Everyone Should Stand for the National Anthem

2,227,966 Views
Nov 23, 2017

Why should every American stand for the National Anthem? Because the Anthem and the flag represent America, and America is a free nation. That alone is worth standing for. Joy Villa, singer, songwriter, and recording artist, explains.

The national anthem protests are based on a false premise. There’s no evidence of systemic racial bias in police shootings.

  • Despite the claims of Colin Kaepernick and others who have participated in the national anthem protests, the police are not engaged in a coordinated campaign to destroy the black race.View Source
  • As Harvard Professor Roland Fryer – who happens to be black – has shown, there is no evidence of racial bias in police shootings.View Source
  • Police officers are 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than black males are to be killed by a police officer.View Source
  • “A disproportionate share of America’s violent offenders are African-American males, but not because they are black,” writes Nick Selby. “It is because America has failed its black communities, and those of the vulnerable more generally, for decades.”View Source
  • Related reading: “Police Violence against Black Men Is Rare” – National ReviewView Source

The national anthem protests haven’t changed fans’ minds; they’ve just made a majority of them angry. 

  • A FOX News poll found that 55% of Americans see the protests as inappropriate.View Source
  • The fan backlash has been severe. The responses have ranged from boos to burning jerseys.View Source
  • According to a 2017 J.D. Power poll, anthem protests were the number one reason fans stopped watching the NFL.View Source
  • Declining league ratings only hurt the sport and the fans, and do nothing to fix alleged problems with police violence.View Source

Protesting the national anthem—in other words, the whole country—to protest “racist” cops makes no sense and alienates a majority of fans.

  • Former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the anthem kneeling movement in 2016, stating, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”View Source
  • The American flag and the National Anthem are symbols that represent our country. Even if some police officers are racist, it doesn't make sense to demonstrate against the country as a whole.View Source
  • The NFL used to be a pastime where fans could come together despite politics. Protests have led to the league being editorialized and politicized.View Source
  • A FOX News poll found that 55% of Americans see the protests as inappropriate.View Source

A 2017 study found that the number one reason NFL fans said they stopped watching the league were the national anthem protests.

  • According to a 2017 J.D. Power poll, anthem protests were the number one reason fans stopped watching the NFL.View Source
  • A FOX News poll found that 55% of Americans see the protests as inappropriate.View Source
  • The fan backlash to the anthem protests has been severe. The responses have ranged from boos to burning jerseys.View Source
  • Declining league ratings only hurt the sport and the fans, and do nothing to fix alleged problems with police violence.View Source

MLK didn’t denigrate the flag or anthem. Instead, he encouraged Americans to honor the flag by living up to its promise of equality.  

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. protested discrimination against blacks on city busses by boycotting city busses, not by kneeling in front of the flag.View Source
  • He didn’t denigrate the flag or the anthem. In Selma, Alabama, 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. did take a knee after a nonviolent march, to pray, not to protest the flag.View Source
  • “A disproportionate share of America’s violent offenders are African-American males, but not because they are black,” writes Nick Selby. “It is because America has failed its black communities, and those of the vulnerable more generally, for decades.”View Source

The fact that you have the freedom to disrespect the flag, like the anthem protesters, is exactly why you should respect the flag. 

  • The anthem and the flag stand for freedom.View Source
  • The fact that you can disrespect the anthem and the flag proves that you’re free. In many countries, like China, Iran, and Vietnam, such a protest would be jail-worthy.View Source
  • The flag is what the U.S. military fights under, and sitting while many are standing is inherently disrespectful to the flag’s connection to military and veterans.View Source
  • The fact that you can disrespect the flag proves that you should respect the flag. You might say that only flags that can't be protested should be protested.View Source

Unlike many other countries, in America we are given the freedom to sit or stand for the anthem—and that’s why we should stand. 

  • In America, where you are free to sit or stand during the National Anthem, sitting when you should be standing is more a statement about you than about America.View Source
  • In many other countries, like China or North Korea, protesting any state symbol would be jail-worthy.View Source
  • Anthem protestors come off as ignorant and ungrateful: ignorant about a country that works to correct its faults, and ungrateful for the opportunity and freedom that it offers all its citizens.View Source

Colin Kaepernick made clear when he started the anthem protests that he was protesting not just “racist” cops, but the whole country.

  • San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the national anthem protests during the 2016 preseason. His idea was to protest the alleged mistreatment of African Americans not just by police but by America as a whole.View Source
  • He went so far as to describe police as a modern runaway slave patrol.View Source
  • As Kaepernick put it, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”View Source

The national anthem stands for freedom—even the freedom to do foolish things...like protesting the national anthem.

But, like my mama always said, just because you are free to do the wrong thing, it doesn’t mean that you should.

Starting in 2016, some professional football players have refused to stand when the national anthem is played before a game. Some of them kneel, some of them sit on the bench, some of them raise their fist, and some don’t even come out of the locker room.

This was all started by San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick. His idea was to protest the alleged mistreatment of black people by police—and by America in general. 

As he put it, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

Kaepernick no longer plays in the league because, apparently, NFL owners are racist against backup quarterbacks who don’t throw well. But his protest lives on and has spread to college and high school athletes. Even elementary school kids have gotten into the act.

I like football, and I sing the anthem publicly at events. This doesn’t make me an expert, but I’ve got a problem with some things here. First, the protest is based on something that just isn’t true. And second, even if it were true, the protest is misdirected and self-defeating.

Let's start with problem one.

Despite what we're told by Black Lives Matter and their media allies, the police are not engaged in a coordinated campaign to destroy the black race.

As Harvard Professor Roland Fryer—who happens to be black—and others have shown, there is no evidence of racial bias in police shootings. In any case, the thing that makes headlines—police shootings of unarmed black men—is very rare. How rare? Statistics show that an unarmed black man is more likely to be killed by lightning than by a policeman.

So, if police are trying to persecute black folks, they're doing a really bad job.

Am I saying racism doesn’t exist? Of course not.

Am I saying racist cops don’t exist? Of course not.

But I would say this: Blacks have a lot more to fear from black criminals than from the police. The police keep us safe. And they risk their lives every day doing it. That sounds like it’s a lot more deserving of a “thank you” than a “screw you.”

Now, problem two:

The protest is misdirected and self-defeating.

The American flag and the national anthem are symbols that represent our country. Even if some police officers are racist jerks, it doesn't make sense to protest those particular jerks by demonstrating against the country as a whole.

Martin Luther King, Jr. protested discrimination against blacks on city busses by boycotting city busses. He never denigrated the flag or the anthem. In fact, he did the opposite. He argued that the people who oppress blacks are the ones denigrating the flag and what it stands for.

And what does it stand for?

Ironically, it’s the protestors themselves who give us the answer: it stands for freedom. The fact that you can disrespect the anthem and the flag proves that you’re free!

Anyone who doesn’t stand for the anthem would do themselves a favor if they studied some current events. They'd learn that oppressive countries don’t allow anyone to publicly disrespect national symbols, much less earn millions of dollars while doing it.

You won't see anyone sitting for their national anthem in North Korea or Iran. Well, you might—but that will be the last time you see them.

Which brings me to my final point: In America, where you are free to sit or stand during the national anthem, sitting when you should be standing is more a statement about you than about America. And you don’t come off too well. You come off, frankly, as ignorant and ungrateful: ignorant about a country that works to correct its faults, and ungrateful for the opportunity and freedom that it offers all its citizens.

For that, I’m standing.

How about you?

I’m Joy Villa for Prager University.

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