Pat Boone, Why Do You Hate America’s Freedom?

Many Americans have become polarized by players protesting during the National Anthem.  Apparently, those opposing the protest believe respect for the flag comes before the exercise of Free Speech.

Their logic is simple – professional athletes have no right to make political statements at their place of employment. Yet that same place is compelling them to stand in a sign of patriotism, a political statement in itself.  So if the complaint is about bringing politics into sports, why isn’t there a similar complaint about compelling players to stand for the anthem?

Many people have written on both sides of this issue.  Pat Boone made an elucidating statement against the protests, quite representative of so many made so far.  For those of you who don’t know Pat Boone, he was a very popular and successful pop singer in the ‘50s and ‘60s, ranking #2 on the charts only behind Elvis Presley in the late ‘50s.

Mr. Boone posted a condemnation of Lebron James and Colin Kaepernick on Facebook on September 25.  His statement provides an excellent and representative example of the sentiment against kneeling that is worthy of detailed analysis.  First in full, Mr. Boone’s statement says,

LeBron James please!! Who ‘politicized sports’ trump? No..Kaepernick, a black millionaire! Your ‘bum’ is trying to de-politicize. Wake up.

Alert!! Black millionaire athletes use sports to express their biases, creating racial divide. Flag and declaration wrong targets!

Look at the kneeling yesterday, prompting little leaguers to diss the flag. Who’s causing the divide? Millions angry at the kneelers.

Shall we all dishonor God when he doesn’t answer our prayers how and when we want? Our flag and pledge are sacred to our liberties.

A bum dishonors authority. Trump’s words were wrong, but aimed at bums who lead kids astray. You’re a rich icon inciting division.

Brother LeBron James, you’re a rich giant who should lead your brothers to inspire and give thanks to our flag and our liberties. Not incite bias.

The way we lose our liberties is to abuse them..if freedom is used to divide and accuse, people will give up free speech.

-Pat”

Every line (in italics below) is so revealing that each merits a response.

 

LeBron James please!! Who ‘politicized sports’ trump? No..Kaepernick, a black millionaire! Your ‘bum’ is trying to de-politicize. Wake up.

It is quite interesting how a white man who most likely earned his first million (in today’s dollars) at just as young an age as Mr. Kaepernick would find it noteworthy to mention the player’s financial status.  A status Mr. Kaepernick earned by competing at the highest level of a sport worth tens of billions of dollars.  Yet Mr. Boone seems to believe that public status does not entitle one to speak.  A curious statement from a man like Mr. Boone himself.  Is he not voicing his opinion?

Further, he defends a President that calls American protestors “sons of bitches.”  The President resolutely called for the firing of those Americans for exercising their right to Free Speech.  Thus it is strange that Mr. Boone would think that threatening people voicing their opinion with losing their job somehow “de-politicizes” the issue. Threatening one’s source of income certainly threatens their ability to exercise their liberties.

 

Alert!! Black millionaire athletes use sports to express their biases, creating racial divide. Flag and declaration wrong targets!

Apparently when a black man expresses his concerns, Mr. Boone believes it is a bias that necessarily creates a “racial divide.”  By this standard, any address to unjust treatment of people of color would qualify as a racial divide.  It also seems that Mr. Boone believes Mr. Kaepernick is one of hundreds of black sports millionaires who have been protesting for some time.  That would be a step in the right direction if it were true.

Further, Mr. Boone suggests that the flag is the target of Mr. Kaepernick’s speech.  If Mr. Boone had ever listened to any of Mr. Kaepernick’s explanations of the reason for his protest, Mr. Boone would know Mr. Kaepernick is drawing attention to the disparity of how people of color are treated under the criminal justice system.   Clearly Mr. Boone has never listened to the content behind the protests.  Instead, Mr. Boone like so many others see only what they want to see.

 

Look at the kneeling yesterday, prompting little leaguers to diss the flag. Who’s causing the divide? Millions angry at the kneelers.

Perhaps millions are angry because we have lost our understanding of civics.   The 1st Amendment and the Freedom of Speech are critical to democracy because a government that does not hear its people, all of its people, can quickly slide down a path of corruption and abuse of power.  Without the ability to inform one another, how are “We the People” able to make sure we have a responsive, democratic government.  That is why this country has deemed Freedom of Speech free from any restrictions whatsoever (except for causing imminent and direct harm such as yelling ‘fire’ in a theatre or giving away military secrets).

If the Free Speech delivered is offensive, unpopular or simply in error, then the ideas expressed will be countered by others using their 1st Amendment Rights.  In this way, through the exchange of ideas, we can move towards “a more perfect union.”

Yet in Mr. Boone’s mind, Free Speech and the ideas that it allows to be shared should be shut down if millions are “angry.”  In this way, Mr. Boone paves the way for tyranny of the majority, or even a significant minority, if others are not allowed to freely speak.

 

Shall we all dishonor God when he doesn’t answer our prayers how and when we want? Our flag and pledge are sacred to our liberties.

“The flag and the pledge” are not “sacred to our liberties,” but rather they are supposed to be representative of them.  Mr. Boone should take note of the words of the pledge and how it pertains to the flag.

“”I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The flag stands for the United States of America, which is supposed to be “one nation” with “liberty and justice for all.”  Mr. Kaepernick’s goal is to draw attention to the injustice against a minority of our fellow citizens.  So even if Mr. Kaepernick were attempting to offend the “flag and the pledge,” which he is not, could anyone think of a more knowledgeable reason for drawing attention to them?

