By Gery L. Deer
Deer in Headlines
In my nearly half-century as an American citizen, born and raised, I’ve always stood during the playing of the national anthem. As a high school band nerd, we were given little choice on Friday nights since our job was to play it while standing at attention on the football field.
It seems, however, that many Americans, particularly on the left, have lost respect for the anthem, and the country. I’ve even heard some people say outright that they’re not patriots. Although I understand their disenchangment with the current political environment, I can’t agree with their extremism. I will always be in support of our country, even if sometime that means criticizing it.
It is the honorable duty of every American to challenge bad decisions made by those we send to represent us in Washington. But I think many have lost the distinction between honorable challenge and outright disrespect.
Regardless of who is president or whether I agree with his or her politics, I will pay respect to the office. I don’t have to like or support the individual to respect the position, and that should be a constant.
I agree that formal protest often requires some level of shock value to be effective, but burning the flag or refusing to stand during our national anthem does little more than show disrespect and hatred. While you have every right to protest however you like in this country, within reason and without violence, flag burning and resistance to respectful behavior only fuels the arguments of the challenged.
Additionally, when a celebrity disrespects the country claiming personal protest, what they’re really doing is trying to get the spotlight on them for a minute. That’s not only tacky it’s disgraceful. It doesn’t make them look like a champion of justice but just another publicity hound.
If the media would ignore them, it would stop. But the media seems to like this kind of person more every day so these malcontents see a way to get some press.
But for the rest of us, honorable challenge shouldn’t mean wanton disrespect for our freedoms and those who came before us to secure them. So how should we show our displeasure with the status quo? For starters, make sure you vote!
I keep hearing people say, “I’m not voting for anyone this time… blah blah blah.” Well, if you’re going to sit home and do nothing, you deserve what you get. The millions around the world who envy our most basic of rights would slap you silly, and rightfully so. Our elections aren’t perfect, but certainly not as rigged as the conspiracies proclaim.
You can also join a group, foundation or lobbyist organization (a non-violent movement of some kind) that works toward change related to whatever causes you see fit. Suffragettes in Great Britain at the turn of the century had a great saying, “Deeds not words.” Your actions make the difference. Stop posting your discontent on social media and get out and do something about it.
I try to do what I can within the confines of this column every week. My intention is never to change anyone’s mind or try to argue in favor of something, but rather to get my readers to think for themselves. I present the information, occasionally with my opinion attached, but usually without.
If there is something with which I seriously disagree, such as this idiotic “protest” movement of not standing for the Star Spangled Banner, I’m happy to say so. But I also participate in organizations I think actually do some good in the world. That’s the best any of us can do.
Just keep in mind that a few minutes of media scrutiny is not what affects change or gets the attention of those who make the decisions in our country. You have to actually do something of substance and value for your fellow citizens. That doesn’t mean setting cars on fire and looting after a police shooting. Hate changes nothing.
In America, at least for now, peaceful resistance, honorable challenge and respectful protest will go farther than any media stunt. So for Pete’s sake, stand up. You’re not helping anyone with some passive aggressive tantrum.
Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. More at www.deerinheadlines.com.