The American dream and illusion sold through symbolism and “heritage”

Just a few days ago, President Donald Trump announced his disgust with NFL players and their disrespect for the flag at an Alabama Rep. Senate rally for Luther Strange. Trump spoke specifically to the National Football League’s owners shared what their response should be to the kneel done by players, like Colin Kaepernick, during national anthems before the game.

The myth of dishonor

Trump described the kneel as a “total disrespect of our heritage” and “everything that we stand for” even referencing to “get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!” The crowd cheered and this is the unapologetic mindset of many Americans. 

This myth of ‘American dishonor’ is an unconceivable idea to grasp for some people of color or true Americans who honor the Constitution and what America is truly supposed to be.  On the gridiron, kneeling is very common and a time-honored tradition. Even at the high school and collegiate levels, players have always kneeled down to honor a fallen or injured player. Kneeling , in fact, is not an act of dishonor but is, in truth, an act of sincere reverence and respect. If honoring the flag is the real reason that Trump is disgusted by NFL players kneeling; then, why doesn’t he and his American supporters look at all the other individuals and groups of people who actually demonstrate disrespect for the flag and practice un-American values. In those cases, Trump should fire the hate groups and all people who honor un-American, some would say treasonous, legacies.

Are White Nationalists, Nazis and confederates supporters un-Americans?

A confessed white supremacist Dylan Roof,  murdered nine members of the historically black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church during a Bible study in 2015. After Roof’s arrest, a manifesto was found and images with him burning an American flag and holding a Confederate flag in the other hand. If NFL players are being attacked by the President for allegedly dishonoring our flag, what is the status of groups who honor and parade the flags of enemies who openly oppose and fought against the American flag and our way of life.

According to Collier Meyerson, a fellow at the Nation Institute, the only to fight white supremacy and oppression is to own up to American history. One of the most un-American things to carry is a Nazi or Confederate flag, but Trump supporters wave these flags to honor heritage and pride of the “American” people. The Confederate flag has even been referred to as America’s swastika.

“Fine, American” people

Some favorite symbols of Trump supporters are the Confederate battle flag and swastika, as popularized by Hitler’s pure race, an anti-semitic Nazi party.  In August, angry and hateful men marched in Charlotteville, Virg. The variety of white nationalist organizations had one major unifying factor; the parading of both enemy flags. President Trump described these extremists, the white nationalists of Unite the Right and others, as “fine people.” In spite of their un-American showcasing of Nazi and Confederate flags, disrespecting the sanctity of the American flags, President Trump has yet to call for their unemployment. Yet, as another distraction to his personal and political woes, he chose to target the NFL and their players protesting the injustices of white supremacist policies within in American policing agencies.

These “fine people” shouted “Blood and Soil,” imitating the Nazi slog “Blut and Boden” meaning that the blood must be racially pure, and the land must belong to the racially pure. This rally resulted in many African Americans beaten and the death of Heather Heyner. As the nation continues to fight to erase discrimination and prejudices against certain groups, it has also acknowledged that America was created by un-American values. During the American Civil War, the Confederate States of America waged against the United States based on the institution of slavery and oppression just like today.

And even now that Confederate imagery is celebrated and the American flag should be honored and not disrespected. But in 2017, a football player kneeling to the national anthem is disrespect to the country and what it stands for. The United States was founded on oppression and silence and people aren’t supposed to say or do anything about it.

President Donald Trump’s hypocrisy

President Trump has been described as a neo-Nazi sympathizer, friend, leader, and hero to white nationalists and supremacists. Even members of his cabinet, including himself, have had civil and racial cases settled through the years. With these figures in positions of authority and order. There are many minorities group that are concerned by the president’s position on racial issues.

The reason for all of this

President Trump and this myth that players are dishonoring the American flag and heritage is false. In reality, the reason that Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee during the anthem (2016) was given to the world in his own words. Kaepernick explains.

He expressed not wanting to “show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

He also shared, “there were black bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Kaepernick’s word still rings truth in the climate of policing and black unarmed people. Just this week, America witnessed another acquittal of an officer, Jason Stokely involving the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith of St. Louis. The people of St. Louis are still protesting.

As more time passes, more athletes have spoken-up and out against the President’s divisive words but as for the Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem, the issues of the land still remain. Now, the nation has placed attention on America’s unpopular issue.

For Sunday night football, according to CNN, players from several teams, including the New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, the Denver Broncos and the Miami Dolphins, took knees during the anthem. With the exception of one player, the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t take the field and The Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans also did not take the field for the national anthem in Nashville.

Colin Kaepernick is now receiving support in a way that he hasn’t in the past year. He even wants to play football again. However, will the country unite on the least-discussed problem in America: police reform.

Additional information

Here is a running list by the Washington Post of all citizens that were killed at the hands of police.

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