In light of the decision Colin Kaepernick has made regarding the National Anthem, I’d like to focus on the conditioning of the vast majority of our citizens. There were other points to be made, but I decided to focus mainly on the use of propaganda in America.
In 1933, the Nazis seized power and the reign of the Third Reich began. With this new regime came a need to properly indoctrinate the German people, to be in line with the Reich’s ideals. It’s extremely difficult to exert full power and control over a population, without instilling fear and/or a sense of nationalism. The Nazis were keen in both areas yet their expertise in the use of propaganda is generally overlooked due to their brutality. Under Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, the Nazis formed a central entity to control all aspects of German life. The Reich used a multitude of tactics, including the newer media forms of radio and television to project images desired to invoke emotion. When the Nazi regime fell in 1945, with them also died the cruel extermination of the Jewish people, yet something else lived on. Their propaganda tactics.
I am an American citizen, born and raised here. I am also a black male and I feel that label a lot more than I feel the privilege of being an American. I would not want to live in any other country, as I feel much more comfortable on THIS side of an American bomb, however I realize America is not perfect. I also realize that the flag, no matter what you say does not have human skin and blood woven into its fabric every time one is manufactured (btw check you flag and make sure it wasn’t made in China.) It is an idol and a symbol. It is made from the same cloth that Nazi and Confederate flags are made from, very likely in the same factories on the same machines. Yet, the flag is treated, as a living, breathing entity more respected than the lives of the individuals it flies to protect.
From my perspective, it seems that certain groups of Americans are as radicalized as the Nazi supporters were. The way some neighborhoods in America openly worship the flag, with displays of grandeur and novelty items, is not much different from German neighborhoods in 1938. So why is it okay for Americans, to be such cult-like worshipers of an idol, but it’s not okay for other countries to indoctrinate their citizens with the same “patriotism?” When we seen North Koreans standing and idolizing their instruments of indoctrination, we take away negative connotations, but if we do it it’s okay. We’re patriots. Furthermore, an American citizen, but not a worshiper of American idols, is being marked as a traitor? Do we live in the supposedly free United States of America or The People’s Republic of the Third Reich?
The reason is because propaganda, in its root form, is biased. It is specific to one cause and anything seen as rivaling it, will be alienated and eventually eliminated. But, what happens when you’ve become too “civilized” to eliminate the non believers and dissidents after the alienation phase? We have reached this point, post civil rights, now that someone with the reach of Colin Kaepernick has taken the stance he has. You may not agree with his methods, but as an American citizen he has the right to not stand during the pledge. He believes that America is not that great, just as Donald Trump does, albeit it in a different manner. Only a true, propagandist nation would ether a man for calling out injustices and choosing to silently demonstrate again them. You can use your voice to love America without being a radical nationalist and you can bring attention to injustice with being a traitor.
The United States is as great of a country for ALL its citizens, today, as it has been in the entire history of this nation. Yet, make no mistake, there are still issues to be resolved across the board. Say what you’d like about Mr. Kaepernick, but the socioeconomic issues of this nation won’t be resolved because a man decides not to participate in a propagandist ritual and sit or stand during the National Anthem at a sporting.