Why I don’t Stand for the “Anthem”
By Harvey Rifkin
The reason I would stand for the “Anthem” or any other institution or icon would be out of reverence and major respect for the institution out of its foundational integrity and moral behavior. Unfortunately, due to my read of America’s racist, barbaric, imperialistic, sexist, misogynistic, and greedy history, I cannot in good conscience salute the flag, Pledge Allegiance to the flag, or hypocritically celebrate America’s alleged and contorted moral history or greatness. Anyone who would take the time to research and dig into America’s real history, while setting aside propaganda, and hyperbolic nationalism and patriotism would have to come to the same intellectual conclusion as myself. If I was much younger and had no children here, or financial roots, I would move out of America in a heartbeat.
I really do not understand the manufactured concept ubiquitously known as “American Exceptionalism”. Exceptional means to stand out over and above all other comparative benchmarks. We are exceptionally militaristic, materialistic, unhappy, racist, superficial, obese, anxiety-ridden, superficial, have high inceration for victimless crimes, don’t value labor, uncultured, naively ignorant, racist, highly vindictive, corrupt, destructively religious, and lean toward authoritarian and Fascist ideologies. These are Exceptional characteristics that are not complementary to any nation, institution, or individual.
Trump wants to silence the media that reveals his lies and malfeasance; an overt sign of Fascist leanings not making “America Great Again”. He is more concerned about saluting the flag, calling White Supremacists very fine people, and lining his own pockets then he is about pushing back racism, improving human rights, and the well being of the average American. The polls reveal that over 25 percent of American’s favor an authoritarian America government and don’t believe that the police disproportionately single out, arrest, incarcerate, and murder people of color attests to the fact that we are still a very sick nation.
The fact that we do not universally celebrate sports figures such as Colin Kaepernick who protest at football games against extreme police brutality, but not in reality against the military or the flag, shows that we are still a very apathetic racist nation. Kudos to Mohammed Ali for declining to serve in an illegal war in Vietnam to kill his brethren of color. Latest research polls show that the USA is in the top 5 racist nations of the world. Fans at football games, who are mostly affluent White Christian Males complain that they just choose to be entertained and do not want political or human rights statements to inconvenience their enjoyment of the sport. My response is that their White Privilege and ancestry has “Inconvenienced” and oppressed people of color every day for the 300 years. If these apathetic white men really were concerned about racism in America they would be pleased to be inconvenienced for 5 minutes while players kneel during the singing of the National Anthem”. In addition, they would be marching in solidarity or not singing the “Anthem” with their sisters and brothers of color, but they choose not to protest because of their indifference, hypocritical patriotism, white privilege, and racist apathy.
In my previous articles, I have cited historical empirical evidence that patently makes my case for “American Unexceptionalism”. What has made America exceptional for many with capital and entrepreneurial skill is the ability to build financial fortunes. Dozens of other countries enjoy political and religious freedoms, a free press, a higher life expectancy, greater happiness, universal healthcare, stronger communities, free college educations, more ethnic tolerance and diversity, and deeper cultural roots than we do in America.