American Apartheid

No less an authority than SCOTUS long ago ruled no one can be forced to cite the following:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one nation indivisible, with liberty and Justice for all.”

That’s the original phrase, as penned in 1892 by James B. Upham, one of the editors of something called The Youth’s Companion. The words “the flag of the United States of America” were substituted for “my Flag” in 1924; SCOTUS ruled in 1934.

The pledge was officially recognized by the U.S. government in 1942. In 1954 Eisenhower poked and prodded and Congress finally legislated that “under God” be added, for Thor knows what reasons. 1 2

That ’54 piece of legislation noted that men ‘should stand upright, hand over heart’, but did not mandate same.

The same goes for the Anthem: According to Title 36 (section 171) of the United States Code, “During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in (military) uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there.”

So we are clear: No one is legally mandated to stand for either the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem. That includes me and thee. That includes Colin Kaepernick and any other black athlete.

American Apartheid

The whole National Anthem at sporting event thang has its origins so rooted in advertorial need 3 that it’s ludicrous to seriously ascribe any serious patriotism to the spectacle. In any event today what is more usually displayed is the lackluster faux patriotism that ends up with a stadium of red ringing out “and the home of…THE CHIEFS!!!!!!”

Ironically enough this is tacitly (and one has to believe unconsciously) at odds with the troublesome military color guards that steadfastly march out the red, white, and blue at nearly all public events; knee-jerk patriotism in this day and age is de rigueur, yes,  yet Pavlovian for all of that.

Kaepernick first sat during the anthem back in 2016 to protest a nation allowing its police to murder black citizens. Only later did he bend the knee, in respect toward those serving who think of their service as a selfless sacrifice to their countrymen. 4

But after a divisive year that has seen even the Generalissimo weigh in, the difference between Kaepernick et al sitting or kneeling has changed neither America’s unique form of apartheid or those ruling it: Regardless Kaepernick et al‘s intent in protest,  the ruling class insists on obeisance being paid to the flag, to the anthem, to exactly that American apartheid. 5

Short of even more violence and bloodshed, that situation is unlikely to change.

American Apartheid

There seems to be in America just as many casually bigoted police willing to kill black men as suppressed KKK police eager to “thin the herd.” This is the natural extension of a nation (Murika!) built on apartheid; while illegal, it’s certainly an accepted practice. And that’s because the nation (Murika!!!) believes itself a moral authority 6, since we delinked these actions from their original, racist laws.

It has been acceptable practice in this country for over 100 years to casually murder black men, women and children.

And that’s unlikely to change without first a ton more bloodshed and violence.

None of which will have anything to do with The Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem except in the most peripheral way.

American Apartheid

Show 6 footnotes

  1. “In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war,” Eisenhower explained. Yep, that’s right – Eisenhower was a god-bother of the fist rank: Raised a Mennonite, Eisenhower was baptized as a Presbyterian in 1953, barely a year into his first term as president. Shortly after editing The Pledge, just a couple years later in ’56, “In God We Trust” became the official motto of the United States and has since been imprinted on all our paper currency. All this because of the superstitious beliefs of one man.
  2. However…to put this is perspective, the real reason was to differentiate America from the “Godless Communisis”; beat was already a thang, coffee-houses swarming with potential ‘traitors’ and fellow travelors. Again, it is useful to remember that religion is almost always used to prop up whatever political regime is in power.
  3. That fuckin’ Wriggly again.
  4. Which may or may not include Kaepernick; we’ve talked about this – there are easily as many political opinions among servicemen as there are enlistees.
  5. Want to see the ruling class lose their shit? Wait and see what happens if the NBA players start taking the knee…
  6. Collectively. Or did up until the Generalissimo besmirched the Oval Office.