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America: love her when she’s right. Right her when she’s wrong.

Also at the immigration rally in NYC. Just a cool photo of some flags.

In 2006, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder was killed in Iraq. The Westboro Baptist Church picketed his funeral because according to them ‘God Hates Gays’ more than he hates war.

Albert Snyder, Matthew’s father, sued the “church” and it went through the courts. Snyder lost his case and was ordered to pay all court costs. When the ruling came down I was sitting in the radio studio and I was livid.

“What the hell is wrong with this country? This isn’t justice!” My producer, Dave, just shook his head at me through the glass. We went to a break. He opened the window.

“What exactly was that soldier fighting for, Shannyn? Didn’t he take an oath to defend the Constitution? Doesn’t that include the freedom of speech? Especially when you don’t agree with it?” he said.

“Damn it, Dave. Can’t I just have some outrage even though I’m totally wrong?” The short answer was no. We wouldn’t need the right to free speech if we only said things everyone else agreed with.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I wrote columns about sports instead of politics. Oh, I could spend hours spinning up the latest cricket match, why soccer isn’t boring even when the winners keep their shirts on, or how I’m already dreading baseball next spring without David Ortiz on the roster.

Like so many times in history, politics has found it’s way into our sports scene. I realize this dismays some, including our president, but I welcome it. Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem has found it’s way to our very own football fields with six West High players doing the same, and even Anchorage Assembly member Patrick Flynn took a knee during the Pledge of Allegiance at Tuesday’s meeting.

Dear sweet baby Jesus, I am so sick of the whining from faux patriots. Assembly member Amy Demboski said she was offended, as a veteran, by Flynn’s act of solidarity with those trying to bring attention to the epidemic of dead people of color in this country.

I’ve never accused Ms. Demboski of being a scholar, but did she read the oath she took when joining the service? Did she “unvow” when she left the military? Patrick Flynn is exercising his rights, and it’s a good thing Amy isn’t in charge of defending them.

It’s not just her. Even President Barack Obama has joined in. “I want Mr. Kaepernick and others who are on a knee to listen to the pain that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing.”

Really? On the list of offenses to our troops – being lied into a war, not having adequate care on their return, and surviving the longest war in our nation’s history — a football player kneeling before a ball game is their problem?

The part that should burn your cookies is the paid patriotism relationship between the Department of Defense and the NFL. Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, released a 146-page congressional report last year that revealed the Pentagon has paid over $10 million to the NFL for “patriotic presentations.”

Sports journalist Stephen A. Smith told ESPN, “Up until 2009, no NFL player stood for the national anthem because players actually stayed in the locker room as the anthem played. The players were moved to the field during the national anthem because it was seen as a marketing strategy to make the athletes look more patriotic. The United States Department of Defense paid the National Football League $5.4 million between 2011 and 2014 and the National Guard (paid the NFL) $6.7 million between 2013 and 2015 to stage on-field patriotic ceremonies as part of military recruitment and budget-line items.”

So, when team owners like Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboy’s makes statements about how disappointed he is in Kaepernick’s “freedom of speech,” it’s a little hollow. He’s been taking money from the government to encourage his football players to be cheerleaders for the military.

America doesn’t have a military junta. The willingness of our soldiers to defend our rights isn’t dependent on them agreeing with us. If the biggest problem you can see is a football player who isn’t falling into line with paid patriotism then you aren’t paying attention.

If you want to defend the troops and their honor? Vote for leaders who aren’t excited to march us off to another war or who are willing to fund what it takes to take care of our veterans. They fight for our right to vote. They fight for our right to protest.

America: love her when she’s right. Right her when she’s wrong.



5 Responses to “America: love her when she’s right. Right her when she’s wrong.”
  1. MoonTruth says:

    Thanks, Shannyn, for reporting the back story we never see in the corporate media news.

    Yeah, I thought it was a bit over the line to see the U.S. Army sponsoring a NASCAR entrant, so it doen’t surprise me they’re subsidizing the NFL, too.

    My Dad had bad PTSD from WWII, and it affected our entire family permanently. War is great for defense contractors, but war is hell for a lot of the people who have to serve in it. I know another guy who was drafted into service during the Vietnam war and who made the mistake of showing off what a good shot he was during his boot camp days from his prior deer hunting days in Pennsylvania… He ended up being assigned an MOS as a behind-enemy-lines sniper in Vietnam. He told me if he’d seen that coming, he would have aimed away from the bulls-eye during boot camp weapons training.

  2. mike from iowa says:

    Snookie Pac gave Drumpf 5 grand this quarter. Wonder if she is bucking for minister of tanning beds in a Drumpf WH? Also saw where some pastors are encouraging parishioners to vote for Drumpf. They claim if he is elected, dog will kill him and let Pence be Potus. Sounds good to me.

  3. mike from iowa says:

    Good news for Alaska X 2. First Alaska is receiving a million plus bucks to help clear up backlog of rape kits. Secondly, studies show female Alaska squirrels do more work than males. Good on you, Alaska.

  4. mike from iowa says:

    Somebody forgot to apprise Dingbat Drumpf of the rules. They also forgot to teach him how to share and get along with others. Everything good about America is just a tool for Drumpf to use to disparage any and every one. When Donnie Drumpf**k is finally done you can stick a fork in America because…..

  5. Pancho says:

    I got a haircut on Saturday. The customer just before me was a Marine Corps vet, of “30 years,” he claimed. He and the barber commiserated over Kaepernick’s silent protest. They also complained about “Black Lives Matter. The bad part is the ex-jarhead was black. They were criticizing U.S. foreign policy as well. The marine, “Larry,” told the usual tall tales about Viet Nam and Cambodia. So I asked him if he had been in ‘Nam. He said he had. Now he was barely graying at the temples, so I asked how old he was. He said he was 62. The math didn’t work out, so he said he was “sent in” in ’75 with four other guys and went all the way to Cambodia. Now that was complete bunk. All the U.S. troops except embassy security personnel were gone by ’73. I am reminded of Brad Bradley’s tall tales about being a “P.O.W.” in ‘Nam. That probably cost Brad’s reelection and elected David Finkelstein, instead. (Ann Spohnholtz got to serve, briefly, while the election was done over.) Vets were so disgusted with Bradley’s tall tales, they barred him from their meetings. We hear a lot about vets, in AK. Ohio Dan Sullivan made light colonel, but he did so when his major defense contractor family (RPM Industries) put retired General Abizaid on their board, gave him a million dollars worth of stock, and he petitioned the Pentagon to promote Danny Boy, who had no combat experience, and it overruled his two endorsers who were against it. Joe Miller brags about his Bronze Star, hopes we think it was for “Valor,” but he probably never heard a shot fired in anger in the “war” where the U.S. lost more troops to “friendly fire” than to the enemy. Patriotism, indeed, is “the last refuge of scoundrels.” I spent two years in Viet Nam protesting the war, by the way. I wasn’t the only one.