Written by Your Third Choice
No, they don’t hate the flag or the troops. It’s not some anti-imperialist mumbo jumbo. It’s not because they agree or disagree with the point, the now unemployed Colin Kaeppernick was trying to make. It’s probably because they are aware of two little words: Paid Patriotism.
In a time when most people are very very angry about the varied verticality of NFL players during the traditional playing of the National Anthem, finding a staunch libertarian might be as easy as finding someone who isn’t chomping at the bit to tell you who is right and who is wrong- for once. Most libertarians harbor a respect for our nation’s armed defenders and a distrust of public law enforcement simultaneously so where is the characteristic zeal from the porcupine party?
As usual, it is tempered by a respect for truth and a seasoned distrust for narratives.
Obviously the government doesn’t make any money of its own to spend.(Taxation is theft) Whenever we hear about the government spending money to influence its own citizens it must be recognized that those in power are spending our money to change us. This is the direct antithesis of the American ideal. “A nation of the people, by the people, and for the people.” If our government can, without oversight or even public knowledge, use our money to dominate our conscious and affect us to support their causes, the government is then of and for itself, even as it carries the democratic banner of being elected by its captive populous.
The displays of non-violent disobedience witnessed on football fields and prime-time news across the country are being framed by both Republicans and Democrats equally unfairly. While democrats attest they are making a statement about racial solidarity and police brutality, republicans would characterize the protest as anti-military and anti-patriotic. Neither message carries any weight when seen in the reality of the situation.
The facts and history of sporting patriotism do not support either narrative.
Paid patriotism, as we know it today, is not a product of 9/11 or the Bush administration- at least not directly. Early in Obama’s first term is when the first massive paid displays, as we know them today, were purchased, under the table, by the Department of Defense. Many millions of dollars were spent with the intention of swaying Americans to support the American “War on Terror” across the globe.
Trump and his arm of the Republican Party would have you believe that the patriotic displays of respect for our mother country are traditional and nearly ancient, but in truth, they are less than a decade old, unless you count sporadic displays after the attack on the Twin Towers and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Democrats would have you believe that these displays are a product of Trump’s radical nationalism and that the kneeling, that began as a protest against racial violence, since evolved into an anti-presidential rallying cry against “Trumpian Racism.”
Neither is true.
The massive hundred yard flags, players’ televised respect for the Anthem, even the multi-branch color guard at each game, were all paid for with your money, secretly. This is nothing more than propaganda. Giving the protests or the backlash against them any attention misses the point. Do not react to propagandist narratives, instead, reject their implementation all together. Is propaganda not the most blatant misuse of funds taken through taxation? Is feeding into either narrative- left or right- not serving the whims of the groups which bi-partisanly passed this legislation? Is our division not to their gain?
Paid patriotism in and of itself is the enemy of America. It is an Orwellian symptom of an out of control federal government and a fundamentally broken democracy. If we do not support our government enough, we should be act on that and not be chiseled into compliance. The government needs to change, the people do not. If the government has taken it upon themselves to alter our opinions, as they have, it is our prerogative to remove those who would mitigate American self-determination through the powers of democracy still left to us. That is to say our government should be made to reflect our public interest; the people should never be molded to mirror and support state action and it is on we the people to stand up and loudly proclaim that we will not be bought with our own money.
It almost seems like a tell rather than a defense by the Trump administration to conflate disrespect for executive overreach with respect for our soldiers sent to fight unwinnable wars abroad.