Don’t Tread on Me

Yesterday several dozen white supremacists made national headlines for gathering in Charlottesville around the statue of secessionist leader Robert E. Lee. Local television footage shows the group chanting, among other things: Russia is our friend.

Not a peep from the White House.

The next day, professional football players took a knee during the National Anthem before a game in Indianapolis. The Vice President, who attended the game at taxpayer expense, turned his back and left the stadium.

He later posted a statement chastising the NFL and reading, in part: “At a time when so many Americans are inspiring our nation with their courage, resolve, and resilience, now, more than ever, we should rally around our Flag and everything that unites us.”

To recap the official position: in today’s America it is acceptable for a group of white supremacists to sow racial division, symbolically profess disunity, and outright declare friendship with a nation that meddled in our most sacred democratic process. Yet it is unacceptable for other Americans to employ our First Amendment right to free expression through symbolic gestures that remind our fellow citizens of persistent inequality.

I personally prefer to stand during the National Anthem. I personally cover my heart with my right hand when I hear it. But I am on my knees in disgust over the prominent hypocrisy on display from our leadership over an issue that is vital to real national unity.

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