As a citizen of the U.S. and military veteran, I respect the concern for using the national anthem as an opportunity for protest. However, as a human being, I respect those who use their platform to challenge what the flag stands for. How is it that America has become so far removed from purpose that it fosters an environment of divisiveness? On one end of the spectrum, people are crying racial inequality, and on the other end are those who disguise their racial biases with patriotism. Some say we need intercultural competence, while others say we need love, peace, and unity. All are noble attempts to change the racial context of our country, but the biggest concern is the driving force that compels the human soul to divorce personal prejudices for the greater good of humanity.
My personal allegiance
If reading this blog compels you to question my allegiance to the flag, you better think again! I enlisted in the U.S. Army one year prior to graduating high school. Sure, I had options as a high school basketball standout, but I chose to fight for my country instead of fighting to win games. It wasn’t an academic decision, because I proved that I could exercise my genius on demand.
My decision to enlist in the Army was at the risk of playing basketball at the collegiate level. On the contrary, it wasn’t a risk because it gave me one of the most important educations in my life. I never saw combat, but was constantly reminded of the threat and possibility of going to war for my country. Even though I decided to forego college after high school, the military was instrumental in igniting my passion for higher education. Serving my country not only gave me a greater respect for our freedom, it compelled me to be more purposeful in leveraging the opportunities within our freedom.
NFL and Politics
Fresh out of high school, the military proved to be the bridge I needed between adolescent and adulthood. It empowered me to embrace a deeper meaning behind our allegiance to the flag. When congress added the Under God phrase in 1954, it changed the scope of the pledge. When God is factored into the DNA of a nation, it benefits the people of the nation to adhere to His strategic plan for purpose. The problem with America is that One Nation Under God is not translated into one nation enflamed with His purpose. As a result, the moral climate in our country has digressed into a culture where power can be rewarded without the consciousness of purpose.
America’s ignorance to purpose has escalated into a social consciousness spectacle. People are in a frenzy because Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee during the national anthem to bring awareness to racial injustices. To make matters worse, the entire NFL has entered the conversation for social and racial injustices, due to the remarks from a President who obviously prefers to feed his appetite for power over his appetite for purpose.
It’s great to see the solidarity of high profile athletes standing for something that preserves the sanctity of humans. However, without Meaningful Excellence™, the race to affect social change will evolve into a race of ideology without a real strategy to repurpose the character of the men and women that make up our great country.
A song and a flag
Affecting change in our country must begin with creating better synergy between the national anthem and the flag. When we examine the dynamics between the song and flag, it becomes clear on how we can formulate an allegiance to the purpose behind the flag. Think about it, a song and a flag are the two greatest symbols of identity in our country. Our national anthem shows love, peace, and unity during public events, but without the purpose behind the flag; love, peace, and unity will never influence the character of the people. People are quick to express their disappointments over protest during the song, and ignore their silent protest for the flag’s suggestion to influence their character.
When thinking of character, we cannot forget Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reference to the importance of character in his I Have a Dream speech.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
This is by far one of the most memorable quotes in the history of our great country, but without Meaningful Excellence™, it’s not enough to sustain love, peace, and unity over a long period of time. People are in shock with the racial tension in our country, but racism has always been an underlying problem because the soul of humanity is lean in purpose. History has proven that when the content of the character is not conditioned for a greater purpose, the lens for judgment will always focus on personal prejudices that influence character. The harsh reality of the twenty-first century is that we are living in a time where people are increasing the risk of Dr. King’s dream becoming a nightmare.
Meaningful Excellence™ is defined as the quality or state of being outstanding, or extremely good at sustaining a strong sense of purpose under all circumstances. It was clearly displayed in the Civil Rights Movement as people from all walks of life was willing to sustain their strong sense of purpose under risky circumstances. The question remains, how can we recapture the sense of purpose from the Civil Rights Movement, and move our nation from being stuck in the past?
We must embrace the reality that racism is still alive, but the purpose that drove the Civil Rights Movement is dead. If we really want to move our nation forward, we must realize that it’s preposterous to claim to be one Nation under God, without embracing the purpose behind His creation of man and woman. Without Meaningful Excellence™, the three main tenants that make up our pledge of allegiance will remain lip-service that fail to service the soul with a greater purpose.
Division will always be our taskmaster
Liberty will never be achieved because purpose remains imprisoned within the soul
Justice for all will never be a reality without a common purpose for all
Could it be that the song and the flag provides the perfect blueprint for conditioning the character to adhere to the allegiance to the purpose behind our flag? The anthem uplifts our souls for love, peace, and unity, and the pledge provides the framework for love, peace, and unity to be displayed in our character. The answers to the social ills in our country is clearly displayed in the symbols that opens the door for a greater purpose to emerge. When the people of our country stop seeing the world outside the scope of God’s purpose for humanity, the flag and song can provide the perfect solution for divorcing personal prejudices for the greater good of humanity.
Moving forward, we must remember that one’s hate for people will always undermine one’s love for the country.
A pledge for a greater purpose
It’s time for a new breed of Americans to emerge, who refuse to give lip-service to the pledge without engaging their soul to be indivisible from a greater purpose, liberated for love, peace, and unity, and enflamed for justice for all. In short, if you cannot respect what the song and flag stand for, you will struggle to respect what humans stand for. One of the most blatant forms of hypocrisy are people who celebrate the flag and song, and yet force themselves to tolerate people who are different than they are. Perhaps we should rewrite the pledge of allegiance in a manner that brings the purpose behind the flag front and center.
I pledge an allegiance to Meaningful Excellence™, which supports my purpose for being a citizen of America. It empowers me to be an active participant in creating one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
The next time you see someone taking a knee for the national anthem, just remember that their soul is enflamed with a purpose that’s bigger than your personal biases. Taking a knee should have never been a matter of respect for our country. It’s a matter of purpose for all people that make up this great nation we call home. It should be a pledge for Meaningful Excellence™, that not only raise our consciousness to a higher purpose, but raise a standard that conditions our character to become a part of the solution. May the allegiance to the purpose behind our flag remind you that without Meaningful Excellence™, people have no accountability for what they are saying, and will scoff at people who are enflamed with purpose.