I used to see endless beauty in the burning of the American Flag in protest. That very action, in this country, was a visual reminder of the freedom we possess, hard fought freedom through the years of our liberty experiment. The idea that one can kneel for our countries anthem, in protest, a thing of wonder, paid for in blood. A visual representation that our forefathers sacrifice wasn’t in vain, as our blanket of freedom extended through that symbolic speech. A freedom, if infringed by our government, that would require a complete overthrow, a deadly outcome and yet still a possibility that terrifies me to this day. It was something that I didn’t take lightly, and something that I defended, something that needed defending for a time, as those ignorant or less understanding of the 1st Amendment were quick to attack.
It is after all, our freedom of expression, that we must hold inalienable.
For years, this was something that I wouldn’t question, these episodes of defiance being considered not on their merits, but more so that they were a part of our American way. I paid them little mind, and privately held the same position when the topic was brought up:
“This is their RIGHT, who are you to question it?”
Inch by inch and day by day, I watched the serpent grow, a movement warp, a call for action turn to a demand for violence. An evolution to revolution. It dawned on me that this push for protest and call for unrest wasn’t in the spirit of creating a better America, a more American way of life, but a regression and destruction of our true liberty. A wolf in sheep’s clothing, these movements fueled with corporate and foreign interest, a conglomerate of greed, and an alliance of actual enemies with unwitting stateside participants. A questionable mix of those radical enough to believe that what they are doing is holy, while the true architect’s profit overseas. How easy it is to sow a seed of destruction in our free society, and at the same time conceal its true purpose. Our pursuit of happiness replaced with unquestionable submittal; the growing danger masked within our growing immorality. A stark contrast to Americana, this is the attack that our forefathers warned of. This can be the beginning of the end of our experiment – our freedoms so precious, also so responsible for our potential demise.
America is an imperfect system, but one which has always been conscious of improving, sometimes slowly, but almost never with a retreat. A society that requires progress in each step, seems to have lost the framework that allows for such enlightenment, the bones of the house becoming brittle with each passing day. A bus approaching a cliff, packed with occupants screaming “go faster”, with no one brave enough to push the brake or turn the wheel. How we ended up here is important, and where we are going is important, but the times call for someone to stop the bus from ending in a fiery crash.
The bravery to stand is now required, to keep the ability to kneel possible.
I can feel this country in my bones. In my soul. It keeps me up some nights, restless, hungry, and with much time spent in the future, when I weigh the consequences of our collective actions as a people. How short sighted our vision can be, how disloyal we have become to our countrymen, how dishonor has become a rallying cry, it haunts me. How far we have taken advantage of our freedoms, that we are bound to not lose them in conflict, but simply hand them over without a whimper.
Its time to stand for our country, its time to stand for our flag, its time to stand for our liberty, our anthem, as insignificant as it may seem. This kneeling, this flag burning, these chants in the streets are all serpents in the garden. We must not let them deceive us, we must steel ourselves for their assaults, and we can never lose hope, as we can uncover them and drive them from our paradise. And if all else fails, possess a sword sharp enough to separate its head from its body.
“We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we will hang separately” – Ben Franklin