive to the ultimate goal of bridging our divisions and disagreements in the interest of pursuing long-term effective policy that helps us build a more humane and progressive and safer society. I think it’s fair to say that many of us (certainly not all, and probably not most) are good decent people who try our best to make something of this life while we have it, though that’s not to say we are not also petty, self-centered creatures locked in whatever prisons of sentiment and prejudice in which life has seen fit to confine us.

    It may seem to follow that I should come out in support of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has generated much attention since his decision to kneel during the playing of the national anthem. As quoted by Georgetown sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson, Kaepernick says he is “going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change, and when there’s significant change – and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way it’s supposed to – I’ll stand.” His statement is broad and wide-ranging. It is also inherently vague about what constitutes a state of affairs where the flag ‘represents what it’s supposed to represent,’ as many people can have many opinions about what particular state of affairs would prevail when the flag ‘represents what it’s supposed to represent.’ Nevertheless, his statement appears to be motivated specifically by a concern about police brutality, in particular the shooting of innocent black civilians by police officers.

    This is a courageous act, as it pits him against shortsighted but powerful NFL executives, the conservative instincts of financially-beholden advertisers and sports agents, and the wrath of the ‘patriotic’ masses. It probably also ensures he will not be standing any time soon, given that these are highly-charged social issues which are deeply rooted and deeply complex and are probably not going to be ‘fixed’ anytime soon.

    I do not have an interest in joining critics of Colin Kaepernick who would call into question his patriotism. It has been said that ‘patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel’ (though I do not think this epigram necessarily implies that every patriot is a scoundrel, only that a scoundrel seeks refuge in patriotism). I am deeply sympathetic to those who criticize Kaepernick for wearing socks that depict cops as pigs, but I am also genuinely sympathetic to those, including President Obama, who declare that Kaepernick is within his rights to not stand as a form of protest. There is a strong and admirable history in America of black athletes giving voice to concerns about social justice. I think that’s a part of America’s history that makes it a great country. I appreciate Kaepernick for joining black athletes past and present who have stepped into the politically-charged limelight and sought to stimulate conversation on topics of great importance to the progress of American democracy.

    America has much to atone for. Slavery. Jim Crow. The legacies of institutional racism. Police brutality. And more. In this respect, it is like a great many countries. Like, for example, Turkey, which still has a hard time coming to terms with the Armenian genocide. Or Russia, where serfdom once found a home. Or Japan, whose imperial exploits rendered such atrocities as the Nanjing Massacre. Or South Africa, which in the early 90s emerged from a long and ugly history of apartheid.

    As I noted above, to live in a free society is to enjoy the absence of general constraint on the free expression of what we think and believe. So I would ask critics of Kaepernick to respect his right to express his opinions and not to attempt to silence him, but to voice their opinions with reason and calm, and perhaps request that Kaepernick expand more at length on the specific injustices that concern him, the kinds of specific policies he would like to see implemented to address his concerns, and the long-term outcomes he would like to see materialize. But I would also ask those who defend Kaepernick to respect my right to explain why I cannot support Kaepernick, and why I prefer to applaud the case of American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, an Army reservist, who stopped in the middle of his run down the runway to stand at attention because the anthem began to play.

    America has much to atone for, but it also has much to celebrate. It has a constitution that has endured for more than two centuries under a remarkably durable and effective system of checks and balances, a constitution which has provided the institutional framework within which various factions fighting on behalf of various interests have been able to pursue the causes of justice, however long they have taken to succeed. It survived a civil war that brought the end of slavery. It is a society that is prosperous and free and full of ongoing conversations about justice, the light of which never dies in spite of the inevitable cross winds of reaction and discord that are endemic to the human race. It spearheaded the effort to defeat catastrophic forces of evil in World War II. It won the Cold War.

    It is like a great many countries in this respect as well.

