O Say Can You See??


As we wait for news on the Lakeshore Golf Course/Oshkosh Corp front, NFL players continue protesting during the National Anthem.

I am not sure what the Packers have done. I stopped watching their games after the Aaron Rodgers induced linking arms on a Thursday night, in a “Show of unity.” Rodgers also tried to dictate that fans at Lambeau Field also link arms, instead of behaving properly. Thankfully, the vast majority of fans soundly rejected his request.

It seems the main target in this “show of unity” is hatred for our President. I wonder how many of the players with arms linked in this conga line could define it. Also, I wonder how many of the players donate “time, talent, and treasure” for solve the problems in this country.

But I digress.

I have taken an informal survey sine that game. Just about the action of linking arms, not kneeling or sitting. I am not attaching any statistical validity to the survey.

People my age (Senior), male and female, unanimously opposed the Packers linking arms. Though few, if any, took it to my extreme of avoiding games. On the other hand, a younger generation (30-somethings) proved to be much more tolerant.

I do not merely collect data, but also provide clear and logical analysis. To wit…

Parents of people in my generation lived through, and fought in World War II. The country was united in the effort to defeat Hitler, Japan, et.al. Patriotism was at its peak. They revered country, flag and National Anthem. And taught my generation proper respect and behavior during the National Anthem.

My generation, on the other hand, lived through, and fought in, the Vietnam War. Many wondered, including those who served in the military, the reason the country was fighting a war in a jungle halfway around the World. Wondered what the nearly 60,000 American soldiers and sailors died for. There was no answer, just haunting questions.

The WWII generation later became “The Greatest Generation.” Those of us who served in Vietnam were labeled “baby killers” by fellow Americans.

We passed along to our children a skepticism about the Country, not the reverence from the generation before. Our children inherited our views.

But despite that, I believe the younger generation is wrong. Though I defend their right to be so.

Before I get to the main point, I would like to address one topic used to justify the NFL protests. And that is the claim of Freedom of Speech. But it not limitless. The “yelling fire in a crowded theater” is not justified by the First Amendment.

Employers can limit speech of employees while on company time, and/or in uniform (if applicable). So the holy trinity leading the Packers could have stopped or disciplined Rodgers and other players for their offensive display. Though, I must admit that the thought of them attempting to discipline “the Franchise” is truly laughable.

I want to offer an analogy to make my salient, and perceptive, point.

Aaron Rodgers forced his team to link arms in a “show of unity.” Later he claimed that the players meant “no disrespect” towards the USA, flag, National Anthem, or veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending freedom.

When I served in the Navy, I spent six months at Naval Supply Corps School in Athens, GA. In 1969. There was a fellow student, a Warrant Officer (mid to late 30’s in age). I forget his name, so will call him Roger Aaron.

Roger loved to use the “N-word,” and often did. Now, this was a year after Dr. Martin Luther King, was assassinated. It was offensive then, just as it is today.

He rationalized it, saying “I don’t mean to offend anyone.”

Aaron Rodgers showed disrespect to his country and the flag by his linking arms display. Roger Aaron showed disrespect to an entire race by his use of the “N-word.”

Both tried to justify their action by claiming that they “did not mean to offend anyone.”

How are they different from each other? I find both equally offensive. But I am sure many readers will choose their QB over a racist Warrant Officer.

Finally, the election for Governor is about a year away. Perhaps I will provide astute analysis of that race next month. Or not.





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David Hayford

David Hayford is a professional, prolific pundit pontificating about politics and people with probity and, perhaps, pleonasm. He lives in Oshkosh with his wife of 40 years, Paula. They have three adult children and three wonderful grandsons, and a beautiful baby grandaughter

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