Today I received my copy of my hometown newspaper, the Decatur Tribune; and I read about the local scandal of the football players protesting the national anthem because of various segment of government persecuting minorities including police shooting unarmed Black males. Here is my letter.

Dear Editor: (Who I highly respect but differ with philosophically and politically, and who I consider a friend who often gets mad at me and throws a “tissy”, which makes me laugh and love him even more.)

This is an exception to your “print all letters to the editor”, because I prefer you decide whether or not to print it and besides it is too long to print; you would probably have to edit for size.

However, I needed to write this because it is about a very important issue for me, and I want to “chat” about it with Editor Oz and anyone else. That said, here is my message about the Millikin football team and the National Anthem hassle; I feel strongly about it.

As you know, I am a native of Decatur and earned a degree at Millikin University. I love Decatur, Millikin, and I love America and served in the U.S. Air Force (my ancestors fought in the American Revolution).


There is presently a national discussion going on about People (and in particular a single football player), who feels compelled to protest grossly unfair, often barbaric treatment resulting in death of some citizens, and particularly citizens other than Caucasians and/or other ethnic minorities, by segments of our American government; and these people feel very strongly that they must protest their American government, by not standing to show respect for the anthem of that same government responsible for gross mistreatment, including sometimes being shot to death, of racial or ethnic minorities.

Being lily-white myself, and Protestant, Middle-Class, I have to admit that my conscience however, coincides with that of the minorities, whom I have seen gruesomely misrepresented and mistreated my entire life, of 86 years, by segments of my America’s government all over America, including Decatur and Millikin; and many of these minorities were dear and respected friends of mine.

Now I greatly admire pacifists, though I am not one; I served in the U.S. military and was trained to be a professional killer, because it was necessary. But I approve of pacifist protest, protected by the Constitution of the United States of America.

So, I disagree with Cheryl Gatto who wrote to you, “The Anthem is a prayer. If you choose to exercise your right to protest . . . do it after the (football) game.”

Contrary to Ms. Gatto, I am a patriotic American, I served my nation and I vote; Ms. Gatto is a chauvinist American, she worships American without exception and displays her chauvinism by publically worshiping the National Anthem.

Personally, I am a little “d” democrat who believes in democracy instead of worshiping America or the national anthem; I believe in equality, fraternity, and liberty.

Commodore Stephen Decatur was famous for saying, “My America, right or wrong, it is still my America.” That is simply a truism; it doesn’t mean you have to approve of what America has done wrong, or approve of America’s wrongful wars, or approve of America’s persecution of minorities.

Both Ms. Gatto and I attend football games. A football game is not sacred, nor is it religious, nor is it a government function, nor is it a U.S. military exercise.

There is NO NECESSITY FOR PLAYING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM AT A FOOTBALL GAME OR A PICNIC; if the national anthem encourages the persecuted to protest and the protest is offensive to others, including White Supremacists I might add, then simply play the national anthem at a different time and instead play the team’s “fight song” instead. Definitely, I disapprove of prohibition of legitimate protest because some people disapprove of protest or of the reason for the protest.

America had an era of Civil Rights protests; I was a part of it and it did not resolve the problem.

Today, America is undergoing a disastrous Presidential election and political upheaval; much of the cause is related to racial, gender, and cultural upheaval. It is scary and I can’t do a thing about it. Unfortunately, my America is not beautiful to me today. “Where have all the flowers gone?”

This is simply my difference of opinion with your editorial op, which I felt compelled to express. No offense intended.

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