    In each country, each culture, each history, one will find a complicated legacy of achievements and failures. That is the universal fate of all nations, all cultures, and all histories. Humanity, in short, is imperfect. The story of humanity is wrought with compromised achievements. That is not to excuse the failures. But it also should not negate, or ignore, the successes. America is one of the great successes of humanity, in part because it is a country which, in the long run, is able to confront its own failures and shortcomings, a country in which the conversation of progress is always ongoing, however slow, however bumpy, and however much the stubborn tides of a diverse humanity seek to contaminate it.

    It is for this reason that I cannot support Colin Kaepernick. America as a country and a culture and a history is an amalgamation of both successes and failures. The national anthem (at least the first stanza) is sung as a symbol of its aspirations, and as with any national anthem, is worthy of respect and admiration. That does not mean one should ignore or belittle the country’s failures. America is a country built on the promises of freedom and justice for all. Those promises have rung hollow for black Americans for generations, including black Americans who served in the U.S. military in the Civil War, World War 1, and other wars. But what is true of those promises is that America is a country that has shown its capacity for self-examination and self-improvement over the course of its history, and is rightly criticized from within not because the ideals of justice and freedom to which it aspires are not worthy, but because those ideals have been denied to black Americans for so long.

    The flag and the anthem stand for a certain set of ideals and aspirations. Among them is freedom, including the freedom to protest as a way of drawing attention to how freedom has not always been accorded to black Americans. Kaepernick has chosen not to stand as his own form of expression and protest. I respect his right to do so. But I hope to be accorded the same respect in exercising my right not only to stand during the anthem, but to argue that his form of protest is misguided. This is not because I am deaf to the concerns about racial injustice in America. I have, for example, read and pondered a thoughtful essay on the Kaepernick affair by Professor Dyson, who, in arguing that ‘Kaepernick’s situation highlights just how little progress we’ve made in this country in confronting the brutal legacy of racism,’ distinguishes between patriotism and nationalism:

    The opposition to Kaepernick rests on a faulty premise and a confusion of terms: Many who oppose Kaepernick because of patriotism are really opposing him because of nationalism. There is a big difference between nationalism and patriotism. Nationalism is the uncritical celebration of one’s nation regardless of its moral or political virtue. It is summarized in the saying, “My country right or wrong.” If one has a problem with America, one is told to lump it or leave it, or to find another country that works better.

    Nationalism is a harmful belief that can lead a country down a dangerous spiral of arrogance, or off the precipice of political narcissism. Nationalism harbors the belief that no matter what one’s country does, it must be supported. If a nation practices racism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia or the like, it must be celebrated and accepted at all costs. Patriotism is a bigger, more uplifting virtue. Patriotism is the belief in the best values of one’s country, and the pursuit of the best means to realize those values. If the nation strays, then it must be corrected. The patriot is the person who, spotting the need for change, says so clearly and loudly, without hate or rancor. The nationalist is the person who spurns such correction and would rather take refuge in bigotry than fight it. It is the nationalists who wrap themselves in a flag and loudly proclaim themselves as patriots. That is dangerous, as glimpsed in Trump’s amplification of the worst racist and xenophobic sentiments in a generation. In the end, Trump is a nationalist, and Kaepernick is a patriot.

    This is useful distinction, and gives me pause in my criticism of Kaepernick. Certainly there are many who choose to ignore the failures of America in their blind rush to attack Kaepernick. But Dyson’s distinction is limiting. One is not necessarily either a patriot or a nationalist. Those who would like to see Kaepernick continue to respect the flag and anthem can be patriots who also engage in thoughtful critiques of America’s shortcomings while still celebrating its achievements. And just as there are ‘nationalists’ who lambaste Kaepernick while ignoring the failures of America, there are ‘patriots’ who support Kaepernick for highlighting the failures of America while refusing, or forgetting, to acknowledge the successes of America. Dyson’s generalization risks becoming a false dichotomy.

