On Saturday, a Twitter thread went viral after citing portions of U.S. Flag Code which, the writer asserts, are regularly violated by the average American.
Leftist media sources like Huffington Post and Quartz leaped at the opportunity to mock flyover Americans for their alleged hypocrisy, and a quick topical search of “Colin Kaepernick” on HuffPo shows that they’ve supported him and other kneelers over and over and over again, not simply in their right to protest but the overarching claim that an unjust America doesn’t deserve such reverence.
Quick digression: no one (intelligent) has made the argument that the Kaepernick crowd has no constitutional right to sit or kneel or otherwise peacefully protest the national anthem. However, I’ve heard several of my Leftist friends who are incapable of making a legitimate argument set this up as a strawman in order to pick apart an easy target. Of course he has a right to kneel, just as I have a right to call him an ungrateful moron for doing so. We have the right to do a great many stupid things in America, but that doesn’t mean that the proper response is to do every stupid thing at our disposal. The right to burn the American flag should not be celebrated by burning the American flag, just as the right to drink alcohol shouldn’t result in a constant state of inebriation. But back to the thread.
The Left may never understand this, but there is a massive difference between politics and patriotism.
The intent of this thread is clear: to equate touting a t-shirt with the image of an American flag with actively protesting America’s honor and virtue by kneeling during the national anthem and claiming that the country systematically “oppresses black people and people of color,” as Kaepernick has.
Many Leftists are branding this an epic “gotcha!” moment, but it operates on two flawed premises: 1) that all violations of Flag Code are inherently equal, and 2) that the tweeter’s interpretation of Flag Code is factually accurate.
When discussing apparent violations of U.S. Flag Code, there are three things that absolutely must be considered, assuming the intent is to have a reasoned, intelligent conversation.
As much as possible, I want to limit this discussion to the legal question at hand, shelving the broader debate concerning how the NFL, Colin Kaepernick, ESPN, Donald Trump, and the average American should respond. The NFL has already been clear that this is a political issue for them, not one of free speech. Their bias in selective enforcement of uniform policy, for instance, is obvious. So I’ll try to shy away from the politics of the debate and stick to the facts.
Here are the three steps to use in evaluating Flag Code:
1: U.S. Flag Code Is Empty Law
By this, I mean that it is unenforceable. As such, you might say that the provisions are more guidelines than actual rules. The Supreme Court decided in United States v. Eichman (1990) that the criminalization of flag burning was unconstitutional, making anything less (and almost anything else is less) unquestionably justified from a First Amendment standpoint. This also means that, should you and I disagree on how to interpret existing Flag Code, which is certainly plausible, there is no jurisprudence to back up either of our claims. If we can’t convince each other, we’ll have to agree to disagree; there’s not much clear-cut right or wrong here.
Additionally, as we’ll see in a moment, since Flag Code bears no legal weight, its adherence has traditionally become more of attitude than of action.
2: What Does the Code Actually Say?
Interpretations aside, several of the claims made in the Twitter thread are factually bunk. Some are true, and we’ll identify those as well. But it’s essential that we approach this topic truthfully.
One of the tweets includes this misleading statement: “Not covered in the ‘Respect for Flag’ section; standing/kneeling/sitting. That’s considered a conduct violation, not disrespectful.” The flawed premise here is that only violations of the “Respect for Flag” section are considered disrespectful, which is simply untrue; all violations of flag code are considered such. The tweeter assumes that because one item falls under Title 36, Chapter 10, §171. Conduct During Playing, and the other Title 36, Chapter 10, §176. Respect for Flag, that the two categories should not be measured equally.
But let’s address each claim individually, each from subsections of Title 36, Chapter 10, §176. Respect for Flag:
The first claim cites, “(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free” and features images of the popular spreading of a large flag across a sporting field. This is accurate, but it will be discussed in my third section. Factually, it is valid.
Next, “(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery,” with images of flag-stamped clothing, such as shirts, socks, swimwear, etc. I take issue with his interpretation here, as I see a legal distinction between “the flag” and “the image of the flag.” A pair of pants made from a retired flag, for instance, would be inappropriate. A pair of pants bearing the image of the flag, I disagree. A more legitimate grievance for this section could have been the practice of Olympic champions to drape the flag around their shoulders following victory, though even this might not qualify as “wearing apparel” or “drapery.” This claim is murky at best.
The following excerpt is separated into three tweets: “(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.”
