Written September 28, 2016     

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© 2016 Bob Lonsberry


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Stop playing the anthem.

At football games and basketball games and other sporting events, let's just stop playing the national anthem.

Some idiots have turned it into a doormat, have decided that drawing attention to themselves is more important than showing love for the country, and we should take away the opportunity.

As Jesus said, you shouldn't cast your pearls before swine, and you shouldn't create an opportunity for the basest among you to desecrate your nation and the song that represents it.

To most of us, the national anthem is sacred. That's why we stand and put our hands over our hearts. That's why we take off our hats and, if we are veterans, render the hand salute. All across America, for generations, that song has spoken for love of country, and the fact that we are one nation indivisible.

The anthem has been a fixture at American sporting events since the First World War, when it was played almost as a lark, but instantly galvanized a nation that still believed in patriotism. It has been a nice display of unity between competing teams and fans, a moment to stop and stand before a game to show that we are one.

And an opportunity to teach and remind the importance of love of country.

That means different things for different people. For some, it brings to mind military service, and those who perform it. Those who have perished for us, and those who have sacrificed for us. For some, the anthem is a reminder of the incredible blessing it is for any person to live in this nation of liberty and prosperity, the home of freedom of conscience and pursuit of happiness.

For most of the people in a stadium or arena, the playing of the anthem is a beautiful, loving and unifying thing.

But somebody has decided to piss in the punch.

An inconsequential man on a football team decided to go a different way, and the power of his bad example has attracted weak-minded followers in the professional, collegiate and high school ranks. A smattering of attention-seeking football players across the nation has become a media fixation and the anthem has become the new Confederate battle flag.

Disrespecting the anthem has become a statement of disapproval by those who condemn a nation they describe as being something akin to the Third Reich. A mythology of systemic black oppression is asserted and those who subscribe to it demonstrate their view by disrespecting the anthem.

As basketball season looms, various athletes talk about their chance in their season to make their statement.

And the reporters eat it up.

Never mind that you'll have 106 men comprising two NFL teams, and just three or four of them will disrespect the flag, those three or four are the focus of every lens and microphone. The other hundred men, most with their hands over their hearts, all standing as a sign of respect, are ignored. Their views -- their patriotism -- not making it to the evening news.

And the anthem becomes a token of controversy.

It is exploited by those with an agenda or an ego to advance.

And it becomes not a song of unification, but of division.

It demands people take sides on the gathering racial firestorm, it delineates and divides people in a visible and public way. And it angers tremendously those for whom the anthem is a sacred song of a blessed nation.

What was intended to bring us together, has been selfishly perverted into something that pushes us apart.

So let's stop playing it.

Let's save the anthem for situations and people who hold it dear. Let's take it out of the hands of people who use it to wipe their political asses.

Let's not cast our pearl before swine.

- by Bob Lonsberry © 2016

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