In the past 48 hours, there has been much chatter about the NBA requiring its teams to play the national anthem response to the Dallas Mavericks opting not to so initially for home games, especially as limited numbers of fans gradually begin to enter arenas once again. It is quite interesting that the matter was mostly unnoticed this season until a reporter was keenly aware of it and inquired about the situation.
Unfortunately, the latest developments in this story have reverted to the selfsame narrative that we have been discussing since 2016 as to the merits of the national anthem and what is generally expected from each American during the observance of the red, white, and blue iconography. It seems to be a myriad of interpretations as to what is deemed respectful depending upon whom you ask.
Although there have been many facts relating to how The Star-Spangled Banner evolved from a British tavern tune to what eventually became attributed to Francis Scott Key even with his atrocious, infamous third stanza, the contention of many citizens centers on the malfeasances of the nation from the past until present.
Nevertheless, all of these factors surrounding The Star-Spangled Banner and the visceral reactions to it may not necessarily be mitigated if it was removed in favor of God Bless America or Ray Charles’ stirring rendition of America the Beautiful. Some are not open to the concept of even playing a national anthem before sporting events until the United States is perfected into a utopian society.
Regardless of how realistic this is or not, based upon whose standards are we to accept that the prerequisites of egalitarianism have been achieved and for how long of a duration? While we do not want our liberties to be curtailed in the manner in which Communist China would purportedly send people to “reeducation camps” for violating their dictates, it still should be our goal to find opportunities to unite as fellow Americans whether we choose to stand, sit, or kneel.
The fact remains that any general, national observance of our national symbols does not mean that it is automatically a representation of jingoism, xenophobia, or even ignorance of the injustices of the past. We should acknowledge our foibles while endeavoring to strive for perfection in our union even though we understand that our imperfect condition may prevent us from completely achieving this goal.
The beauty of the United States over totalitarian regimes is that the freedom of expression is optional already. We do not need to circumvent the national anthem to avoid some sort of consternation. It may not feasible to please everyone at every moment, but we certainly can be cognizant of diverse opinions while observing the common bond within our republic simultaneously.