Lady Liberty

Bill Neinast

What happened to her?  Where is she now?

She is Lady Liberty, the symbol of hope and freedom to people around the world.  Until recently, she was trapped in the nation’s flag, the Stars and Stripes. Both she and the flag symbolizing her were treated with love, honor, and respect.

That veneration of the two symbols is best illustrated by the iconic statue in Washington, D.C., of the American servicemen risking their lives to erect the flag on Mount Suribachi in the fierce combat on Iwo Jima. 

Now look at how the pampered descendants of those brave warriors treat our symbol of freedom and democracy.  She is burned and trampled on.  Pledging allegiance to her is scorned.  Showing her respect with a salute or hand over the heart is ridiculed.

Today, more love and respect for our symbol of freedom can be found in other countries than on our own shores.  Review, for example, the protests in Hong Kong against the latest Chinese ignoring of international law.  In the TV coverage of those demonstrations, it looked like half or more of the demonstrators were carrying and waving flags of the United States of America.  

Comparing those images with the portraits of the rock throwing and torches on our own streets is disheartening.  What do those torches instead of flags represent?  What do the torch bearers want?

Some will promptly answer with one word, “Justice.”   Others may elaborate a bit with, “Recognition that Black lives matter.”

Both of those, obviously, are admirable goals, but are 90+ days of riotous demonstrations  and desecration of the flag necessary to achieving those goals?

The core  of all these demonstrations is racism.  The incident or incidents that spark them are hard evidence of that racism.

Without question, there is racism in the United States.  It began a meteoric rise in 1954 with the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown vs. Board of Educations that declared segregated schools unconstitutional.  However, after about 25 years of integration, overt racism began slowly to fade.

Then in another 25 years, racism started shaking its ugly head again.

One of the reasons for that resurrection might be the disrespect of the flag and national anthem that began appearing in professional sports  arenas.  

This started with Colin Kaepernick  kneeling rather than standing with hand over heart as the national anthem was played.  As reported in Saturday’s Washington Examiner, “Ex-quarterback Colin Kaepernick tweeted an Independence Day message reminding us that he always was a radical leftist, America-hating agitator. His national anthem stunt always was about deliberately dishonoring flag and country.”

He also said, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he explained. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

So here is a man making $12.5 million dollars a year who decides to protest the symbol of the freedom that allowed him to soar way above ordinary Americans of every race and color.

Unfortunately, NFL officials in fear of losing some dollars opted to not punish disrespect of the flag and basically gave their blessings to all such demonstrations.

Once that snowball started down the hill, it could not be stopped and grew into the daily demonstrations that frequently devolve into destructive, looting mobs.

So here’s the perspective.

There is racism in Lady Liberty’s land of the free.  Unfortunately, that element of human relations is getting worse instead of better.

The aggravating factors are the non-stop demonstrations that routinely and frequently slide into rock throwing, fires, and looting.  Only few, if any, are there ever any clearly articulated petitions on what is desired.

Instead of pounding your hand too hard on this one and thinking, “Does he not understand that the demonstrations are against police brutality?,” go back and find the common factor in each of the so called police brutality cases.  

In the most recent one in Kenosha, Wisconsin, for example, go behind the media hype and you will find that the police were responding to a 911 call that Jacob Blake was attacking her with a knife (not trying to break up a fight as initially reported) and that, as in all the other cases), Blake was resisting arrest.

That, of course, did not justify shooting Blake seven times.  What, though, would you have done if you were responding to yet another call of a dangerous encounter and the culprit was trying to get to his weapon?

Could Lady Liberty begin to smile again and proudly drape the Stars and Stripes over her shoulders if we all settled down and began to help each other enjoy the wonderful benefits and freedoms of this great country?  

There are billions of people around the world clamoring to come here and help us enjoy this free society.



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