Give me a break. What baloney. Of course it is about honoring our country, our flag, and all who have given the ultimate sacrifice. It is called patriotism. Our national anthem gives us a couple of minutes during which to signify our allegiance to the country that has given all who live here, our families, and many more to come, the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the greatest democracy on the face of the earth.

Black players comprise 70 percent of players in the National Football League, receive multimillion-dollar contracts and the adoration of millions of fans, the vast majority of whom are white. They have no business in choosing to dishonor their country by kneeling during their national anthem in order to make a political statement primarily aimed at the country’s law enforcement members who put their lives on the line every day for all Americans.

The players using this demonstration for a political statement have, because of their celebrity, a powerful platform available to them outside of the football stadiums, basketball courts and baseball fields. All they have to do is call a press conference or take to social media, and their opinions will be widely heard and disseminated.

But, before they do that I would suggest these gifted athletes do a second take and examine the advantages given them by their country.

I don’t know about you, but I have long since become disgusted with the constant playing of the race card at the drop of a hat in order to score political points. We are not a perfect country, but we are a great country, and damn lucky to be living here. The constant march to revisionist history is becoming sickening.

Slavery was wrong. It was corrected in a great civil war. Destroying or replacing historical monuments to those who fought on the side of the Confederacy accomplishes nothing except a revival of hatred that contributes further to America’s current political divide. Eliminating or replacing historic holidays with foolish substitutes like Indigenous Peoples Day for Columbus Day further stokes the flames of division within our country.

History cannot be changed or erased. We have paid many times over for our mistakes, but have learned from them, and forged forward towards today when America, its values, its democracy and its people are the envy of the free world. It feels like we are beginning to lose our collective minds. California introduces legislation and regulation that turns it into something that looks like a separate socialist country. It is now an amnesty state led by the extremist Gov. Jerry Brown. In several states, governors and attorney generals refuse to cooperate with federal authorities on immigration law enforcement. They are acting like anarchists. In Maine, some sheriffs refuse to cooperate fully with the federal immigration enforcement agency, ICE.

This stuff must stop. For God’s sake, we are a nation of laws. What does it mean to be an American?

This is an excerpt from “The True Meaning of Patriotism” by Lawrence W. Reed: “Read the Declaration of Independence again. Or, if you are like most Americans these days, read it for the first time. It’s all there … It’s what has defined us as Americans. It’s what almost everyone who has ever lived on this planet has yearned for. It makes life worth living, which means it’s worth fighting and dying for … I understand that America has often fallen short of the superlative ideas expressed in the Declaration. That hasn’t diminished my reverence for them, nor has it dimmed my hope that future generations of Americans will be re-inspired by them. This brand of patriotism gets me through the roughest, most cynical of times … I never cease to get that ‘rush’ that comes from watching Old Glory flapping in the breeze, no matter how far today’s generation have departed from the original meaning of those stars and stripes. No outcome of any election, no matter how adverse, makes me feel any less devoted to the ideals our Founders put to pen in 1776 …

“Educating others about The Declaration’s principles … That my fellow Americans, is what patriotism should mean to each of us today.”

A comment I heard this week perfectly summed it up for me. It’s advice that I hope you will join me in following: I will stand for the anthem, and kneel at the cross.

Don Roberts is a veteran broadcaster, writer and political consultant. He has served Augusta as a city councilor at-large, charter commission vice chairman and utilities district treasurer.

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