Blaming America First

On January 20th I returned to the National Mall for the second Women’s March. While still significant in size, it was a lot smaller than last year and I decided to spend some more time wandering around. In addition to the Women’s March, there were several smaller groups that latched on to the event. There was an Impeach Trump March, a small contingent of the Libertarian Party, a group from the previous day’s March for Life, a “social justice a cappella,” and something about Bolivia I couldn’t quite understand.

But the one group that really grabbed my attention was Code Pink.

Code Pink was founded in late 2002 primarily as an anti-war organization, but you could be forgiven for thinking it’s real purpose is to be anti-American.

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#america, #protest, #war

United Nations Bites the Hand that Feeds It

Most of the world’s governments oppose the United States recognizing the self evident fact that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. To protest moving our embassy, they have chosen the most ineffectual means of affecting change ever devised: a vote in the United Nations.

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#america, #foreign-policy, #israel

Stand for the Anthem 

Debates raged on Sunday about the decision by many NFL players to kneel for the national anthem, and the field is littered with the bodies of massacred straw men. So let’s get some of the easy stuff out of the way.

Of course the players have the right to kneel during the anthem. That is indisputable. Kneeling during the anthem is a form of political protest and I would absolutely oppose anyone who says they shouldn’t have that right. But that is not the question. The question is should they kneel.

Second, criticizing the kneelers is not the same as supporting what Trump said. I’m not going to quote the president here because this is a family friendly site, but the chief executive should not call for private businesses to fire their employees. It was wrong when Democrats went after Chick-Fil-A, it’s wrong when Trump goes after the NFL.

That being said, instead of taking the high road, many players decided to double down on a protest that disrespects America. The national anthem does not represent Trump, it represents our country. If you want to register disapproval with Trump, the national anthem is the wrong venue to do so.

Finally, some have pointed to the US flag code to obfuscate the argument by saying it’s the people who wear the flag on their clothing who are really disrespectful, not those who kneel. That would be a great gotcha moment if the debate was over adhering to a flag code most people have not heard of. But it’s not. It may be in violation of the flag code, but wearing a shirt or hat with the US flag on it is designed to show support for the flag and for America. Kneeling during the anthem does the opposite.

So let’s walk through step by step why so many people are upset over the anthem protest.

The Star Spangled Banner is not just any song. It is the US national anthem, and as such it represents America the same way the flag does. It represents not just the soldiers manning Fort McHenrey in 1814, but also the Minutemen who guarded Bunker Hill in 1775, the Union troops who repelled Pickett’s Charge in 1863, the GIs who stormed the beaches of Normandy in 1944, and the soldiers I know who patrolled Iraqi villages. It represents the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that “all men are created equal,” and the abolitionists, suffragettes, and civil rights leaders who fought to uphold that revolutionary idea. It represents a country that, while not perfect, has done more than any other to spread the message of political and economic freedom to the world. It represents the 320+ million Americans who make up this great country.

As such, we treat the national anthem with respect. Whenever the anthem is played at any event, an announcer generally asks everyone to stand, remove any hat they may be wearing, and place their right hand over their heart. All of this is done as a sign of respect to the anthem and by extension to the country it represents.

Before the anthem is played at football games, fans are usually sitting in their seats and players are standing on the sidelines. When the anthem starts, fans stand up to show respect. For players who are already standing to kneel means they have decided to make an effort to not show respect for America. Make no mistake about it, going out of your way to avoid showing respect is a sign of disrespect.

The players who kneel are actively disrespecting our country.

For evidence of their thinking, lets go to the man who started this ordeal. When he began this protest over a year ago, Colin 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.” This is not a case of players simply taking advantage of the biggest stage they have to make a political point; the intentional disrespect of America is an integral part of the protest.

NFL players have plenty of opportunities to promote political causes. Their celebrity guarantees if they held a press conference or organized a rally it would get attention. Many of them are frequently interviewed for TV, radio, newspapers, and websites; they could talk about their concerns then instead of how impressive they are or the product they are paid to promote. But no. They have chosen the one moment reserved to honoring the United States.

Kneeling during the national anthem cannot be done surgically. It is not possible to only oppose what you don’t like while disrespecting a symbol of the whole nation. By kneeling during the anthem they are not just saying they don’t like racism or police brutality. What the country hears is that they don’t like America.

America is not now, was never, and will never be perfect. But we have done more good for this world than any other country. America began the modern democratic movement. America has invented products and systems that have saved tens of millions of lives and vastly improved hundreds of millions more. For close to a century, America has been the worldwide bulwark of democracy and liberty. Over the course of our history we have developed a society in which the adopted son of immigrants can found a world changing company in his garage and the black son of a single white mother can become president.

America is a country worth honoring, and we should all stand for her anthem.

#america, #patriotism, #protest

America – The Best There’s Ever Been

Let’s start this off with a simple fact: America is the greatest country that ever was or will be. Qarth can suck it.

America is, without question, the richest, most powerful, most influential country the world has ever known. But more than that, modern society would be impossible without the United States. I am currently writing this post on my phone, which would not have been possible without America. An American did not just invent the specific iPhone I am using, but the genre of cell phones itself. Nor is the cell phone the only American invention that has transformed our daily lives. Far from it.

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#america, #patriotism

American Exceptionalism

“Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy.” ― Margaret Thatcher

American exceptionalism is a concept that is easy to misunderstand. When President Obama was asked if he believed in American exceptionalism, he famously responded “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” This is how many people understand that term, as just another expression of patriotism; that saying one believes in American exceptionalism is just a louder way for an American to say they are proud of their country. This is false.

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#america, #democracy, #government, #patriotism, #principles

Trump Slanders American Soldiers

Conservatives have rightly denounced a long history of liberals excusing dictators and their atrocities by claiming America is no better. In 1971, future US Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry claimed American soldiers were ravaging South Vietnam “in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan.” In the last decade it has become fashionable for some of the more extreme elements on the left to compare Republicans to the Taliban, because both say religion is important. The wanton, indiscriminate murder on the part of terrorist groups is excused because American soldiers accidentally kill some civilians in unfortunate accidents.

Sadly, this kind of moral relativism is far from over. So, who is the liberal currently defending dictators by condemning America? Donald Trump.

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#america, #military, #putin, #trump

The American Experiment Continues

Approximately half of America is excited. Approximately half of America is disappointed or worried. This is normal. It happens every four years in this country, and that right there is something to celebrate.

We may be used to it, but it is worth remembering that the peaceful transfer of power is a historical aberration. Throughout most of human history, and in much of the world today, political power is only transferred after the death of the previous leader, be it by natural causes or violence.
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#2016-election, #america, #democracy, #government, #trump

American Patriotism

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” – Harry S Truman


In college, my favorite professor was Prof. Mitchell. So much so that I took three different classes with her. Like most college professors, she is a liberal and opposed the Iraq War. But she never tried to impose her views on the class. In fact, she would make a point of calling on me so that the class would hear conservative ideas. This is not relevant to the topic at hand, but I feel obliged to make it clear I am not attacking her in any way.

Like I said, I took three classes with Prof. Mitchell on three different subjects. But in all three classes, she brought up a poem by Wilfred Owen. The poem ends with what Owen calls “The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori.” Translation: it is a lie that “it is sweet and right to die for one’s country.”

I thought about that poem a few years later as I prepared for my first tour in Iraq. It is a strange thing for a healthy 24 year old to contemplate his own mortality. But in doing so, I fortified my belief that it is not a lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori.
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#america, #military, #patriotism, #principles