Do not for­feit your an­them

The Progress-Index Weekend - - OPINION -

The na­tional an­them was birthed out of in­tense op­pres­sion. Fran­cis Scott Key de­scribes the Star Span­gled Ban­ner as a sym­bol of tri­umph over all ad­ver­sity. It is our inheritance — our Amer­i­can birthright. It be­longs to every Amer­i­can man and woman of every color, race, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and re­li­gion; whether your fam­ily came across on the Mayflower or you ob­tained ci­ti­zen­ship last night.

The Amer­i­can an­them, along with the Amer­i­can flag, is a liv­ing sym­bol of the in­tan­gi­ble vir­tu­ous soul our coun­try as­pires to: a coun­try of equal­ity, jus­tice and lib­erty for all.

Any­one is con­sti­tu­tion­ally within their rights to peace­fully protest the Amer­i­can flag, an­them, mon­u­ments or even ap­ple pie. Amer­i­cans are con­sti­tu­tion­ally pro­tected against reprisal for such peace­ful protests. The healthy re­course to protest is ide­o­log­i­cal de­bate of is­sues. A protest is de­signed to in­spire in­tel­lec­tual de­bate for the bet­ter­ment of all Amer­i­cans.

Like it or not, ev­ery­one who par­tic­i­pated in the NFL protest had a con­sti­tu­tional right to do so. Whether you agree or dis­agree, it is undis­putable that we must whole­heart­edly de­fend the in­di­vid­ual’s right to do so. Free speech must be pro­tected. In this case, ev­ery­one in­volved peace­fully as­sem­bled in an act of protest. If we pick and choose what peo­ple can protest or speak out about, then we nul­lify the in­tegrity of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

Un­for­tu­nately the NFL/Pres­i­dent fi­asco seemed more about chest pound­ing. The protest wasn’t about an an­them as much as it was a show of player sol­i­dar­ity against at­tempted reprisal. The col­lat­eral dam­age was that the an­them was pre­sented as a sym­bol of op­pres­sion. The an­them doesn’t be­long to the gov­ern­ment or any one fac­tion that would seek to claim it as their own. It be­longs to all the peo­ple.

We the peo­ple — Amer­i­cans of each gen­der, color, re­li­gion and be­liefs — must not re­lin­quish our birthrights. It is OUR Flag. It is OUR an­them. It is OUR coun­try.

Let us rally around sym­bols birthed to in­spire us be­cause a lit­tle in­spi­ra­tion and broth­erly love is ex­actly what our coun­try needs right now.

— The Progress-In­dex Ed­i­to­rial

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