    The controversy Kaepernick has galvanized should not be about whether one is for or against America. I do not know Kaepernick, so I do not know if somewhere in his heart he harbors a hatred of America or a sincere desire to see America live up to its ideals. I also respect the conversation about racial justice that Kaepernick is trying to advance. But I believe the target of his action is misguided. I stand with those who are disillusioned with Kaepernick for refusing to honor symbols of the very ideal of free speech that he is exercising. As stated above, I disagree with President Obama on many policy matters. But I respect him as a man who holds the office of President of the United States. As bloggist Matt Connolly writes:

    The (Kaepernick) matter is not a matter of right but one of respect. When Obama enters a room people stand to show their respect. If someone sat would he (Obama) then want to engage in a deeper discussion with that person? When a judge enters a court or a priest enters to say a Mass, or a minister to take the pulpit, or a rabbi to intone the prayers, the people stand out of respect for the person and the office. No one has to stand but if one doesn’t he must expect that most of the other attendees will have little brook with him and not want to engage in a conversation over his ‘deeper concerns.’

    There are many ways to advance the conversation on progress. In a free society, those ways can seem almost limitless. There is the Black Lives Matter movement. There is a vibrant discourse among the literary classes and university academics to improve our understanding of socioeconomic racial disparities. Georgetown University has implemented a policy to give admission preference to the descendants of slaves. Meanwhile, Kaepernick is creating a media storm that will likely have more of an impact on him (good or bad) than it will have on ‘justice,’ while dishonoring the ideals and successes that the flag represents, and that the anthem is meant to celebrate. His protest is a muddled response to the issues he cares about, and serves more to antagonize than to engage. Instead of addressing specific injustices with concrete plans, like Georgetown is doing, he is targeting an anthem and a flag that represent the very ideal of freedom that allows him to raise his concerns.

    I don’t necessarily care for every line of the anthem. I love the first stanza, which is the only stanza usually sung at public events. But the third stanza includes a disturbing line: ‘No refuge could save the hireling and slave/From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.’ And the final stanza includes a line unsatisfactory for a nonbeliever like myself: ‘In God Is Our Trust.’ But does that mean I should not continue to stand at attention when I hear the anthem, or that I should refuse to honor the flag? That would be like refusing to use American currency because ‘In God We Trust’ is imprinted on every bill.

    The flag and the anthem are about more than one specific issue. They are symbols of ideals, even if those ideals are not always honored in the actions of an imperfect humanity. I honor them in order to show respect for a country in which the discourse on progress is able to continue. It is about respecting the institutions that guarantee one’s right to criticize the policies of those institutions. It is why I respect Barack Obama as President of the United States even if I think many of his policies are harmful to the United States. So I will continue to honor America’s flag and national anthem, and I will also exercise my right to support those athletes who do stand for the anthem, like Sam Kendricks, because while America has its failures, it has its achievements as well.

    1. 1. Matt and most have framed the issue as one of “Respect.”
      2. Your dichotomy, patriotism is good, nationalism is bad, is false.
      3. I don’t accept your definitions of Nationalism or Patriotism. A Nationalist’s focus is on his own country as opposed to Internationalists and Globalists.
      Both Nationalists and Patriots would say, “My country right or wrong, but when it’s wrong make it right.”
      4. Colin K a Patriot? Make me laugh. Patriots were those who put their life on the line in April 1775 on the Lexington Green and opposed the British Army. Remember Patriots’ Day! Before we had a Nation, Patriots fought against Loyalists and the British Empire. Patriots sacrificed something. CK has just made a spectacle of himself.
      5. Please don’t plaster disrespect with a patina of patriotism.
      6. At the end of your essay, you reveal your true colors, sticking out are your politically left-wing shirttails.
      7. Otherwise, you covered the waterfront.

      1. Bill, I was quoting Michael Dyson. Patriotism/nationalism was not my distinction, and not my words. I wrote in the next paragraph that Dyson draws a false dichotomy. I’m with you, my friend. I usually like what you have to say on this forum, so I say with all due respect that you might want to read it again a little more carefully. I have been quite dismayed by the Kaepernick affair.

        1. Of course, it may be that it wasn’t clear I was quoting Dyson because there are not quotation marks around it, and it seems the link to the Dyson article was lost, as were other links, when I posted the comment.

