I really don’t care about football. I really don’t care about the Superbowls or endorsement ads or deflated gates, I don’t care. Now if you took my lack of caring for that and quantified it exponentially, then you have how much I care about mainstream media’s opinion on things. Honestly, before the last few days I had never heard of Colin Kaepernick. I’m sure he is a fine athlete and worked hard to get his job, but I was as aware of him as he is of me. This is neither an indictment nor an endorsement of him remaining seated during the national anthem. He is exercising his free speech whilst those who are outraged and offended are exercising theirs. It’s America through and through, instant controversy over a meaningless game followed by reanalysis.
This latest fiasco is just one many where someone does the unexpected during a national anthem. Even the laziest Google search will corroborate that fact. People have been getting offended during America’s special song for so long. Somehow I doubt that Francis Scott Key wrote this song knowing the ire that would be raised by non participants or etiquette breakers. Beyond that, I highly doubt that he intended it be sung before every team sports event across the land. Does the audience there, eager to be entertained gain anything from it? Do we feel more patriotic afterwards? Does anyone really care? I think not, so I say we stop using it.
The national anthem at events is just one more piece of pomp and circumstance not necessary for anyone’s enjoyment of an event. The patrons are just there to have fun. Realistically it’s use is pretty inconsistent. It is used before every tee ball and pee wee soccer game but not before a sold out concert. It is sung with gusto during a parade, but not before a car auction. So why use it at all? If it is going to be a lighting rod for controversy, why not reserve it for political events and the like. Wheel out the anthem for big ceremonial events and not every trite, third tier semi pro ball game. Everyone just cooperates out of programming and routine. We put our hands over our hearts like our elementary teacher taught us to. It is just a red, white and blue lullaby for most people ready to see what they bought their tickets for.
I’m sure the ‘freedom isn’t free’ crowd will object to this. They believe that flag ought be worshipped and the scriptures of the anthem sung. Fine, exercise your fundamental human rights. Embrace your ruler. I just don’t think it matters at all. Patriotism isn’t mitigated by participation in a song. Stop using the anthem as a tool to provoke ostracism to those with different opinions. Stop forcing political agendas into our light-hearted entertainment. Stop assuming you know the founding father’s opinions on events this trivial. Just stop. Why don’t we just let the people get their popcorn and and stop delaying the game. Why don’t we just accept that it wastes time and drags out the entire event? No one came to hear the national anthem. Let’s keep some perspective, it’s still just a guy sitting during a song.
Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here or download his e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.