On advertising, I would again cite “the flag” vs. “the image of the flag,” although “any manner whatsoever” could arguably include both. The embroidery and printing/impression of the flag undoubtedly refer to the image, as these designs are inherently artistic reproductions of the flag, not the flag itself. Thus, for the three tweets in subsection (i), the first is arguable, and the other two are valid.
Lastly, “(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.” Again, there is a legitimate distinction between “the flag” and “the image of the flag.”
3: What Is the Intent?
If you see no distinction between burning a flag and putting its image on a throw pillow, you’re an idiot. I don’t know how to tell you more subtly that your brain cells are likely on the brink of extinction.
Flag Code states that the flag should be hung “union left,” meaning that the stars should be in the upper left corner, vertically or horizontally. So if a woman hangs her flag vertically but (mistakenly) simply rotates it 90 degrees, making it union right, is she disrespecting the flag? Legally, yes. But in her heart, not remotely. This is not the ideal, and it is technically inappropriate, but her intent is clearly to honor her country.
What if a man posts his flag just before leaving for work, rather than at sunrise as suggested? Again, this is not the ideal, but his intent is to honor the flag and display American pride.
Spreading the flag across the outfield at a baseball game, though technically inappropriate, is intended to declare the same message as the playing of the anthem itself: reverence, loyalty, and unity.
These infractions are in no way comparable to outright protest against the flag and the republic for which it stands. I would love to see the Left characterize kneeling, sitting, or stretching during the national anthem as a manifestation of love and reverence for America, or even a desire to unify the public around its ideals.
As a black, liberal, retired Marine expresses in Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing,” it is undeniably your right to protest the flag and the anthem, but don’t pretend for a second that it makes you equally patriotic with those who stand at attention with hand over heart.
The Left may never understand this, but there is a massive difference between politics and patriotism.
Unlike the writer of this viral thread, I won’t conclude by suggesting that Leftists look in the mirror, as I support their Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. But I will say this: if you want America to be Europe, go to Europe; if you want to show your love for America, display the flag proudly and don’t mislabel its mistreatment as heroism; and if you want to sound intelligent, read a book.
The AAF is the NFL’s newest worry
Two months ago, the NFL’s long-term demise may have been spelled by the revival of the XFL. The XFL was initially a football league in 2001, but now Vince McMahon wants to revive it. While announcements about the XFL have been dormant since January, a new player is emerging and faster. The Alliance of American Football or the AAF has been formed and will play a 2019 season the week after the Superbowl.
The AAF, in contrast, Vince McMahon and the XFL have given more concise answers to the many questions asked. Make no mistake, the AAF is a substantially more potent threat than the XFL. The AAF not only is going to begin a year earlier but also has TV contracts ready with CBS. The AAF will also stream games and incorporate fantasy football.
The biggest reason the AAF is a threat is management. The AAF is founded by Charlie Ebersol, who has worked for the NFL and sports media. He even made a documentary as to why the 2001 XFL failed. The AAF also has a number of credible football players serving as executives and advisers. Among them are Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu, Jared Allen, and Justin Tuck. The AAF also has the legendary team builder and executive Bill Polian. A B-List idea with A-Team management is a recipe for success in business. This is why the AAF has garnered the backing of venture capitalist firms such Founders Fund featuring the country’s top VC, Peter Thiel ad Cherning Group.
The AAF during its announcement stated that it would fill a void where the NFL ends in February. In this void, many sports fans stop watching sports and stop participating in fantasy sports. The AAF also wants to reach the large pool of college football players who don’t wind up in the NFL. Other sports have multiple professional leagues in the NFL.
The AAF will have 8 teams, 10 games, and a two-week playoff. In eliminating injuries and maintaining excitement, the AAF is eliminating the kickoff, and will instead start the 25-yard line. For teams seeking an onside kick, will have 4th and 10 on their 35. The extra point is eliminated; teams have to go for 2. Teams will have two replays a game. To speed the game, the play clock will be 30 seconds, matching the increasing pace of the game. The AAF will also change the way players are compensated with win bonuses, stat bonuses, and fan engagement bonuses. On top of these bonuses, the league will also provide scholarships for their future off the field.
For fans, the tickets and concessions will be cheap. This is in sharp contrast to the NFL where tickets prices are rising even for mediocre teams. TV timeouts will also be done away with. Commercials will only take place during natural breaks. In April the cities will be announced. Note: they’ve already been decided, but they want us talking about it later, something that isn’t happening with the XFL.
