As ridiculous as the NFL’s new rule on players protesting on the sidelines by kneeling during the National Anthem is, Trump’s response to it is far worse. He actually trotted out the old “if you don’t love this country, why don’t you leave it” bit of idiocy. On Fox and Friends, of course, where he knows he’ll get nothing but ego stroking.
Trump said he objected to a provision in the new policy that will allow players to stay in the locker room while the song is played, but added: “Still, I think it’s good.”
“You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there, maybe they shouldn’t be in the country,” Trump said in an interview that aired Thursday morning on “Fox & Friends” on Fox News.
No, you ignorant dolt, you do not have to stand proudly for the national anthem. And no, you can’t kick them out of the country for it. If anyone should go, it’s you. Protesting injustice is a quintessentially American act, in the best traditions of the Declaration of Independence, the fight to end slavery, the fight for equality for women, the civil rights marches of the 50s and 60s and the current campaign to gain equality for the LGBT community. Protesting injustice is true patriotism.
What Trump favors is not patriotism, it’s mindless nationalism — and those things are not only different, they are opposites, in direct conflict with one another. Patriotism means protecting your country against its government, making sure that the government is living up to its principles by exercising our right to vote and our right to protest and petition for a redress of grievances. Mindless nationalism is just shallow emotionalism and tribalism — my country, right or wrong.
But I’ve got news for you, Trump. We genuine patriots are not going to cede any ground to you on this. We aren’t leaving, we’re staying and fighting — against inequality, against injustice, against poverty, against discrimination, against bigotry. In other words, against YOU. Forever.