Since September 2016, disrespect for the nation’s flag and anthem has spread from a few football players of the NFL to many parts of the USA. All claim to be protesting – as a constitutional freedom – a lack of social justice in the United States. Yet their actions reflect a rejection of the traditional meaning of patriotism and turn patriotism upside-down in keeping with the deconstruction of civic virtues that took root in the 1960s.
It is time to remember the difference between what is legal and what is right. Too long, Americans have considered only what is legal. It is not illegal to disrespect the American flag or anthem, but it is not right. This means there should be no legal punishment for any such disrespect, but there should be sanctions by all Americans against such violations of traditional patriotism. The specter of political correctness prevents this. Yet all Americans have an obligation to make judgments and to take appropriate action to ensure respect for the symbols – and unity – of America. Such action is right according to custom and tradition.
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