Compelled Speech is Unconstitutional

Do we really want to turn back the clock?

Do we want to pressure people into idolizing flags and anthems?

In 1977, several Jehovah’s Witnesses won a case against New Hampshire, arguing that the “Live Free or Die” motto ran against their religious convictions, and that the state was compelling them to carry a political slogan. They were right. They won the case. Is not the First Amendment more “American” than the anthem?

Americans supposedly have free speech; they also have the freedom not to partake, participate or piggyback on anyone else’s political message. And the national anthem is certainly political.

I really doubt that the NFL and NBA inserted a “you must stand” clause in their player contracts. It would be unconstitutional if they did. In any case, this is no longer a corporate matter. The state himself is now involved. This is now Trump’s America: L’etat c’est moi!

The one thing I miss about living in the US, apart from the occasional vanilla malt, is being able to chat with regular people wherever. Many Americans do have (or had) a kind of optimism and expansive curiosity often lacking elsewhere, and some of them walk the walk.

But I do not miss having to witness the steady erosion of civil liberties precisely as political blowhards utter the words “freedom and democracy.” I don’t miss the non-stop propaganda, which dwarfs anything seen in China actually.

I don’t miss the Wal-martization of the country, the increasing sameness of place, and the fact that almost all medium sized cities from Maine to California¬†look the same.¬†Fast-food franchise garbage as far as the eye can see.

I don’t miss the intentional divide-and-conquer racial politics, and I don’t trust the police to treat my teenage son, Mexican-American, with the respect that he is due. He will be emigrating for university.

As long as the country keeps deteriorating, I completely understand why players do not go along with the anthem bullshit.

To do so would be to participate in a humiliation ritual, and to lend legitimacy to a system that is becoming increasingly vile.

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