Hot Air: Anthem Aggravation

I’ve always thought the playing of the National Anthem before sporting events was a waste of my good time. I have no need to sing to the world about what a loyal, patriotic sports fan I am.

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I’ve told this story before, and I’ll repeat it: One day in 1970, when I was a 14-year-old radical wannabe, I chose not to stand for the anthem before the Cubs game at Wrigley Field. A nearby man told his son I was “anti-American scum.”

Little did he know those words cemented my distaste for the anthem for the rest of my life.

Anyway, San Francisco 49ers sorta-backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines the other day when he announced he wouldn’t stand for the anthem before his team’s games because he couldn’t reconcile such a display with what he says is the unfair, separate and certainly not equal nation we inhabit. And, BTW, I agree with his view of this holy land.

Natch, he’s being pilloried from all corners of this land of the free. Even D. Trump chimed in, falling back on that tired old love-it-or-leave-it routine: “Maybe he should find a country that works better for him.” Dare I remind the Orange-utan that any country that does not claim him as a citizen, much less a major party political candidate, sure as goddamned hell works better for me.


Here’s a brief sampling of tweets from some patriotic Americans:

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I find it fascinating that a man could choose to run his own picture and his full name next to his tweet containing the epithet, “Hope you tear your acl next game stupid nigger.” For goodness sakes, hasn’t he heard of the comma and the period? I’d be embarrassed to death for the world to know I was that uninformed about my native language. And — oh yeah — I’d make sure to jump off the top of a tall building if my heart was that filled with hatred.

Another thought: You may have heard about that third stanza of the Anthem. It goes something like this:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Lots o’folks are saying this is a celebration of slavery. As I read the words, though, I could conceivably interpret them to mean the hireling and the slave could find no safe harbor on the Earth until “the star spangled banner in triumph” waved. As Robert Reich likes to say, what do you say?

And another: Friends of loyal Pencillista, The Lake County Republican, occasionally comment directly on this global communications colossus or on my social media sites. Last night, one of them wrote:

I feel if he plays for the NATIONAL Football League he should respect the NATIONAL Anthem of this country. He should have found a different way to display his views, like maybe donating some of his money and time to some of those oppressed families!!

Believe it or not, she’s right — sort of. If Kaepernick indeed is not doing anything more real and tangible than refusing to stand for the Anthem, why, then he’s doing nothing more than pulling a grandstand play.

Big Talk This Week

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The Ryder magazine and film series have been Bloomington institutions for — get ready for it — 37 freaking years now! Sheesh.

To put it in perspective, the Ryder was in existence before the hostages were taken in Iran, before the ascension of Saint Ronald Reagan into heaven, before the first Space Shuttles flew, before even Apple. Inc. launched Macintosh, for pity’s sake!

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Founder, publisher, and editor Peter LoPilato joined me in the WFHB studios yesterday to tape this week’s Big Talk. He discussed the creation myth behind the Ryder. He even suggest the myth might be true. Tune in to the WFHB Daily Local News Thursday, September (September? Already?) 1st, at 5:30pm. Big Talk is a regular Thursday feature of the DLN.

Talk to you then!

4 thoughts on “Hot Air: Anthem Aggravation

  1. Carolyn VandeWiele says:

    Damn BIg Mike… there’s a typo in the last paragraph!
    I look forward to tomorrow’s Big Talk

  2. glabwrites says:

    Aha! I apologize to the millions of loyal Pencillistas out there for the very first typo I’ve ever allowed to pass into the Pencil.

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