By Dr. Wilmer J. Leon, III
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – “You have to stand proudly for the National Anthem. You shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe they (NFL Players) shouldn’t be in the country… We’re proud of our country and we’re proud of our flag…Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘get that son of a b**** off the field right now – he’s fired…'” – President Donald Trump
Donald Trump, the American President and Commander in Chief loves the National Anthem of the United States and the flag. He believes that team owners should eject players that “disrespect” the flag by taking a knee and cut them from the team. He urges fans to express their disapproval by leaving the stadium. According to Trump, “But you know what’s hurting the game more than that? When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great national anthem… if you see it…leave the stadium, I guarantee things will stop…”
Trump loves the symbolism, the pomp and circumstance. He loves the marketing behind the anthem and flag but hates what the symbols actually represent in their nationalistic context. I say nationalistic because there is huge difference between what they mean to most Americans versus the global imperial hegemon they represent in their international context.
Steve Bannon, the mastermind behind Donald Trump’s nationalist ideology was very clear about what Trump’s campaign for president and mission as president would be. The entire Trump agenda is based upon the premise of deconstructing the American administrative state. At the 2017 CPAC conference Bannon was very clear, “I think if you look at the lines of work, I kind of break it up into three verticals of three buckets… national security and sovereignty…economic nationalism…(and the) deconstruction of the administrative state.”
What is “the administrative state”? According to The Guardian, “The administrative state, a pillar of modern American government, is tasked with making and enforcing economic and environmental regulations, designing and running social welfare programs, fighting crime and corruption, providing for the national defense and so much more.” At the base of all of these tasks, what enables or empowers the government; aka the administrative state to function is the Constitution of the United States of America.
In order for Trump to succeed, he has to weaken, deconstruct and or undermine The Constitution. That is why he attacks the First Amendment. His attacks on the press and on the NFL players is a direct assault upon the “…freedom of speech, … the press; …(and) the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances…”
In 1823 Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, contributor to the Constitution and third president of the United States wrote to General Lafayatte, “The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.”
Trump calls the news media “the enemy of the American people”. He (or one of his handlers) created the term “fake news”. “The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE.” His key senior advisor Kellynne Conway introduced the concept of “alternative facts” into the American lexicon in order to counter the accurate reporting of Trump’s disinformation campaign and outright lying to the American people.
Free-agent NFL quarterback Colin Kapernick along with some current player’s peaceful public protests against the killing of unarmed African Americans by the police is more American and constitutional than Trump’s tweeting and rants, urging action against them. It’s a matter of speech and the freedom of the people to peaceably assemble in order to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Abraham Lincoln once called “the right of peaceable assembly” part of “the Constitutional substitute for revolution.”
Trump loves the visual and the marketing of America that standing for the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance represent, but a president cannot be true to America and its principals and precepts if he or she tries to have one without the other. As Frederick Douglas said, “Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters…”
It is also important to understand the history of the Star Spangled Banner. Its author, Francis Scott Key supported the deportation of free Africans in America back to Africa. He was an aristocrat who supported slavery and opposed its abolition. As he saw Africans in America fighting with the British during the battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore on Sept. 13, 1814, he wrote the Star Spangled Banner. In it he included the line, “Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave, From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave…” This means, that the blood of all the former “hirelings” or slaves on the battlefield will wash away the pollution of the British invaders. This is the song that is sung at all sporting events and the president expects all American’s, especially African American’s to stand for and salute?
Protest is American. The country was formed from the fire, bullets and blood of protest. After the landmark decision in Somerset v. Stewart in England in 1772 holding that “a master could not seize a slave in England and detain him preparatory to sending him out of the realm to be sold” and that habeas corpus was a constitutional right available to slaves to forestall such seizure, deportation and sale because they were not chattel, or mere property, they were servants and thus persons invested with certain (but certainly limited) constitutional protections.” The slave holding and merchant class’ in the American colonies feared that slavery would be outlawed here and thus, the American Revolution was born.
Despite the unfounded ranting of President Trump, peaceful protest and the right to assemble are protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. The press is not the “enemy of the people”. Au contraire, “The only security of all is in a free press.” They go a long way towards making America, America.
Donald Trump loves the fanfare, the hype, the pomp and circumstance of the flag and the National Anthem but hates and is attacking The Constitution.
Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the nationally broadcast call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Wilmer Leon,” on SiriusXM Satellite radio channel 126. Go to www.wilmerleon.com or email: [email protected] www.twitter.com/drwleon and Dr. Leon’s Prescription at Facebook.com