In a recent story, I wrote about the conflicting irony of burning the American flag. You're allowed to insult America, thanks to the freedoms that are uniquely provided by America. It almost seems disgraceful and schizophrenic, but it's true. The very right that allows you to say what you want allows you to spit on the country that gives you that right.
While I find burning the American flag deplorable, I maintain that such a bold statement should be reserved so that a person can use it to communicate a strong opinion. It is a powerful way to draw the public's attention to a pressing issue- like protesting an unjust war.
Though most of the flag-burning we see today is the result of entitled, selfish children protesting a free election (one in which many of them didn't even vote).
But that's one of the ironic aspects of our country that makes it greater than any other. Granting freedom to people means they might abuse it. Allowing someone to worship any way they choose means they might worship a god you don't believe in, or practice witchcraft, or worship no god at all!
Giving people the right to bear arms means that a few people will want to use guns to harm others. That doesn't mean the millions who use guns for sport, hunting, or personal defense should be denied their rights. It means with freedom comes certain challenges, challenges that are often addressed with the very freedoms given.
This is especially true of the freedom of speech, perhaps our most important right. Freedom of speech is vital to protect every other right. It allows people to express dissent toward our government- when it is proved to be in the wrong. It allows people to promote their work and ideas- a key to a thriving economy and working class. It allows people to express themselves creatively, without which there'd be no art or entertainment industries.
But freedom of speech also allows people to say terrible things. It gives white supremacists the right to form the KKK and spew hatred toward black Americans and other races. It gives black activists the right to form Black Lives Matter and spew hatred toward cops and white Americans.
It gives the freedom for the many, many idiots online to troll, pester, and make bombastic claims.
So do these bad seeds mean we should restrict freedom of speech? As I wrote before, of course not. But it does create a strange sort of situation.
With the election of Donald Trump we've seen many people- online, in the streets, and in the media--spewing all kinds of hatred. Based on warped stories and outright lies, they believe Trump is some kind of racist, fascist, or worse. While we can debate how wrong they are, the fact remains this has left plenty of people crying out "He's not my president!"
While technically they are correct, as he will not become President until the inauguration, they are stating that for the next four years, they refuse to acknowledge Trump's authority in this country.
This is nothing new. You can find people in 2008 who claimed Obama wasn't their president. I'm sure throughout our history, you'll find people who- upset over election results- claimed the winner would not, nor ever would be, their president.
It's as empty a statement as saying you'd move to Canada should your rival win. That has been a popular refrain for many years, one that celebrities always renege on. The humor in saying Trump is not your President, is it won't make him any less your President.
President Trump will be passing laws, appointing leaders, and running the country for the next four years. Unless you expatriate yourself (i.e. give up your citizenship and move away), he's your President.
As Milo said:
Speaking about the recent celebrities that claimed they would emigrate to Canada if Donald Trump were to become president and the leftist praise that Cuban dictator Fidel Castro received upon his death, MILO said, “We know Hollywood loves communists, but they wouldn’t even go to Venezuela. I did publish a plan this week to help them out. My simple proposal, the MILO Plan, is to relocate Hollywood celebrities, journalists, and anyone else too scared to live in Trump’s America… to Cuba. They can culturally appropriate the food, and maybe even the poverty and misery of living under a brutal dictator.” (via Breitbart)
Outside of doing that, there's nothing you can do to alter the reality that Trump's the man. What he does will affect your life in America, whether you stick your fingers in your ears and ignore him or not.
Listen, I never voted for Obama. Both times, when he won, I accepted that decision. I never made the bogus claim that he was not my President. I certainly disagreed with many of his decisions, but I respected the office and hoped for the best.
In a nation that values freedom of expression, thought, and speech, you will get people who dislike its leadership. That's normal. In fact, it's vital or our nation's growth. Without people with differing ideas, we can never progress and improve. We need to welcome the very best ideas, challenge what we think is true, in order to ensure our country is truly by the people and for the people. There is a difference in disagreeing with the President and flat-out refusing to acknowledge his impact on your life.
There is an inherent danger in abusing your rights as an American. Hating the President, or saying he's not your President, doesn't hurt him, it hurts you. You are negating your right to be a part of the conversation. It's like those people who complain about our government but don't vote. How do they expect to help change the situation if they refuse to be a part of the solution?
By saying Trump is not your president, you are saying you want no part in the next four (or eight) years of American society. You may be living here, but you are like a tumbleweed, being blown about in the breeze.
Even Democrats in Washington or at the state level will have to acknowledge Trump's authority if they ever hope to work with him. Even with a conservative in the White House, cooperative Democrats can make strides for their party and supporters, provided they are willing. But belligerent media, protesters, and politicians who are already opposing the man can expect a frosty reception come January 20.
Then there is this little irony:
The growing number of anti-American protests during pro football is now hitting the broadcast networks in the wallet as advertisers demand refunds on their advertising costs because of falling ratings.
The negative effect on the NFL of the anti-American national anthem protests started by San Francisco 49ers second-string quarterback Colin Kaepernick is coming more sharply into focus each week. Firstly, ratings have been tumbling week over week and now another metric to measure the effect has appeared as TV networks have now been forced to begin giving money back to advertisers because not as many people are watching football to be exposed to their TV commercials. (via Breitbart)
Kaepernick and his followers' hypocrisy of protesting a nation that allows them to be rich, famous athletes are in line with those that resist President-Elect Trump. Kaepernick and these other football players may have legitimate concerns about our country. They have the right to express those concerns and work to make things better. But by insulting the very country and values that made them popular and wealthy destroys the respect and credibility they hold with other Americans.
How can you expect Americans to support you when you don't even respect their country? The fallout of falling ratings and death of ad dollars is only the beginning. These athletes will soon lose their jobs or get pushed back to the benches, and begin even to lose the platform they had in the first place. All because they'd rather throw up their hands like babies than work to fix these perceived injustices.
Yes, as an American you can hate the President. You even have the freedom to express that hatred through protests, blogs, and other forms of expression. But if you truly care about this country and making it a better place, than you would put aside your childish hurt feelings and do your part.
America isn't America unless its people are a part of the conversation.