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I haven’t really followed this whole controversy about Colin Kaepernick and the national anthem because, well, I don’t care what some sports figure did or didn’t do frankly.

I am a little tired by the ridiculous level of “patriotism” that is publicly expected from everyone as soon as “Oh say can you see” starts to play.  I get it, we’re in the US.  It’s hard to forget that fact when the national anthem gets played as often as it does here in this country.  It gets played before every school event.  Before every sporting event.  Before every government event.  Before every public gathering it seems.  It’s almost like watching the annual State of the Union address – it gets interrupted every two seconds with standing applause making a 15 minutes speech last about an hour and a half.  Hence I don’t watch that.

Before you label me some kind of anti-American snob or something, let me say that some of the patriotism is appropriate.  Then again, some of it makes no sense what so ever.  What exactly does a baseball game or football game have to do with the national anthem anyway?  Nothing really.  It’s a sporting event, not a national pride event.  We’re not talking about the Olympics here.

I can’t think any other country in the world where the national anthem is played so often as it is here.  Why? So we don’t forget where we are?

Look, I’m as patriotic as the next person.  There’s a lot of privileges with being a US citizen that you don’t have anywhere else.

And I’m not dissing what any veteran has ever done for this country.  I’m glad I never had to do what they do.  I have great respect for veterans and what they went through.

At the same time, the whole civic religion thing gets to be a bit much at times.  And God forbid you just sit it out.  You’re labeled as a heretic if you don’t have a big smile on your face for the playing of the national anthem before every…single…sporting…event…ever.  Or any other public event in which it gets played.  It’s like being labeled a Grinch if you don’t like consumer Christmas.  God forbid.

Here’s what I know – I’m going to get some fierce comments about this post.  To even question something like this is risking patriotic heresy.  But no offense, if your patriotism can’t handle some questions or a differing opinion, then what is it anyway?  I’m not saying you have to do anything different.  Want to sing your heart out for the national anthem – be my guest, I’m not stopping you.  Why do you have to drag everyone else in and have everyone pretend to enjoy singing it before every…single…public…event in the history of the country.  I’m not thrilled with having to do that.  I don’t mind doing it from time to time – like when it seems appropriate.  I think it actually loses its significance though because it is done everywhere and with events that have nothing to do with our nation or government.

Is it possible to watch a sporting event without some display of national pride?  Amazingly, it is. And you can actually enjoy it too.  And no worries, you’ll still be an American at the end even if the national anthem wasn’t played.  Go figure.