“9/11 American Flag” by MalNino 

I don’t know how to be a good American anymore. When standing for the National Anthem is racist, brother, you lost me.

Back when I was kid everyone knew how to be a good American. We learned the Pledge of Allegiance. We solemnly recited it every school-day morning with our hands over our hearts. If we were caught cutting up during the pledge our teacher would, in a patriotic and nurturing manner, murder us.

We knew the words to “My Country Tis of Thee” and “America the Beautiful,” too. At least we knew the first stanza or so. No one knew the complete words to any patriotic song. That was sort of a National standard, too – not knowing all the words. First stanzas was all you needed to know to be a good American.

The National Anthem started every Little League baseball game I ever played. We stood in a line, hats over our hearts and we all sang the first set of lyrics. By “sang” I mean we sort of mumbled the lyrics. That’s how most folks sang the National Anthem – sort of under your breath so no one else could hear you singing. There was always at least one patriotic old war veteran in the stands that sang it at the top of his lungs. We tried not to laugh at him while we stood there hats over our hearts. But laugh we did until our coach reminded us if we didn’t want to be run to death at the next practice we better shut up.

I look back now and think we could use more old men singing the National Anthem at the top of their lungs these days.

If you refused to stand for the National Anthem in my day you had better be in a wheel chair otherwise you might wind up in one. People took that standing thing serious. Everyone clapped after the National Anthem finished, too. We ball players tossed our hats in the air.

See, the way we saw it, the two-minutes we stood shoulder-to-shoulder while the National Anthem played signified that, no matter what internal strife we experience within our fellow countrymen, we were still a united people. We were the United States of America. We believed being united made our country strong, because if it came down to it, red or yellow, black or white – everyone had everyone else’s back.

That’s why, when I see someone kneeling during the National Anthem, I no longer consider them an American. Citizenship is just a technicality. Being an American is more than that. I don’t care about their motives or what point they are trying to get across by kneeling. There is a time and a place to protest, my friend, and when the the national anthem is playing ain’t the time and ain’t the place. Any way you cut it, it is anti-America.

In my grandfather’s day, they knew how to turn the tide of anti-American sentiment.

He was a coal miner who worked with immigrants from around the world. Every now and then one of them would make an anti-American comment. My grandfather and his friends did not argue with him. Instead, they got their pick axe handles and gave the guy a good old-fashioned lesson in patriotism. Their attitude was sort of – you have a right to your opinion; we have pick axe handles.

Once an immigrant from Italy bad-mouthed our president and said Benito Mussolini was a great man. He and my grandfather got into a murderous fist fight. The fight ended with my grandfather holding a knife to the guy until he admitted he might have been a tad hasty in assessment of both men. And for those of you who think this sort of behavior showed a lack of tolerance on my grandfather’s part, if you knew my grandfather, you’d understand the fact the guy walked away with his ears still attached showed a great deal of tolerance on his part.

He might have been a little short on diplomacy, my grandfather, but you can’t say he didn’t love his country.

I don’t know how to be a good American anymore, because I truly believe we need to bring the pick-axe handle solution of my grandfather’s era back to America.

If a teacher indoctrinates our nine-year-olds with her politics, drag her out of the classroom and pick-axe away.

If an Olympic athlete turns her back on the flag during the national anthem or threatens to burn the American flag on the Olympic podium, a pick axing we shall go.

If my government seriously considers forcing me, a man who has never owned a slave, to pay reparations to a man who has never been a slave, find the clowns who came up with that idea and educate through pick axing.

Of course, I am only kidding about pick axes. Baseball bats work just as well.

I don’t know how to be a good American anymore, because I don’t think there is a way to be a good American any more.

Facts don’t seem to matter any more. Common sense has been replaced by absurdity. Name calling has replaced debating the issues and mob rule is back in fashion via anonymous voices on the internet.

I honestly fear for my country. The path we are on is a dangerous one and the enlightened masses don’t seem to recognize it. I fear for my family; especially the generations who will reap the whirlwind of the lunacy this generation will leave for them. I pray for a course correction, but I fear what that course correction may be.

America was the fastest empire to rise. It could be the fastest to fall and the funny thing is, it isn’t a foreign influence that will cause it. We, Americans, are eroding our country from the inside. The allegiance part of our pledge of allegiance to this country is waning. The fundamental principles that engineered the most powerful and benevolent society earth, things like freedom of speech, are under fire.

The downward spiral has begun ladies and gentlemen and we will continue spiraling downward until every last one of us learns how to be a good American again. It starts with putting the “united” back in the United States,.

If not, its over.

Theodore Roosevelt said it best: “We can have no ’50-50’allegiance in this country. Either a man is an American and nothing else, or he is not an American at all.”