Just looked it up – Super Bowl 53 is being broadcast on CBS. Which means that the AAF will get free promo time during the Super Bowl, and ostensibly during AFC games as well. Yep, the XFL is fucking TOAST.
— Sign Pointing Enthusiast (@BostonNooga) March 20, 2018
The NFL… The CFL… The XFL… and now… The AAF – Alliance of American Football launches in 2019. https://t.co/I3qsye0nTa
— Kevin Jesus (@GlobalJesus) March 20, 2018
— XFL Show (@XFLShow) March 21, 2018
There's room for a pro football minor league in this country, whether it's the XFL or AAF. It exists for baseball, basketball, hockey and soccer. The problem is thinking either is going to compete with the NFL. It's not but there's a real opprotunity for a developmental league.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) March 21, 2018
Unlike the XFL, the Alliance of American Football announced its existence with far more questions answered. While the Alliance didn’t touch on the National Anthem or criminal records, they also answered far more questions about their gameplay than Vince McMahon’s vague announcement. While the NFL has a complement in the Alliance of American Football, this alliance may in years to come be a fierce competitor. In the meantime, rather than being disruptive, Charlie Ebersol and his staff are focusing on being useful. This strategy is far more conducive to long-term success.
Billy Graham and the emergence of Christian media.
From the start, Billy Graham was a media magnet and he knew how to use the power of media. Even most liberals and progressives (although there were exceptions like William Edelen and the Gaylor family/FFRF) could not shoot down this man who wore his faith on the sleeve and actually respected Graham.
Did you know that without Billy Graham, Christian media as we know it today might not have taken off and flourished? In his time and prime there was a Federal Council of Churches that consisted of mostly mainline churches and basically fought to keep “evangelical voices” off the air on both radio and even TV when it was brand new (follow the attendance and the money). When Graham became president of Northwestern Bible College in 1948, he through the college applied for one of the construction permits that the Federal Communications Commission approved of in the 1940’s. Northwest Bible College got the green light from the FCC and a year later KTIS AM signed on in the Twin Cities. Today Northwestern Media owns 18 radio stations (9 FM, 9 AM) and in honor of what Graham did continues to be the media outreach of what is now called the University of Northwestern. You can read more about Graham and Northwestern Media here.
Soon after Northwestern Media and Graham’s inroads into mainstream media, others quickly followed. Most notably Percy Crawford who began his TV program “Youth on the March” on the fleeting ABC Network who also carried Graham’s “Hour of Decision” on their radio network. In 1958 Crawford started his namesake radio company to buy up radio stations and carry full-time Christian formatted programming. Percy Crawford would pass away in October 1960, but his son Don and later grandson Don Jr. would carry on his legacy to this day. While Moody Bible Institute was in radio since 1925, their respected radio network did not talk off until 1958. The same year that the Crawford Broadcasting Company started.
Another important Christian broadcaster Dick Bott grew up in a Christian home and while no stranger to Christian evangelism choose a different path. After marrying his wife, Bott got involved in her father’s radio station selling ads that would air on the respected station. He would later buy and operate a secular station in Salinas/Monterey, California which Bott would eventually sell off. Bott was compelled to build a radio station on consistent Christian programming but with integrity and accountability. Bott bought a country music station in the Kansas City metropolitan area and quickly changed the format and call letters. The station that was KANS-AM became KCCV 760 AM “Kansas City’s Christian Voice” in 1962. It and its FM simulcast sister with the same call letters are still the flagship stations of the now “Bott Radio Network” which consists of now 118 stations that it owns. In 1966 Warren Bolthouse stated Family Life Broadcasting (aka Family Life Radio or FLR) which today owns 43 stations and is now based on Tucson, Arizona.
In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s Lester Sumrall made his inroads into Christian media stating with WHME-FM in South Bend, Indiana and later into TV with the acquisition of WHMB-TV in Indianapolis and later the sign on of WHME-TV in South Bend. These three stations laid the groundwork for LeSea Broadcasting. Paul and Jan Crouch started their own TV programming with would become known as the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) in 1973. The Bible Broadcasting Network signed on in 1971 with a single station in Norfolk, Virginia growing to 49 full power stations.
