Our nation honors war. Our nation loves sports. Our nation glorifies winning. Our national anthem strikes all three chords at the same time. Truthout opinion piece written by Luke Cyphers and Ethan Trex for Sports Illustrated
Colin Kaepernick stirred national outrage recently by sitting down or kneeling during the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner,” America’s national anthem.
Typical reactions by purported patriots: “Ridiculous! Un-American! Heresy! Treason!
Kick him out of the country! Kill him!”
Ostentatious patriotism is absurd but sadly has no limits to many American ignoramuses.
Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, had an answer to his caustic critics: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses people of color.” He denounced “police brutality and racial injustice in America.”
He’s so right on all counts. Hip, hip hooray for Kap!
As Andy Barbano, Sparks Tribune columnist, wrote: “Kaepernick is highly regarded in Reno and not just for his football heroics at the University of Nevada, Reno. He was involved in local issues and returned several times to speak of his faith at a Reno church. He is a man of principal.”
The flag and the anthem have become religious symbols beyond criticism to the booboisie.
But Kaepernick’s protest raises a larger question: why is such phony patriotism mandatory at sports events? Why is it part of the pre-game sports ritual or sung during the seventh-inning stretch? It’s even sung in the minor leagues of baseball, at high school sports events and kids’ little leagues.
The anthem is sung reverently with right hands over the heart. It is often accompanied by color guards and fighter jets zooming over playing fields. Flags, some ridiculously large, are displayed by some fanatics. Color guards march.
The National Football League is militaristic under Commissioner Roger Goodell, czar of the most powerful sports leaque in America. The Defense Department pays NFL teams millions of dollars for the right to have military personnel to stage homecoming events and unfurl the U.S. flag,
Luke Cyphers and Ethan Trex rightly ask: “What does an antagonistic, difficult-to-sing, 204-year-old tune have to do with playing ball?”
Answer: absolutely nothing. Nor does all the other folderol.
The anthem itself is warlike. Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star Spangled Banner” after witnessing a bloody battle in Baltimore during the War of 1812.
Wikipedia accurately calls the song “the symbol of American history.” A small example from the last of the original four-stanza lyrics:
“May the heave’n rescued land / Praise the power that hath made and preserved us (as) a nation… / Then conquer we must….”
So much American history reeks of war and conquering. It should not be sung at sports events.
CAMPUS HECKLER’S VETO ABSURD
Colleges and universities are wielding heckler’s vetoes to insure that no student, group or cause Is offended.
These so-called “safety zones” are necessary to keep campuses free of offensive people, proposals and ideas—the absolute antithesis of what college is for.
Jonathan Turley, law professor at Georgetown University, pointed out examples of “political correctness” in a recent column in USA Today:
• DePaul University allowed a handful of student protesters to stop a conservative from speaking.
• Rohini Sethi, student body vice president at Houston University, was suspended for posting on social media her opinion that “all lives matter.”
• Southern University student Emily Faz endured stalking and death threats for posting on Facebook criticism of the group Black Lives Matter.
Turley concluded sadly: “We are raising a generation of hypersensitive students who subvert the very idea of what a university means: academic freedom to express controversial ideas and deeds no matter how despicable and hateful.
OBSCENE NEWSPAPER PHOTOS
The Sparks Tribune and the Reno Gazette-Journal ran their annual obscene pictures on the front pages of their newspapers during the recent West Nugget Rib Cook-off in downtown Sparks.
The world champion of obscenity, Joey Chestnut, was shown stuffing his face, the meat dangling out of his mouth repulsively.
Chestnut gulped 6.9 pounds of ribs in 12 minutes to win the gluttony title for the ninth time. He and the two newspaper editors and publishers should be ashamed.
In sharp contrast, the public enjoyed the Cook-off, eating sensibly and chatting amiably with friends and acquaintances.
The rib-cooking firms come from as far away as Montana and Texas to compete. The people’s choice for first place: Joe Alexander from Rochester, Ind. Alexander said his grillers won because they “know how to grill and when to take the ribs off.”
It may help that Jamaican rum is added to their sauce!
Jake Highton is an emeritus journalism professor from the University of Nevada, Reno. (firstname.lastname@example.org)