Controversy is swelling and swirling over NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit down during the National Anthem before each game his team plays. Surprisingly, the controversy isn’t over the central issue of Kaepernick’s protest — the disproportional treatment of African-Americans by the law enforcement community — but about whether he should be protesting because he himself is rich, employed by a white person, and has white fans. Many critics have said that Kaepernick isn’t just disrespecting the anthem, or the country, but the very flag of the United States itself.
We strive to provide all the angles to every story here, and we noticed that in all the back and forth over Mr. Kaepernick’s protest, no one had asked one of his alleged victims — the flag — for its opinion the protest. We reached out to Flag Flaggerstein, the federally recognized, official flag of the United States of America, and got his thoughts.
Flaggerstein told our reporter he was honored to be interviewed, but that he wasn’t sure how much he could add to the debate.
“I’m an inanimate object,” Flag told us, “and therefore when people say I’ve been disrespected or insulted, I do kind of giggle to myself…you know, insofar as lifeless objects can laugh.” Flaggerstein said that to him the whole notion of whether a flag can be disrespected and insulted is “funny” to him because over the years different flags have been flown for “less than palatable causes,” as he put it.
“I mean, does anyone worry about dissing the Confederate Flag,” Flaggerstein asked, “or the Nazi flags? Of course not. Flags are just symbols, and the thing about us is, we mean different things at different times. At one time, a lot of slaves were brought to this country on ships that flew flags that looked like my great great great grandfather, Circle Star Flag Flaggerstein.”
Our reporter asked Flaggerstein if he thought Kaepernick’s protest was unpatriotic or slap in the face to America as a whole. Flaggerstein laughed a flag’s laugh.
“Well, I don’t know much about patriotism,” Flaggerstein said, “being that I’m an inanimate object, so I’d say I’m not really one to comment on that. But I will say that in a country that professes to love free speech so much, it boggles my mind that someone would have the attitude of, ‘Use your freedoms the way I want you to, or you have to get out.’ Yet, that’s exactly what that loud, blonde noise hole on The Blaze said, so what do I know?”
Flaggerstein was asked directly if he himself felt insulted by Kaepernick’s protest, or anything he’s said about police brutality.
“I don’t know much about human feelings of disrespect,” Mr. Flaggerstein said, “because again, I’m just an object, so I’m not really one to comment on that either. But it’s kind of sad, to me anyway, that people would act as if my feelings on a subject were more important than a real human’s feelings, and just because someone is rich, that doesn’t mean their opinions matter less. It doesn’t mean they can’t have sympathy and empathy for people. So, I’m not really capable of human emotions, but if I was? No. I wouldn’t give a fuck about someone making a principled stand and protesting peacefully regarding an issue they care deeply about.”
The flag paused, and reflected for a moment.
“That’s literally what this country is about,” Flaggerstein said, “and I hope to hell it stays that way, as long as I’m flying over it.”
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.