You Now Have a Patriotic Duty to Kneel During the National Anthem

You see that up there? That's Major General Benedict Arnold's Oath of Allegiance to the United States, signed, in the middle of the Revolutionary War, on May 30, 1778 at Valley Forge. By the end of 1779, Arnold was working for the British to defeat the United States. Lotta fuckin' good that loyalty oath did, huh? Professing your love of nation doesn't mean shit if you don't act like you love it.

Every generation or so, we have to go through this ludicrous exercise in symbol worship. Anti-flag-burning still rears its ugly-ass head every now and then even though the Supreme Court said in 1989 that it was free speech. You know who joined the majority in that case? Motherfuckin' Antonin Scalia who, when asked about it years later, said he did it because the First Amendment is the First Amendment. "If it were up to me, I would put in jail every sandal-wearing, scruffy-bearded weirdo who burns the American flag. But I am not king," he said in 2015. You got that? Freedom of speech specifically allows us to say things like "your bullshit symbols are bullshit."

And it allows us to not have to worship whatever symbols people in power tell us to worship. During the flag-burning debate, I wrote a comic piece about a joyful flag maker who is encouraging people to burn flags because he makes more money that way. The point was that a flag is a product, often not even made in the United States, that is purchased and is the property of the person who purchased it. If I bought it, it's mine. If I wanna wipe my ass with it, I can because capitalism.

You wanna assign each person their own flag that was sanctified with the blood of George Washington or whatnot, then we can talk about restrictions. But after 9/11, I saw flags that were flown to show pride in country that were just left up, on vehicles and homes, in the rain, in the wind, until they were faded in color, ragged, and worn, which, if you think about it, was pretty damn symbolic for the nation we became pretty quickly after 9/11. But no one was screaming that the pick-up truck driver with an NRA sticker and a "We Support the Troops" magnet should fuckin' respect the flag by taking that threadbare piece shit off his antenna, even though he should have.

Which gets us to the National Anthem.

Look, if you think the National Anthem is a good song, you're just wrong. It sucks. It's a terrible song with warmongering, violent words, a flag fetish, and a ludicrously bad melody that is only vaguely interesting to hear sung to see if the poor singer can actually hit the high note towards the end, at which point the dogs of Pavlovian patriotism in a crowd applaud for the singer not fucking it up. Seriously, though, we have one bullshit national anthem.

When the National Football League owners released its new policy that commands all players on the field to stand during the National Anthem or face fines, they may as well have wiped their asses with the stars and stripes. It didn't have to be this way. They could have just let the protest happen. Colin Kaepernick and the other players who knelt were protesting the mistreatment of African Americans by the police. Then our fucking dickhead president saw a chance to exploit people's racism and stupidity by condemning players for daring to have an opinion that wasn't his.

And that savage orange bastard said today that he agreed with the new policy. "You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country," he told pubic lice on Fox and Friends this morning. You should lose your job and your citizenship if you don't stand when a shitty song is played before a bunch of millionaires beat themselves into insanity for our entertainment and line the pockets of even richer men who would demand that they stand. Oh, they won't lock the bathrooms and the concession stands during the anthem at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. You can be sitting on a toilet and taking a shit while the Dallas Cowboys are forced to stand.

So now it's not just about protesting police violence. Now the only patriotic thing to do is to kneel when you're at a public event and they stupidly play our dumb anthem. At a Little League game? Take a knee. At a school event? Take a knee. At a football stadium? Take a fuckin' knee. Because the brutish asshole who leads this country still ain't a king, even though he wants to be. And enforced patriotism is just a way to make sure that people fuckin' hate the bullshit symbols.

You don't need to sign an oath or pledge to a flag or stand for a song to love your country. In fact, a country that makes you do that ain't worth your love. So show the players that are forced to stand that you still have a choice. Use it while you can.