Happy Flag Day America! How should we celebrate? A cookout? Fireworks? Or blind allegiance... I'm open.
Let's start with the history of this momentous holiday. It’s one that surely - on some level – is about bailing out the flag industry. According to the Internet however, the holiday commemorates the adoption of the flag on June 14, 1777 by resolution of the second continental congress. President Wilson made it an official holiday in 1916 and we've been saluting ever since.
If this day seems misplaced in your hearts or just particularly... awkward it's because this, our 102nd flag day comes in a time when half the country is attempting to usurp our little republic and the very flag that we celebrate. Not by an uprising or coup per se, but through public shame and monetary fines.
There’s no need to re-hash the "culture-war" argument that has become of athletes kneeling, and not just because the idea that civil disagreements over protected freedoms being rebranded as a culture war seems extremely Daughters of the Confederate. Mainly, it’s because we want to use this holiday to remind people of the facts:
FACT ONE: The constitution, which is the government's bible, protects our right to: protest, talk shit and disagree.
FACT TWO: Private organizations are well within their rights to abide by a code of conduct and to require their employees to do the same.
FACT THREE: It is unethical and possible illegal for any government official to use his or her platform to influence how private companies conduct business.
FACT FOUR: The NFL is a business and a company. Athletes are their employees not their slaves. They have rule but they also have rights.
FACT FIVE: The American flag as a symbol is wrapped in loaded patriotic dogma that was created to oppress people of color. To ignore the complicated relationship between America, American patriotism and people of color seems not only disrespectful but also ignorant.
FACT SIX: Veteran’s fight to protect the freedoms of the constitution. Two of those freedoms? them Free speech and the fact that people don't have "owners" anymore.
FACT SEVEN: Being disrespectful isn't a crime. It’s just not.
FACT EIGHT is less of a fact and more of a question:
In a world where corrupt governments like north Korea and Russia have influence over business and their access to success, a citizens personal views and choice to own and voice those views - depending on what they might be - could risk their livelihood and their life. Doesn't it feel sort of like a slippery slope that we decided to put a literal price on the assertion civil rights? Like, it feels like in an effort to nip this shit in the bud we've implemented a caste system where the poorer you are, the less access to freedom you have.
Let’s map out a scenario: If you’re a newly signed last round draft pick, you’re making around $550,000 a year. Half of that goes to taxes. Let’s also assume you’re married with 2 kids (because that’s the American dream). Your wife doesn’t work, because your kids are young, you’re never home and travel too much. So let say 100,000 is simply for their livelihood. Now you’ve got to live somewhere, and the mortgage on a decent house will be around $25,000 a year, a car payments on two nicer cars, maybe an additional $15,000 a year? Max out your retirement plan and that puts your at around $130,000 per year.
So if you're truly committed to your cause and your team is decent you could end up playing around 20 games a season. Which means you’re now at around $110,000 a year, which places in the same category as a public school superintendent. And while that may seem like a lot of money, add in the fact that you’ left college early to go pro, you’re money isn’t guaranteed and you could break a knee at any moment, a peaceful protest is risking 1/6th of your maximum earning potential.
Now I know that last part was a bit absurd and somewhat irrelevant to most, but it is something to think about. How comfortable would we be spending 1/6th of our income on freedom? More over, how comfortable are we that the government essentially asked for citizens be financially punished for speaking out?
Next time you think of the “culture-war” of athletes protesting just think of the facts and see where you end up.