Welp. It happened. I saw something politically related on Facebook that moved me to the blog. It was a post that appealed to me as musician, athlete, and citizen. Juicy.
I’ll go ahead and share my own opinion – yes, of course. Few things unite people in the way that music and sports do. We may be playing/cheering for different interests, but we’re doing it in a country that we all support in one way or another. I have to quiet the music teacher in me whenever I see or hear someone not showing respect for both country AND performer. Our anthem is quite difficult to sing well and the effort should be appreciated and applauded with exemplary performance etiquette. Each time I hear it performed at a sporting event, I feel proud of both my country and my self-control for not punching some rude jackass in the face.
So I made a poor decision. I clicked on the comments.
I was not surprised to see people say that if you don’t want it performed at sporting events, you should leave America. Love it or leave it, blah blah blah. However, this particular comment offended me because of its implications and attempt to connect things that are unrelated:
“Americans are being asked to give up too much because our way offends people who have come to our land. America accepts all who come and want to be free. If our laws and ways are not what you want then leave. America was good enough for you to leave where you came from so stop asking us to change what our country was founded on. If you had chosen any other country to go to would you ask them to change and not sing their National Anthem? No because they would kick your butts out of their country. So leave us alone to sing our National Anthem and observe our religious freedoms to pray when and where we want to.”
Sigh. I’m going to hit the parts that bother me in ascending level of personal offense.
1. If you had chosen any other country to go to would you ask them to change and not sing their National Anthem? No because they would kick your butts out of their country.
Any other country? So if you went to the United Kingdom, France, Russia – and you said you didn’t like that the national anthem was performed before a sporting event, they would revoke your citizenship/visa. That’s how that works. Okay. Sure, you might get some looks, but you can get those same looks here. Hell, I might give that look to someone who said that to me. When you or I expresses an opinion, it does not infringe upon the rights of others. You can safely express your opinion in several other countries aside from the United States without fear of deportation.
2. Stop asking us to change what our country was founded on.
Let me make sure that I understand you, ma’am – our country was founded on the right to listen to the National Anthem at Sunday’s game? Is that what you’re saying? I hope you will allow me to assume that what you are actually talking about is what you see as the erosion of open displays of patriotism. This is the same line of thinking that if you say anything is wrong with America that you hate it. You threw in a line about religious freedom (which I will address in just a moment), so I am sure you will appreciate this:
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives. (Hebrews 12:6 NKJV)
That’s right. If someone who claims to love you is not calling you out when you’re screwing up, s(he) doesn’t love you. Full stop. If you are in the type of relationship with your country where you love it blindly, you don’t know your country. There are many fantastic things about America, and there is nowhere I would rather be. That doesn’t mean I can’t see what needs improvement and I hope to be able to work with others to do so. Indeed, those who founded our country had many an argument about what was best for America. Does that mean they didn’t love it? I doubt you would say so.
3. So leave us alone to sing our National Anthem and observe our religious freedoms to pray when and where we want to.
You know what’s great about the National Anthem? Well – real talk – at least the first verse of it, anyhow. It unites people who love America and different sports teams and different gods or maybe no god at all. I have my babies dissect the lyrics of the song as soon as we start learning how to sing it – no mention of God, religion, or faith. Just pretty lights and bravery. Did you only want to be united in the United States with people who believe the same things as you do? I have to wonder what you see the point of singing the anthem is. I am a practicing Christian and if someone told me he thought singing the National Anthem before sporting events was inappropriate, I would just think he was stupid. I feel my right to practice Christianity is perfectly safe from an idiot like that. Come on, people. Not every discussion is DEFCON 1. I would guess that the bottom line for you would be tradition, and there is nothing wrong with tradition unless it is unquestioned tradition for tradition’s sake.
4. Americans are being asked to give up too much because our way offends people who have come to our land.
Jesus take the
wheel keyboard. Please.
The implication here is hardly subtle, folks. If you don’t want the National Anthem sung, it’s because you’re not a real American. You know what fake Americans tend to have a lot of? Melanin. I am a daughter of an immigrant whom I got to watch happily stand among others, equally elated, to sing the National Anthem and wave the American flag as a naturalized citizen. I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing many naturalization ceremonies and I have not seen ONE person who wasn’t amped to embrace his/her new country and its traditions. Not. One. In fact, you know the only people I know of that don’t want to sing the National Anthem? People whose faith prevents them from doing so. They come in many colors, and I haven’ t even heard of an instance where they’ve advocated for no one singing the anthem simply because they don’t do it. They simply choose not to participate and respectfully sit out. Sounds like a well-functioning country to me.
I’m going to go ahead and call it how I see it. This isn’t REALLY a problem about the right to enjoy/perform the National Anthem. This is a problem about people having different opinions/beliefs. If you want to be a racist xenophobe, you’re free to do so. You can even wrap it up in patriotism and pretend you “just love America.” Please, enjoy your right to be a jackass with little consequence.