An FM rock station in Orange County, California KYMS 106.3 which could not compete with the more powerful rock signals of KMET (now KTWV) and KLOS in the greater Los Angeles area found its niche with the emerging Jesus people in 1975. In addition to Christian teaching and talk programs, KYMS also played the fleeting “Jesus Music” that was popular with that respected audience and while KYMS was not the very first Contemporary Christian Music station (that honor went to a station in Lincoln, Nebraska), it was the first one that was successful. KYMS’s run as a Contemporary Christian station would last for 20 years. WHME-FM would jump on this music and eventually spinning it off on a station of its own in the 1990’s. Northwestern Media’s FM stations and FLR would also adopt a CCM format in due time.
Radio broadcaster Bob Anthony also caught on to this emerging genre and would be one of the founders of Educational Media Foundation which signed on a single FM station in Santa Rosa, California in 1982 playing Contemporary Christian music. Today EMF owns and operates over 245 radio stations with its Christian music services K-Love and Air1. Another radio company devoted to Christian programming also was started up around this time. This for-profit company was founded by Stuart Epperson and Edward G. Atsinger III and they still head up this company we know today as Salem Media Group. In the late 1980’s Bob and Felice Augsburg started up what would become know as WayMedia and it’s Way-Fm brand which originally targeted Christian youth with Christian Music that appealed to that respected audience.
The list is almost endless with so many other Christian broadcasters over the years and many not as big as the ones I listed. For better and for worse the Christian media we take for granted, even in the new media likely would not have happened had it not been for Billy Graham.
History repeats itself: Once again the National media praises a Socialist Dictatorship.
Being like-minded is the only reasonable explanation for this behaviour.
The occasion was the Olympic games with the national media falling all over itself to heap praise upon the a leadership of a socialist regime. But instead of a murderous socialist regime in North Korea, it was a murderous socialist regime in Germany just before WWII:
“Foreigners who know Germany only from what they have seen during this pleasant fortnight can carry home only one impression: it is that this is a nation happy and prosperous beyond belief, that Hitler is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, political leaders in the world today, and the Germans themselves are a much-maligned, hospitable, holy, peaceful people who deserve the best the world can give them.” New York Times, editorial August 16, 1936
Presumably this was before the nonsensical ‘Godwin’s law’ made the mentioning of Socialist monsters of the past verboten. Curiously enough, this is primarily used by Leftists in trying to suppress discussions of their blood soaked history. ‘Never forget’ is extremely difficult when one can ‘Never Mention’ the murderous past and present of the collectivist ideology.
Back then the New York Times had a bit more balance in it’s coverage with these headlines:
100,000 Hail Hitler; U.S. Athletes Avoid Nazi Salute To Him;
U.S. Welcome Is Mixed, Whistling Interpreted as ‘Bronx Cheer’ Is Heard as Team Gives Its Own Salute.
So why are we witness to a somewhat similar display from the national media reporting on the representatives from another Socialist nation, one that hails from North Korea instead of Germany?
Could it be they are merely ignorant that they are helping that authoritarian regime and do not understand it’s true nature? A government that starves, tortures imprisons and publicly executes it’s own people?
Was it as some have suggested in these cases, cheering for the rebel or the underdog?
Perhaps it is their way somehow going after the Trump administration?
Or could it just be that they are of the same ideological mindset?
We can dispense with giving them the benefit of the doubt. These are people of allegedly high intelligence, as is most of the Socialist-Left – Just ask them. With few exceptions – namely Buzzfeed of all places – it is hard to believe they do not understand the role they are playing with the woman who heads the ‘Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Nor can they be excused of not knowing the horrors taking place in what is essentially an open air concentration camp. Again, these are people who fashion themselves as the intellectual elite of the nation, the crème de la crème of the Left, standing up for the downtrodden everywhere, except North Korea.
It’s also hard to believe that the National media is really cheering for the underdog, given that description hardly extends a Germany under the iron fist of the Nationalsozialistische deutsche Arbeiter-Partei or the Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik. It should also be clear that the national media has a history of this kind of advocacy that existed long before Trump ascended the public stage.
So, the obvious conclusions is that they are of the same collectivist mindset. No doubt if pressed, they would offer the same excuses for the starvation, oppression and mass murder used for other collectivist nations as ‘not really socialism.’ Or that the Socialism they advocate (were they truly honest about who they are) would be ‘done correctly’ in their case.
No, these were merely people cheering for their ideological brethren, and we’ll just leave it at that.