Patriots and Protesters Should Take a Knee for the Constitution

Photo by Kate Ter Haar | CC BY 2.0

“Seems like in the past 15 years or so the idea of patriotism has changed some. More polarized, more tied to political or ideological views. I’ve never seen patriotism or the flag connected to either; I see the flag more as the symbol of a nation that allows the freedom to express those ideas. That alone deserves my respect.”

— Macy Moore, U.S. Marine

By all means, let’s talk about patriotism and President Trump’s call for “respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem.”

At a time when the American flag adorns everything from men’s boxers and women’s bikinis to beer koozies, bandannas and advertising billboards (with little outcry from the American public), and the National Anthem is sung by Pepper the Parrot during the Puppy Bowl, this conveniently timed outrage over disrespect for the country’s patriotic symbols rings somewhat hollow, detracts from more serious conversations that should be taking place about critical policy matters of state, and further divides the nation and ensures that “we the people” will not present a unified front to oppose the police state.

First off, let’s tackle this issue of respect or lack thereof for patriotic symbols.

As the U.S. Supreme Court has made clear, Americans have a right to abstain from patriotic demonstrations (West Virginia State Board of Ed. v. Barnette, 1943) and/or actively protest that demonstration, for example, by raising one’s fist during the Pledge…

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