It was 202 years ago yesterday that Francis Scott Key saw the sun rise over Fort McHenry. In the midst of the carnage, he saw a single flag waving in the breeze.
He realized through dawn's early light that the sun was rising, not setting on victory---and freedom.
He quickly wrote down his thoughts and called his poem, "The Defense of Fort McHenry"---we know it as the "Star Spangled Banner"---our national anthem.
It ends with a question, rather than a statement: "Does that star spangled banner still wave or' the land of the free and the home of the brave?"
High school athletes and others are now following the lead of high paid, multi-millionaire athletes in finding ways to protest public pride and allegiance to America, refusing to honor our Flag and our National Anthem, while tens of millions watch in person and on television.
Some thoughts on Pride, Prejudice, and the so-called Protest.
Francis Scott Key wrote that he had observed the American flag was still there because of the "rocket's red glare" and the "bombs bursting in air."
It was Thomas Jefferson who noted that liberty is sustained by the blood of tyrants and patriots---there is always conflict in the struggle for freedom.
Even our eternal freedom was established on a cross by the blood and death of a Perfect Human---God in the flesh.
Jefferson commented in a letter to James Madison regarding "Shay's Rebellion" (June 30, 1787), "I hold it that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing."
Shay's Rebellion is the name given to a series of protests in 1786 and 1787 by American farmers against state and local enforcement of tax collections and judgments for debt.
The protesting farmers were crushed by federal authorities in the winter of 1787, and although by all accounts the protest never seriously threatened the stability of the nation, proponents of so-called "Constitutional reform" seized the opportunity as justification for revising or replacing the Articles of Confederation, with Shay's Rebellion figuring prominently in the debates over the framing and ratification of the Constitution.
The federal government over-reacted. They were wrong.
There is a time for everything.
However, the government should not react, as some are suggesting, to the current "protest" against our National Anthem and our Flag, but the public must "respond."
It was Calvin Coolidge who said, "Don't expect to build up the weak, by tearing down the strong."
The secular, so-called "Progressive" is obsessed with tearing down the strong, and they rationalize their actions by claiming to help the "weak."
That's called socialism. It ultimately never works for the people. It always works to the benefit of those who rule.
Colin Kaepernick, multimillionaire second-string quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, explains what is at the heart of the protest he started: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
He and all those who are following his lead are seeking equality. Right?
Although Colin was raised by a middle-class white family (he is bi-racial) his birth mother had some harsh words for her son on Twitter. She tweeted, "There's ways to make change w/o disrespecting & bringing shame to the very country & family who have afforded you so many blessings."
I agree with his mother. So do many of our Founding Fathers and other American leaders. And a lot of fellow citizens.
However, President Obama does not agree with mom---or any others who see America as a city on a hill, rather than a sewer in the streets and is telling the public that Kaepernick has every right under the Constitution to do what he is doing.
Jim Huffman, a Fellow at the Hoover Institute disagrees with Obama.
He says, "The president is right to defend free expression as part of what he called the 'messy' democratic process. But he is wrong to say that Kaepernick was 'exercising his constitutional right' to make a statement."
I strongly suggest you read his article.
Huffman concludes "...loose talk about what the Constitution does and does not require and allow is dangerous coming from the most powerful man in the world."
Dinesh D'Souza, himself an immigrant, has written an outstanding paper on "What's So Great About America?"
He says this about slavery:
"America has gone further than any other society in establishing equality of rights. There is nothing distinctively American about slavery or bigotry. Slavery has existed in virtually every culture, and xenophobia, prejudice and discrimination are worldwide phenomena. Western civilization is the only civilization to mount a principled campaign against slavery; no country expended more treasure and blood to get rid of slavery than the United States. While racism remains a problem, this country has made strenuous efforts to eradicate discrimination, even to the extent of enacting policies that give legal preference in university admissions, jobs, and government contracts to members of minority groups. Such policies remain controversial, but the point is that it is extremely unlikely that a racist society would have permitted such policies in the first place. And surely African Americans like Jesse Jackson are vastly better off living in America than they would be if they were to live in, say, Ethiopia or Somalia."
And to "Jessie Jackson," I would add Colin Kaepernick, and the rest of his colleagues in the NFL and elsewhere.
D'Souza concludes with this:
My conclusion is that America is the greatest, freest, and most decent society in existence. It is an oasis of goodness in a desert of cynicism and barbarism. This country, once an experiment unique in the world, is now the last best hope for the world. By making sacrifices for America and by our willingness to die for her, we bind ourselves by invisible cords to those great patriots who fought at Yorktown, Gettysburg, and Iwo Jima, and we prove ourselves worthy of the blessings of freedom. By defeating the terrorist threat posed by Islamic radicalism, we can protect the American way of life while once again redeeming humanity from a global menace. History will view America as a great gift to the world, a gift that Americans today must preserve and cherish.
It was Abraham Lincoln who said, "It is your business to rise up and preserve the Union and liberty..."
That can begin by getting off your knees or behind and "rising" when the National Anthem and/or Pledge is given.
Be Patriot. Be Informed. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.