With Liberty and Justice For ALL…Unless I Disagree.


Liberty is a tricky thing.

I mean it shouldn’t be, it’s really quite simple when defined.  To directly quote the definition I found online, liberty is, according to theology, “freedom from the bondage of sin. Generally, liberty is distinctly differentiated from freedom in that freedom is primarily, if not exclusively, the ability to do as one wills and what one has the power to do; whereas liberty concerns the absence of arbitrary restraints and takes into account the rights of all involved. As such, the exercise of liberty is subject to capability and limited by the rights of others.”

When the United States was founded, it was one of the first nations to be founded on principles of freedom and equality, or equality such as it applied to white men that is.

According to the 1776 United States Declaration of Independence, all men have a natural right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

Fantastic.  I am down with that.

God Bless America!  The land of the free…

Wait…unless you neglect to put your hand over your heart during the pledge of allegiance to the flag, you know, that flag that my grandpa fought for?  How dare you?  My grandpa fought for that flag!  You put your hand up onto that chest and stand there at attention in a symbolic gesture that is expected of you when out in public.

You sat down during the National Anthem?  How DARE you? Don’t you realize that you need to pay respect for your freedom that is afforded to you because my uncle is a veteran and served in the goddamn Vietnam War?  Because you have a problem with continued racial inequity?  You better leave this country!

You sat DOWN?

I mean never mind that some of our ancestors disguised themselves as natives and destroyed an entire shipment of tea to protest ongoing tyranny of Britain’s continued unwanted authority over a group of people who wanted liberty and we continue to hail that destructive protest as a heroic “party” in textbooks for the last couple centuries or so…

Boy you better stand up and salute, you disrespectful, insolent child.  This is not the place for your opinions.  Not during my football game.  You protest on your own time.

Since professional athlete Colin Kaepernick’s defiance of tradition, patriotism, and Jesus’s favorite sport, football, people have been frothing at the mouth.  The absolute vitriol would be comical if it wasn’t indicative of darker sentiments with ugly roots in racism and garden-variety hate.

“Who does he think he is?  He’s LUCKY to live in this free country of ours!  Now he better get on his KNEES at the next game and repent, so help me…”

“As a neighbor of a disabled vet, I am disgusted by such a disrespectful tantrum.  He’s a rich athlete and his parents aren’t even black so I don’t get it.  May God have mercy on his soul.”

I read a few more of these and it dawned on me:  For the same reason I cannot stomach religious zealotry, I am completely disgusted by these self-described patriots of convenience.

And so much of it bleeds together with people insisting that our country was founded on Christianity, that we’re a Christian nation, the convenience of forgetting that “Under God” wasn’t always in the Pledge of Allegiance that we GODDAMN WELL BETTER RECITE IN OUR SCHOOLS to show respect, and by gum you will not remove our almighty Capital L Lord from that chant…

We are a free country. But you better…

We fought for your freedom. But if you don’t…

The good lord gave you life, but don’t you dare…

The actions of people wanting to “Make America Great Again” and wrapping themselves in the American Flag and shaking the bible at folks and telling the foreigners to get out of “their America” have all but made patriotism a joke.  The people who have branded themselves patriots seem to be the absolute worst that our country has to offer, with their threats and their hatred, and then they – the folks who want to “Make America Great Again – scream a the top of their lungs at people who suggest that America, right now, may not be so great while calling attention to the serious problems in our country that seem to defy the message of love that others glean from the Christian bible?

“If you don’t like our great nation, you get out!”

Which is it?  Is it not great? Or is it great? Should we leave? Or try to fix it?

Maybe the “patriots” need to get together and let the rest of us know what subjects are acceptable to protest and when?

Which of us have a right to stand up for change in this country?

What is your definition of liberty? And when did you redefine it?

Last I checked, the definition of liberty wasn’t to live free in the absence of arbitrary restraints and takes into account the rights of all involved…unless it doesn’t adhere to what you feel shows respect, and in that case, shut your mouth and be thankful.

I know that the Declaration of Independence states that “all men” have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but I don’t think there’s anywhere in there that states, “unless that liberty and pursuit of happiness” makes you uncomfortable or interrupts your enjoyment of televised football by making you face the fact that people are fed up with racial inequality.

Aristotle stated that, “a man should live as he likes. This, they say, is the privilege of a freeman, since, on the other hand, not to live as a man likes is the mark of a slave.”

But for godssakes, Colin…do not sit down during a song that represents a country you don’t feel represents you.

That guy on Twitter’s interpretation of liberty will not stand for it.

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