As a Canadian who enjoys the benefits of health care and lots of freedoms people in other countries don’t have, I watch with enjoyment the national anthem battle the U.S. president is having with his people.
Tuned in from the northern sidelines, us Canucks find it comical that a country (through its elected official) fights to deny people access to doctors and medical help unless they can pay for it themselves. Yet something as trivial — and you can disagree if you want — as not standing for a song is an outright sin makes you wonder what’s really important to Americans… well, at least their president.
As you’ve undoubtedly heard, Donald Trump insists that football players stand for The Star-Spangled Banner at their games. He feels it unpatriotic and disrespectful if people don’t salute that song and the country’s flag. He’s called NFL players “sons of bitches” and suggested they shouldn’t be in the U.S. if they see the anthem as a song to protest. The players have their reasons for not abiding by this strong-armed rule but Trump doesn’t want to hear what they have to say.
In fact, Trump has put more effort, energy and tweet characters into expressing his disdain for those rebels who kneel or stay in a locker room than helping people get medical help if they need it. (I think he’s also commented more about allowing trigger-happy Americans to keep their guns than working to get them free health care.)
When you hear Trump speak so passionately and convincingly that a person is un-American and should be kicked out of the U.S. if they don’t stand for a song it makes you wonder why that sort of patriotism is more important than the well being of a country’s people. Nobody has died from sitting during the song, as far as I know. Many people have died because they couldn’t afford a doctor or hospital visit.
It doesn’t surprise me that sports teams or individuals invited to the White House deny the request. They aren’t necessarily rejecting the country but rather the leader they greatly disagree with. The argument is that those invitees should respect the office of the president and view it as that instead of an invite from a person they don’t like.
I understand someone’s unwillingness to go to D.C. if the president has lashed out at their culture, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Sometimes it’s best to walk away if you know nothing productive or positive will come from the meeting. Life isn’t always about photo ops and ratings. Shocking, I know.
Part of me wonders if this is just one of those petty fights Trump likes to pick for the sake of stirring the pot. Because if the president truly thinks The Star-Spangled Banner is to be revered, he should try and learn the words since it doesn’t look like he knows the song. Now THAT is presidential.