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Grand Old Flag: Celebrating a unifying symbol

June 14. 2018 12:38AM

Thirteen stripes, alternating red and white and 50 stars on a field of blue are meant to unite us as Americans.

As we mark Flag Day, Old Glory has become a prop in a divisive game of political football.

Protesting during the National Anthem is intentionally provocative. It co-opts a moment of patriotism and unity, and in doing so drowns out the specific political message that the protesters are trying to get across.

It is also divisive to seize upon these protests to fuel a feud, which President Donald Trump reportedly believes will benefit Republicans in the 2018 midterms elections.

He’s probably right about that. We’re about to enter our second NFL season where pregame ceremonies overshadow the action after kickoff. Every sports championship now leads to a heated debate over who gets invited to the White House.

Players refusing to stand respectfully during the anthem polarizes an already divided electorate. It’s counter-productive, and we would urge them to find a better way to make their point. Questions of police brutality and injustice within the criminal justice system need to be answered.

Yet football fans need not abandon the sport, or adopt Trump’s feuds as their own. Politics need not permeate every corner of our culture. America would be far healthier if it did not.

The design of our flag highlights our differences, yet unites us. Let us celebrate that union; E Pluribus Unum.

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