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American ideal still unmet

September 12, 2018
Lehigh Acres Citizen

To the editor:

It's time to set aside this ridiculous foofaraw over NFL players protesting at the playing of the National Anthem. The American flag stands for an ideal reflected in the line of the Declaration of Independence - that "all men are created equal." We, as a colony and as a nation, have never met this ideal. From the very beginning of what was to become the United States, the colonials rarely, if ever, respected the equality of Native Americans. Slave owners never respected the equality of those who survived the horror of the voyages from Africa to be sold at auction. Women were not considered to be equal under the law until the 20th century. Japanese were interned during World War II. Caucasian immigrants from other than Northern Europe have almost always suffered prejudice until their second- or third-generation were thoroughly assimilated. I am in that category and experienced that prejudice as a young boy during World War II as a second-generation American with an Italian name. Asian, black and brown Americans still experience it almost every day. So do Native Americans, Jews and women, irrespective of race, skin color or native language. And let us not forget LGBTQ.

So, the ideals represented by the flag are still not being met. The pro football players are not disrespecting the flag - they are protesting against those who ARE disrespecting what the flag represents and using the flag to justify their disrespect.

Some important points about the National Anthem: The poem written by Francis Scott Key, "The D'fence of Fort M'Henr" clearly has racist elements. Francis Scott Key was a racist.

He owned slaves, but although he freed some, he freed one to be his foreman over the ones he did not free

He was a prominent lawyer who defended by both slave owners and escaped slaves in court. As long as he was paid for their defense.

He was an anti-abolitionist.

He was in favor of returning all blacks to Africa rather than accepting them as free persons and part of American society, even though most of them were born in the USA and had no connection at all with Africa.

Note that in his poem, the last line of each stanza reads: "...land of the FREE, and the home of the brave."(Capitalization added for emphasis).

The opening line of the fourth stanza reads: "Oh, thus be it ever when FREE men shall stand between their loved homes and the war's desolation."

So, for Francis Scott Key, "the land of the free and the home of the brave" was reserved for free white males ONLY, who could trace their Caucasian lineage to Northern Europe.

Our president is hypocritical in his attack against those who are protesting the failure of many white Americans who, by their words and actions, disrespect what the flag represents. Indeed, his own behavior belies his wrapping himself in the flag he proclaims to respect: during the Vietnam War, he avoided the draft five times on a purported medical deferment for bone spurs in his heels, bone spurs that did not prevent him from playing on the baseball team at the New York Military Academy. I have bone spurs that showed on X-ray, but I received no deferment and served in Vietnam without any problems. The bone spurs are still there and, at 80 years old, they give me no problems.

Hypothetical question: If President Trump were to need a heart transplant, would he reject a matching donor heart from a black Hispanic muslim woman? Not that such an event could ever occur - to my knowledge, there are no black, Hispanic muslim women out there who have stone hearts.

Francis Calverase

Cape Coral

 
 

 

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