In just a few short years, the woke crusade against “hate” in the US has gone from demanding the removal of Confederate flags and monuments to targeting George Washington, the national anthem and now even the American flag.
Seen in isolation, the decision by Nike to scrap their sneaker design featuring the original flag of the 13 colonies that declared independence from the British crown in 1776 – reportedly at the urging of ex-football player turned social justice commissar Colin Kaepernick – seems like a tempest in a teapot. Seen from another perspective, though, it’s an alarming example of a trend that threatens to unravel the few remaining threads that keep America together.
Kaepernick’s reported reasoning was that the flag is associated with slavery – which indeed existed in the thirteen colonies at the time of their revolt against King George III, and later in what became the United States of America. By that logic, however, any American flag is inappropriate, because even though slavery was abolished in 1865, discriminatory laws persisted until 1964 – over a decade after Hawaii’s statehood brought the number of stars on the flag to 50.
Tell that to the 54th Massachusetts, an all-Black regiment that fought in the Civil War and was memorialized in the movie ‘Glory’. For that matter, tell it to Barack Obama, who flew the original flag at his second inauguration, just six years ago!
That Betsy Ross flag sure fell out of fashion quickly. (Photo: 2nd Obama inaugural, 2013) pic.twitter.com/8xg8xCPLXb— David Martosko (@dmartosko) July 3, 2019
Of course, everything is fine when Obama does it, from flying the Betsy Ross flag to running detention centers for illegal immigrants. They were magically transformed into a “symbol of hate” and “concentration camps” as soon as the Bad Orange Man – otherwise known as President Donald Trump – took over, however.
Cue the liberal “explainer” site Vox, which ignored Kaepernick’s reported reasoning about the flag to argue that the real problem was its use “as a symbol of white supremacy” since 2008, as a “racist” reaction to Obama’s election.
According to Vox, Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross had nothing to do with that flag anyway, the whole story was apocryphal and made up. Sure, and George Washington never chopped down a cherry tree, but he’s still revered as the Founding Father of America, right?
Republican politicians say Nike's decision not to release a shoe with a Revolutionary War-era flag is an affront to history and Betsy Ross.— Vox (@voxdotcom) July 3, 2019
Here's the thing: Ross's involvement in designing any version of the American flag has been debunked by historians. https://t.co/DgSzA5DUrK
Of course not. Earlier this week, the San Francisco, California school board decided to remove a ‘racist’ mural of Washington that showed slaves in chains and dead bodies of Native Americans. Ironically, the mural itself was a social justice statement of its time – it was painted in 1936 by George Arnautoff, a Communist artist who studied under Diego Rivera, and wanted to depict Washington without any of the patriotic romanticism. Today, however, being woke means going all Taliban on art from the past.
The US national anthem has not been safe from scrutiny, either. Back in 2017, the statue of Francis Scott Key – who wrote the lyrics to the “Star-spangled Banner” – was defaced in Baltimore, after the liberal publication Salon denounced the anthem and Key himself as racist.
Incidentally, Kaepernick became famous – and a “moral authority,” according to Vox – when he began to kneel during the anthem at football games, saying he was protesting police violence against African-Americans.
Would “God Bless America” be safe? Not a chance. In April, sports teams rushed to banish any mention of Kate Smith – for whom Irving Berlin wrote the song and who performed it for years at sporting events – because several songs she recorded in the 1930s “contain offensive lyrics.” Smith’s statue outside the Philadelphia Flyers arena was covered with a black tarp and then removed entirely, just like her recording of “God Bless America” was erased from the repertoire.
This is the same arena, by the way, where the Democrats held their convention in 2016 and anointed Hillary Clinton as their candidate. Somehow, Smith’s songs from the 1930s didn’t bother anyone then.
Woke warriors have also targeted the Pledge of Allegiance. Written in 1892 by a socialist, Francis Bellamy, as part of a marketing ploy to sell American flags, the Pledge has since become a secular ritual, involving school children swearing (or not) to the flag “and the republic for which it stands.”
So if the pledge is oppression, the flag is racist, George Washington is racist, Betsy Ross didn’t exist, the anthem is racist, “God Bless America” is racist by association… where does that leave the US? Is it at least the “greatest country in the world” as its politicians – of both parties – so often declare? Actually, no, according to the New York Times.
The myth of America as the greatest nation on earth is at best outdated and at worst, wildly inaccurate. If you look at data, the U.S. is really just O.K. pic.twitter.com/pFrWBH0Zfl— New York Times Opinion (@nytopinion) July 2, 2019
It’s a myth “at best outdated and at worst, wildly inaccurate,” says the nation’s paper of record in an opinion video released on the eve of July 4 celebrations.
So as you see, this is about more than just sneakers – or even vapid virtue-signaling. This is about people who insist on being the arbiters of morality, and “canceling” anyone who dares to think otherwise; who hate the Bad Orange Man so much that they are willing to destroy the country he presides over; who chant “no fascist USA” and “no USA at all” – but then blame Russia for “sowing discord,” in order to cover up their tracks.
Happy birthday, America, wherever you are.