 

A bum dishonors authority. Trump’s words were wrong, but aimed at bums who lead kids astray. You’re a rich icon inciting division.

“A bum dishonors authority” is the most shocking statement in the entire condemnation.  It appears that Mr. Boone believes we are a nation that does not question authority.  Yet that is exactly why our nation sought its independence during the American Revolution.  The days of tyranny under the unquestionable rule of King George were coming to an end.  Being subject to a colonial government was replaced with Constitutional rule that provides for a representative government that is responsive to the people.  The very essence of our government is that it represents us, not rule over us.

We give our consent to be governed while we maintain the right to question our government.  We do not elect our representatives to have unquestionable authority.

Somehow Mr. Boone believes, if you’re part of an oppressed minority and work towards change, you are guilty of bias and dividing the country.  In other words, Mr. Boone expects you to accept your lot or you will be deemed a threat to the state.

 

Brother LeBron James, you’re a rich giant who should lead your brothers to inspire and give thanks to our flag and our liberties. Not incite bias.

Lebron James would likely respond with something like this. ‘I do lead my brothers and sisters. I am speaking for them when I ask for peace and justice for all.  I do encourage my fellow adults and the children who watch me closely to speak out when they see injustice too.  I want peace for all.’

 

The way we lose our liberties is to abuse them..if freedom is used to divide and accuse, people will give up free speech.*

This closing statement was a close second for most shocking.  In essence Mr. Boone is suggesting unity comes before freedom.  That there is no place for dissent.  It would appear then that Mr. Boone prefers a strict nationalism over a democratic system.

 

White Privilege Epitomized

Pat Boone attends the red carpet premier of "God's Not Dead 2."

Pat Boone attends the red carpet premier of “God’s Not Dead 2.”

Mr. Boone never addresses Mr. Kaepernick’s reasons for his protest.  I suspect it is because no one he knows has ever experienced the many forms of systemic racial bias in our police-judicial-incarceration system.  Perhaps Mr. Boone does not know anyone who from Staten Island who was arrested for selling loose cigarettes under a “broken windows” policy applied only in minority neighborhoods.  One such man is dead after an officer applied an illegal chokehold that

Mr. Boone never addresses Mr. Kaepernick’s reasons for his protest.  I suspect it is because no one he knows has ever experienced the many forms of systemic racial bias in our police-judicial-incarceration system.  Perhaps Mr. Boone does not know anyone who from Staten Island who was arrested for selling loose cigarettes under a “broken windows” policy applied only in minority neighborhoods.  One such man is dead after an officer applied an illegal chokehold that lead to his death.  That officer was not even indicted.

Perhaps Mr. Boone or his children or grandchildren have never experienced “stop and frisk.”  This is a form of mass policing where any citizen can be searched for illegal substances or weapons.  Most likely Mr. Boone wouldn’t know what it is like to experience this because it is only applied in minority neighborhoods.  Further, this leads to far higher arrests for drug possession for minorities, while the rate of drug use and sales is the similar across races.

Perhaps Mr. Boone doesn’t have any friends living in Baltimore that have been arrested and treated to an unwritten policy of rough rides in the back of a paddy wagon.  A dangerous manner of leaving manacled suspects subject to injury in the hard metal cage of a moving vehicle.  The police officers driving the vehicle make hard turns and stops that lead to restrained suspects from being able to protect themselves.

Perhaps Mr. Boone doesn’t know anyone from the Bronx who was caught up in 900,000 arrests and summonses that were dismissed for lack of evidence.  Maybe Mr. Boone would have known if he lived in New York City and his tax dollars had to be used to pay $75 million dollars for a settlement of this vast travesty.

Since Mr. Boone likely has never experienced any of what Mr. Kaepernick seeks to address, Mr. Boone most likely has no tolerance for any protest interfering with his own faith in the righteousness of his country and its government.  Apparently Mr. Boone and so many others like him have no empathy for that which the white man in America rarely faces.  That is the essence of White Privilege.

Overall what is most disturbing though is the contradiction in Mr. Boone’s stance.  He believes we should respect the flag and the pledge, yet the two are far more than nationalistic symbols.  They are the standard bearers of justice.

So when a man of some prominence sees a pervasive injustice, apparently Mr. Boone, a white man of such prominence himself, does not want that American to exercise his 1st Amendment Right to Free Speech.  A right that we cannot take for granted.  A right when lacking leaves people languishing in prisons around the world when they seek to change their country for the better.  A right so important that the Founding Fathers made it the first right in the brilliantly crafted Bill of Rights that is the foundation of our democracy.

And so I have a question for Mr. Boone.  Why do you hate America’s most precious Freedom?  Or maybe more broadly, why do you hate that “for which [the American flag] stands.”

Top photo | Pat Boone sings at the National Senior Games, Friday, June 9, 2017, in Birmingham, Ala. (AP/Butch Dill)

Ian Berman is an entrepreneur and former corporate banker at leading global banks in New York City.  He now focuses on renewable energy, financial advisory services and writing about representative government, equitable public policies and ending American militarism and Israel’s continuing colonization of Palestine.  He is the Co-Founder of Palestine 365, the Ongoing Oppression and its predecessor, Palestine 365, on Facebook.

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This BBSNews article was syndicated from MintPress News, and written by Ian Berman. Read the original article here.