I have always found it to be somewhat of an odd occurrence, when those who proclaim themselves to be “Patriotic Americans” and conservative or “republican” get completely up in arms at every little thing that they claim shows disrespect to the American Flag, while they themselves display the “rebel flag” or alternate colorizations and depictions of Old Glory.

Many of the same people who claim to be patriots “disrespect” the flag on a daily basis.

From the US Flag Code:

The flag of the United States shall be thirteen horizontal stripes, alternate red and white; and the union of the flag shall be fifty stars, white in a blue field.

(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.

Bunting of blue, white, and red always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker’s desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.

(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.

(h) The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkin or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

By every measure of the United States Flag code, waiving a “thin blue line” flag, wearing a single color patch of the American flag on your leather vest or eating off of red, white & blue plates and then wiping the potato salad and drool from your mouth with a stars & stripes napkin is open disrespect for the flag.

What is even crazier, is the same person who get’s upset when a pro athlete chooses not to stand during the national anthem, is often times wearing a “rebel flag” on his tee shirt while he’s wiping the mustard off his lips with an Old Glory napkin.

The same people who say “America love it or leave it” when it comes to things they perceive as un-American, support a flag of a movement that was trying to leave it because they didn’t love it.

Hypocrisy at its finest.

This past Monday Night, my hometown Cleveland Browns took on the New York Giants in a nationally televised pre-season game. Nine days after the racially charged events of Charlottesville and a year after the Colin Kaepernick anthem controversy began, about a dozen players knelt and prayed during the playing of the national anthem, a handful of teammates stood by in support placing a hand on a teammate’s shoulder.

Of course the reaction of Cleveland’s self proclaimed patriots was fierce, via News 5 Cleveland:

CLEVELAND – Angry fans took to the Cleveland Browns Facebook page overnight and into Tuesday morning to voice their frustration with the players who kneeled during the national anthem Monday night.

The Browns Facebook page lit up after the game, with people calling the team “disgraceful.”

“Pray before or pray after. Taking a knee during the National Anthem these days screams disrespect for our Flag, Our Country and our troops. My son and the entire armed forces deserve better than that,” wrote one person.

“Cleveland Browns needed all the fans they can get!” wrote another. “They have one less now! How pathetic! You are not paid to protest! I for one am done with any professional team that act’s this way! Lost any money from me for life! For years I have protested as to why you are so bad and never win any more, now I see it’s your Teams values! Good luck but you lost this fan for life and all my spending$$. This country needs heroes and patriots not millionaire crybaby’s who disrespect this country and our flag!” Read More…

So according to the internet patriots, you can’t kneel and pray to the Lord during the National Anthem because “our soldiers fought for freedom” and “you better stand up an pledge that oath to a piece of cloth or else you ain’t free”.

My own personal view, when attending a sporting event, is that I stand for the national anthem. I too personally am personally offended and believe that it is somewhat disrespectful to refuse to stand for the national anthem. However, I don’t get all raging angry about it and want to shuffle off to my safe space, because I am a grown up who knows that the right to not get offended is not one of my god-given unalienable rights.

Furthermore, while I believe it to be disrespectful to not stand for the anthem, I believe it is infinitely more disrespectful to characterize what that flag stands for.

As I wrote last November after President Trump posted his “there must be consequences…” tweet about people who burn the flag. No man died for a piece of cloth, they died for the idea that that piece of cloth represented. Amongst those ideas, as our founding fathers so eloquently put it is that we “… are endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Part of that includes the right to partake in activities that others don’t agree with, as long as in doing so you are not depriving another of their rights. Wanting to force another free person to stand up for a song is the polar opposite of the freedoms that our republic represents.

Go America, Go Browns but most importantly Go Liberty!