      2. Ok, I will go with this is an issue of respect or lack there of and again Bill you are spot on and it does bother me that these players are showing such a level of disrespect but it bothers me even more that the NFL has allowed it to continue in the name of free speech. I ask everyone here how many of you have a job where you signed an agreement that you will not speak ill or slander the company you work for. That you will at all times while at work and while not at work uphold a positive image that does not bring embarrassment to your company ? of course it will be written in lawyer speak but that is essentially what it says. every company that I have worked for since I have been in a position of representation has required me to. And the NFL has required the same of their employees so as Bill has pointed out why has the NFL allowed this to continue while it has so obviously brought controversy to the field. I am making no opinion about what Colin is saying only the forum in which he is saying it. I respect with the highest regard an individuals rights to speak their mind and I encourage it but use the proper forum. The flag or those who fought for the right to fly it did not commit the offenses Colin charges so why does he disrespect them to gain attention for his cause. If his cause has merit it should stand on its own and I am pretty sure a celebratory such as a pro quarterback can find a more appropriate venue to speak on his cause. If he would present with a little respect I know that I would take him more seriously. So yes it is all about respect !

  8. NFL players are not gladiators. Those who are about to die don’t have to salute the symbol of empire. Athletes are entertainers, we should afford them the same rights of self-expression we give to actors, and, other artists. Clooney, and, Voight, at opposite ends of the Hollywood political spectrum, support their political sympathies, and, social views, vociferously. Why can’t football players have a political perspective?

    Perhaps, black players should just stifle their opinions in deference to peti-bourgeois conservative white sensibilities. Sad to think, it’s all still about race.

    If the Stars and Stripes flies over prisons where 40% of young black males reside, why should they not revile it as the symbol of their involuntary servitude? The flag does not have a single unitary meaning. It can also seen as a banner of oppression
    fully as abhorrent as any rag adorned with the swastika, or, hammer and scythe. Graduates of the prison industrial experience learn to see “Old Gory” in a different light. In that cold illumination, it’s the man’s banner, the master’s rag, a symbol of slavery.

    Doug:

    Do you have any thoughts on the prison-industrial complex, and, the nature of modern day slavery?

    1. At least the inmates are paid in US prisons, plus ‘three hots and a cot.’ I wonder what they are paid in prisons in other places, like Ryadh’s Ulaysha facility.

      More interesting questions:

      The current issue of the (August 31, 2015)New Yorker reports that, according to Paris-based Iranian sociologist Farhad Khosrokhavar, “of France’s 64,000 prisoners, up to 60% are Muslim. (Muslims are thought to compose only 8% of the population.)”

      Based on data from 2011, Pew Research Center estimated that Muslims made up 9% of the 1,598,780 state and federal prisoners in the United States. Pew also reported that as of 2010, about 0.8% of the U.S. population was Muslim, up from 0.6% in 1990. Data allegedly provided by the federal Bureau of Prisons reported that, as of 1997, Muslims made up 7.27% of the federal prison population.

    2. “Why should they not revile it as the symbol of their involuntary servitude? ”

      Involuntary servitude?

      With Thirteenth Amendment, a sharp exception was carved out. Section 1 of the Amendment provides:

      “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

      Simply put: Incarcerated persons have no constitutional rights in this arena; they can be forced to work as punishment for their crimes.

      If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime, as we used to say.

      1. Henry:
        Lenin said there were no revolutionists worth spit who hadn’t done hard time. There is no “we.” There’s just you and us.

        1. Khalid:
          1. Who is “you”? Who is “us”?
          2. “Hard time” in a Russian gulag or Nazi concentration camp was a little bit harder than a stint in an American federal prison. Ever consider the mortality rate in Stalin’s gulags or Hitler’s “death camps”?
          3. Khalid, you equate the Nazi Swastika and Stalin’s Hammer and Sickle with the Stars and Stripes. Yet you constantly counsel your critics to “educate” themselves. It seems you may have skipped a few “world history” classes.

