This post is an expansion of one I put on Facebook this morning. This is what appeared on Facebook earlier today:
If anyone outside of the uniformed military is required to stand up for the national anthem, then those of us that served in the military have been dishonored. I did not serve to protect the national anthem or the flag. I served to uphold the constitution and freedoms, including the freedom to act like a jerk if one chooses. Trump is a threat to the constitution and our liberties, not someone refusing to stand for the national anthem. Those that claim to be patriots because they stand up for the national anthem and pledge allegiance to the flag without thinking about the constitution and our freedoms are not real patriots, they are dangerous reactionaries. I standup for the national anthem and pledge allegiance because of the constitution and bill of rights.
I originally wrote the above post because of all the idiotic memes I am seeing saying that Colin Kapernick should leave the country because he did not stand up when the national anthem was played. After thinking about this a while, I though of Thomas Paine’s quote from The Crisis :
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
Those that do not understand why most veterans served but call themselves patriots are “sunshine patriots.” Most of us served not because of a blind and unthinking loyalty to the national anthem or the pledge of allegiance. It was because of love of country and to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. The “sunshine patriots” driving around in their old beat up pick up trucks sporting an American Flag do not understand that at all. I know that is a stereotype but when I am out in the world wearing an Obama hat that says “Commander in Chief” on it I am more apt to get a middle finger from such a vehicle. When I wear my USS Shreveport hat, I get a thumbs up or a shouted thank you from the same crowd.
Donald Trump is a sunshine patriot and the veterans that go on TV to support him are in many cases summer soldiers. I do not understand how anyone that claims to be a patriot can support Donald Trump. Before one can call themselves a patriot, I believe that person must understand the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Constitution was established to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Sunshine patriots and summer soldiers think that the 1st Amendment only applies to them and not those that disagree with them. It clearly states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
There is nothing in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights requiring that one stand for the national anthem or even show respect for it or the flag. I believe we all should but that is an individual choice to be made, not a choice to be made by others for the dissenter or protester.