How did we EVER get to a point where American pride, respect for the principles of liberty and honoring the continual fight to preserve that liberty has become a potential threat?
It happened the moment we decided the whole thing was about making a political point, going so far as to use national pride as a wedge issue with the full intention to divide the nation along those lines. And honestly this is not new, the idea of national pride being a political wedge issue.
What "conservatives" need to quit pretending is that their brand of nationalism has the exclusive claim and definition on taking pride in one's nation. And we should also dispense with the rhetoric about the continual fight to preserve liberty, our liberty is being eroded with each passing President and Congress regardless of political party in charge to the point that protesting for freedom and better treatment means going up against the very institutions telling us to live with less liberty yet sing the national anthem to them as support.
Gladys Knight did handle Don Lemon's question quite well, which was rooted in two asinine ideas. That singing the national anthem means blind acceptance of all the things in this nation as they are and alignment with present government, or that kneeling for the national anthem means rejection of all things in this nation as they are.
You can have pride in one's nation, and sing the national anthem, without it being about accepting the point of view of political opposition. Calling this an "intellectual picket line" was using a wedge issue to make a bigger wedge about another issue.
At the same time, you can protest by kneeling during the national anthem and still have great love for one's nation. We have discussed in these forums before that very few were participating with or talking about Colin Kaepernick until we decided to inject so much politics into the issue everyone lost sight of why the protest started in the first place. Originally about police brutality, that should have been an issue gaining enough cross ideology support to address that issue. But hell no and in typical fashion, the politics of the national anthem moved the debate away from the reason. Trump, the media, Nike, and others did not do anything about the original issue but sure took the baton and ran with the wedge nature of what the debate became... all the while ignoring police brutality.
The ultimate conclusion is Gladys Knight did nothing wrong singing the national anthem and still has a place at the table of discussion, Colin Kaepernick also did nothing wrong in protesting the national anthem and also still has a place at the table of discussion.
Having Gladys Knight now be challenged on this shows how far off the rails the debate became. Conservative defined nationalism vs. a national anthem participation avoids the point in how we engage in issues we feel we should be discussing. That started with a protest about a real issue and ironically, is a showing of love for one's nation wanting to invoke discussion on that issue.
Colin Kaepernick may not have gone about this in a way you or I agree with, and Gladys Knight singing the national anthem may not settle well with people wanting a further wedge. But the issue remains, and it is wanting change for a nation's betterment.
The principles of our liberty includes protesting an injustice, that is showing love and respect for a nation where you can protest an injustice. Well... for now... until Trump convinces enough people that protesting the nation equates for not caring for a nation. And that brand of nationalism has historically proven conclusively to be a disaster.