The United States was born of rebellion against a distant crown. America fought a civil war to free slaves. So much of the progress made in our history stems from rebellion. Women rebelled to win the vote. African-Americans rebelled to end Jim Crow and win civil rights. Disobedience is woven into the fabric of our nation as surely as fifty stars are sewn into our flag.
So when the President calls on NFL players to be fired for taking a knee in protest, when the Interior Secretary says 30 percent of his staff is “not loyal to the flag,” when those protesting against racism and Nazism are equated with said racist Nazis – all this is utterly un-American.
The current administration would like us all to be loyal to the flag, but they have no idea what that truly means. They think that this means standing for the national anthem. They think it means accepting the word of the administration without question, hence the demonization of journalists. They think it means offering un-earned respect and, yes, subservience.
They’re wrong. So incredibly, egregiously wrong.
Protest is American. The Olympians raised a fist, the NFL takes a knee, the NBA opts to work for social change instead of kowtowing to a narcissist. Americans battled their brethren to preserve the Union and free slaves. Women marched for the vote. Rosa Parks refused to move. Dr. King told us his dream. Ferguson reminds us we have so much ground left to cover. Charlottesville reminds us that we must stand guard against the creeping danger of racism and Nazism.
But they don’t want that now. Not when they’re in power.
Our current President showed zero respect for his predecessor by insinuating – without evidence – that he was not American, a baldly racist ploy to trump up (pun intended) his own ambitions. Now in office, he demands the same respect he failed to give and, moreso, has failed to earn in office.
He accused Barack Obama of playing too much golf, but has spent at least a third of his time in office at his own properties, fully a quarter of his time at his golf resorts.
He accused Hillary Clinton of endangering the nation by using private emails for government work; at least five current and former Trump White House staffers, including members of his family, have used private emails for government work. No big deal, according to his spokesperson.
But we know this, of course. We know Trump’s word is about as trustworthy as a wooden nickel. All of this – his reaction to Charlottesville, his whole-cloth invention of the NFL controversy, his calls for patriotism and honor when he has neither – is just a façade, a show for the rubes whose patriotism is nothing more than sports fandom. He wants us all to care about which side we’re on, to divide us into winners and losers, rather than focusing on what it really means to love our country, to be patriots, to participate in our democracy.
Meanwhile, the GOP tries and tries to take millions of people off healthcare – thankfully, with little success, and due in no small part to Americans engaging in the time-honored, patriotic act of protest. They’re demonizing immigrants for taking jobs and committing crime, whereas our nation is near full employment and immigrant crime rates are lower than those of native-born Americans. They’re furthering an agenda that would continue to put more money in the pockets of the rich and cement a permanent American underclass, denying the American Dream to millions.
People in Puerto Rico – and yes, dear God, Puerto Ricans are American citizens – are suffering without food, potable water and electricity in the wake of hurricanes. The current President, though, focused on the flag and the anthem this weekend. He is Nero without even a fiddle to cover for his breathtaking inadequacies.
Just watch the reality show. Never mind the suffering of millions from lack of healthcare, hurricane relief, a living wage, the right to speak freely and to demand government transparency. Never mind all that. Just watch the dancing bear.
There’s a Russia segue in that, but honestly, this post is long enough as is.
The President and the GOP want to deny our very birthright – our right to rebel. More than a flag or a song, rebellion and protest is in our national DNA. If enough of us embrace that birthright, they know they’re screwed.
So rise up. Rebel. Protest. America is slowly turning into an oligarchy while they distract us with siren songs of false patriotism. Don’t let them. Call your reps. March. Donate. Support local politicians who remember our rebellious birthright. Throw out the bums in the Senate and House. Speak up.
For our country, and for my daughter…