    3. “Prisons where 40% of young black males reside…” Not in the ball park, not even within the confines of a Texas ranch. A guess as to what you do not understand might be that c. 40% of all prisoners in the US are Blacks of all ages. Your extreme carelessness with facts matches Hillary Clinton’s open borders handling of America’s most sensitive security information. She is a bad role model. Mr. Google is willing to help you when in doubt or just simply fact checking.

    4. Khalid: Athletes and actors do freely voice their political opinions. In the middle of a play on Broadway, however, an actor doesn’t spit on the flag or shout out “Stop the war.”
      2. In Church, take off your hat. Cover your mouth when you sneeze. Be silent in the library or speak softly. When the National Anthem is played, stand. Show some simple respect. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
      3. After the show, actors and athletes can gripe, wail and moan to their hearts’ content. During the show, show some respect. Let’s all sing it: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

    1. In 2008, Louis Farrakhan, the ever controversial Boston-bred social-political activist, said this:”Sen. Obama is not the Messiah for sure, but anytime he gives you a sign of uniting races, ethnic groups, ideologies, religions and makes people feel a sense of oneness, that’s not necessarily Satan’s work, that is I believe the work of God.”

  9. I read somewhere that about 30% of black men will go to jail/prison during their lifetime; about 15% of Hispanic men; and about 5% of white men.
    I read that the current male prison population is about 37% blacks. The female population is about 48% white, 22% black.
    I read that today, about 1 in 15 black men are in prison/jail; one in 35 Hispanic men; and 1 in 103 white men.
    The good news is that about 94-99% of men are not in prison.

  10. wa-llahi! Today is the annual commemoration of Ghazwa Manhattan, ma-sha-Allah. I wonder what historians will say of it in fifty years? Will it’s vivid memory fade with time, lessen with the death of each witness, as, has, the communal recollection of Pearl Harbor? When we have only film to remind us, will the pain be less visceral, will we achieve enough objectivity to analyse it sans emotion as a historical event?
    Someday, as with Pearl Harbor, the Ghazwa will be understood as a military action, rather than, a crime against humanity. Unlike the Japanese carrier strike of ’42, technically speaking, 911 wasn’t actually a sneak attack. UBL had declared war on American interests at home, and, abroad, in 1994. The West didn’t take him seriously. I remember reading that in an issue of Time from ’94. I was with two friends at the time, Hamdi Ayyash and Rachid Amad. The article was accompanied by photos, one of which, was the famous full length shot of the Shaykh in robes wearing his trade-mark enigmatic smile. Rachid, carefully, tore out the picture, and, taped it to the inside cover of my Arabic text-book. “Great things will come of this man,” he whispered. There was a fire roaring deep behind Rachid’s eyes. He grinned broadly. I clearly recollect the white of his chicklets. Controlled movement broke the moment with a harsh clanging of bells.
    That was my introduction to the Shaykh. Being of curious nature, and, constantly reminded by the photo in my book, I followed his words and movements over the years. On the morning of the Ghazwa, school bells announced the tragic event. A student opened the classroom door, I could hear weeping in the corridor. Kids were trudging down the hallway in shock. I made my way through the milling crowd toward the sound of a TV coming from a neighboring classroom. As I entered the room, a collective groan rose from the crowd clustered in front of the TV. The second plane had crashed into WTC. I watched as smoke and fire consumed the buildings, and, the towers collapsed. Turning the fly of my old textbook, looking down at that Mona Lisa smile, I knew it was him.
    But, why, I asked myself, should such a kindly looking fellow want to incinerate three thousand human beings? Could there be a reasoning mind behind this bloody act?
    What did the Shaykh want to achieve? What point was he proving?

    Did someone in al-Qaeeda reason that by striking at the wealthy one percent and their economic infrastructure, the mujahideen could hurt America where it lived? WTC offered the most inviting target with more millionaires per square-foot (and, even some billionaires), than any other possible target location. The AQ targeting team believed that by striking the haut-bourgeoisie they would be attacking those who had gained the most from the neo-liberal neo-colonial projects of post WWII America. By attacking the physical existence of the”wealth creators,” AQ was announcing that there would be no safe environment to enjoy the riches squeezed from the Mideast.

    Is that true? Did history so transpire? Beats me. I don’t have any wealth from anywhere to enjoy, and, do not know of any “wealth creators” except my goats. As I am deep in the final throes of rustication, I can think of little else. Sub-han-Allah, I have a old dairy barn full of books I’ve only read twice.

    I do not hate America. I’m ambivalent. Trump, or, Clinton, it matters not. We’re headed into chaos, either way. When it comes, it will come like death, from outside and by surprise (Sartre B&N).

    1. Khalid:
      Glad to hear you don’t hate America. Someone said, “Hating takes too much out of us.”
      For your listening pleasure in your rustic lifestyle I recommend Mascagni’s Intermezzo “Rustic Chivalry”; for your library I recommend 1. Greene’s “The Power & the Glory” the story of a whisky priest in atheistic Mexico during its revolution; 2. Bernanos, “The Diary of a Country Priest” a tale of a fallible intellectual and flawed cleric who discovers at the end that grace suffuses all; and 3. Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus” Camus concluded Sisyphus was “happy” to push that rock uphill throughout all eternity. Sisyphus somehow reminded me of that devout Buddhist laborer whose life’s work was breaking stones and gathering sticks and who after years of spiritual practice finally reached Nirvana: When asked what he did after achieving Nirvana, he said: “I break stones and pick up sticks.”
      2. I too at times condemn my country’s excessive imperialism, interventionism and militarism. The USA is not perfect. It is and has been a force for good in the world.
      3. I remember awaking on 9-11 in Moro Bay California. I was with my lifelong friend Paul H. Paul is a Vietnam Vet. Our lifelong friends living in California were Steve D. (another Vietnam Vet) in Victorville, Bob S. (served in the Army during Vietnam) in Atascadero, and Charlie W. (National Guard) in Calistoga.
      We, too, thought of Pearl Harbor. Then we heard a radio announcer say that 50,000 people may have been in and around those buildings and he speculated that casualties could exceed the 22,000 killed and wounded at the battle of Antietam, the single most American casualties in one day’s battle in American history.
      The 9/11 attack saw nearly 3000 killed. Pearl Harbor: about 2,400 killed. Antietam:about 3,600 killed.
      The horror!

  11. ugh!

    High School Football Players Take Knee for Anthem Across Country
    byCommon Dreams staff
    43 Comments

    US soccer star Megan Rapinoe knelt during the national anthem before her team’s September 4th game in a show of solidarity with San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Rapinoe told American Soccer Now that the gesture was a “little nod to Kaepernick and everything that he’s standing for right now. “I think it’s actually pretty disgusting the way he was treated and the way that a lot of the media has covered it and made it about something that it absolutely isn’t. We need to have a more thoughtful, two-sided conversation about racial issues in this country.”
    High school football players across the US followed San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s lead and declined to stand for the national anthem Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

    It appears that Kaepernick has started a movementwith his silent protest during the national anthem during a pre-season game on August 26. Kaepernick said his “taking a knee” was to protest racial oppression and police brutality in the United States

    common dreams dot org

  12. https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/8qwpm4/2015-nfl-report

    NFL Players may not stand up for the national anthem but they’ll sure as shit stand up to receive injections of Human Growth Hormone & Anabolics in their butt cheeks!

    I love the hypocrisy that the NFL has. People have a right to express their beliefs. That’s what I stand for and that’s what this country stands for.. I also have the freedom to share my belief. If NFL players wants to bring awareness to the injustices the USA has, then why don’t they quit the NFL? From the owners to the players, the NFL is filled with violent thugs, from all races & ages. Many of them have been accused and/or convicted of rape & assault, yet they still get their jobs back AFTER serving a sentence.

    Look at Michael Vick. He ran a dog fighting ring & knew that members of it killed dogs. He served his time, then he got his job back. What a respectable message to send to the world!

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